They’re in the chilly fluorescent produce section, Neil steering the cart and Andrew catching it whenever he finds chocolate-covered berries or cartons of blended sugary juice to add to the pile. Neil’s got his old jersey conspicuously clashing with their new team’s red sweats, a dark bandana twisted up in his hair. It’s almost closing, and everything feels a bit cool and loose like no one’s really supposed to be awake.
When Neil’s busy bagging carrots Andrew gets his arms folded over the handle of the shopping cart, this stupid black t-shirt all stretched out at the neck, wire-framed glasses perched on his nose, mouth flat. Neil’s sort of fond of Andrew wearing his glasses in public, and he finds himself walking backwards in front of the cart as it’s pushed, openly watching him. Andrew picks the pace up just enough to bump heavily into his shins.
Neil smiles, looping his fingers through his end of the cart so they each have a side, rolling lopsidedly towards the opening of an aisle.
“Stop making things difficult.”
“Let me drive the cart.”
Andrew regards him, fair eyebrows raised. “You’re a control freak.”
Neil laughs, startled. “You let three people total drive your car. You wouldn’t even let Sir or King in our bed for the first three months we had them. You bartered for my secrets when we met, Andrew. ”
“And?” Andrew asks, examining a box of cake mix.
“I don’t think you should be talking about controlling personalities.”
Andrew ignores him, tossing the box in the cart and pushing it back towards Neil. “Go get your diet plan shit.”
Neil makes a face. “It’s our diet plan.”
“I am not willfully drinking skimmed milk.” Andrew crosses to the bags of jumbo marshmallows and Neil pinches the bridge of his nose.
“I’ll put it in your hot chocolate.”
“You’ll die,” Andrew says simply.
Neil jostles the cart into Andrew’s side, and he drops the marshmallows back on the shelf, unimpressed. “Meet me at the front in five. I’m getting actual food to sustain actual people.”
Andrew shrugs and turns to wander out of the aisle, dragging the cart the wrong way behind him.
Neil coughs so he doesn’t laugh, senselessly thrilled. He jogs back towards the meat section, threading through coolers and displays until he finds the turkey bacon and lean chicken breasts that they live on. He’s frowning at an especially lifeless beige cut of fish when he’s wrenched around by the arm.
Request: Hi Kazzy! I’m so happy to see you back! I was hoping to resubmit a request from a while ago? A Sam x Reader where the reader and the brothers stay with Jody after the reader gets hurt. Jody notices how Sam and the reader feel about each other and she kinda pushes them together? Maybe some jealous Sam when Dean tries to help the reader? No big deal if you don’t want to write it! Please and thank you :)
“Alright, talk to me, guys. How we doing back there?”
“Super,” you managed out through gritted teeth.
“She’s losing a lot of blood, Dean,” Sam added.
“Your bedside manner could use some improvement,” you told him. He tried to smile over at you but all he could manage was a tight, worried line. He added more pressure to his bundled up jacket pressed tightly to your right side and you gasped sharply, surprised you could hurt more.
“I know. I know. Sorry. Dean!”
“Going as fast as I can here, Sam,” Dean said from the driver’s seat. Still, you felt him give the Impala just a little more gas, pushing her to her limit.
You leaned your head back hard into the backseat’s headrest, closing your eyes. Your world felt reduced to two points now; the intense and deep, constant throb of pain in your side where Sam’s bloodied hands were pressed, and the less insistent, sharp sting in the crook of your arm. The latter had been bandaged quick and dirty with the extra shirt you’d had packed in the trunk when Sam and Dean had gotten you back to the car.
“Sucks,” you murmured, half to yourself. “It was one of my favorites.”
“What was?” Sam asked. You shook your head slowly, but Sam wasn’t going to let you get away with your non-answer.
“Hey!” he barked at you. Your eyes snapped open and focused on his. “I need you to stay with me, ok?”
“I’m going to be fine,” you told him, the slur in your speech not adding much to your point.
“I know you are,” he said firmly, holding your gaze. “We’re a few miles out from Jody’s. I think we just passed that gas station where we dared Dean to eat all the chilis on his nachos last time we came through here. Do you remember that?”
Is being an emt traumatic? Like one must see so many awful accidents. Do people get flashbacks, nightmares or PTSD? If so how would someone minimalize these?
Hey there nonny! I’m going to talk about EMS in general and then
Yes, EMS workers suffer rather ridiculous rates of PTSD, though it’s worth noting that not all EMS employees have it. PTSD development isn’t my area of expertise – talk to @scriptshrink and particularly @scripttraumasurvivors about that one. But I’ll share my thoughts and observations from 10 years in the service:
PTSD is a significant issue in EMS. I’m fortunate enough not to have it, but the job scars us all in different ways. Dead kids, horrendous accidents and more. That said, a lot of it is in how you see things. For me, I think what increases my resilience is that I understand that I’m there to help. The awful thing that happened has happened – not my fault. But I can help, or at least try to help, or give someone the dignity of a sheet over their body. It’s an emergency, but it’s not my emergency. And the sense of being able to dosomething really helps.
PTSD is a problem, but it isn’t as big of an issue as burnout in our community. Compassion fatigue is a real thing. The job can be shockingly abusive to those attempting to work it.
PTSD is real and people get it. EMS has a particularly macho culture, with phrases like “suck it up, buttercup” getting thrown around a LOT. So once someone starts to struggle, they can run into significant problems trying to get support from their group.
What’s interesting is this: one on one, we do pretty well. My friend Kelly Grayson calls this his Nachos And Beer therapy: take the coworker out, one on one, and talk, and eat nachos, and drink beer, and try to come to terms with what they’ve experienced.
Also, if you can, send a little money their way. Code Green Campaign is literally trying to get us to call a metaphorical code on our mental health, because responders commit suicide in pretty drastic numbers.
It’s changing, but the culture around mental illness in EMS has been “repress, repress, it’s for the best.”
That said, my personal mental health issues don’t stem from work so much as they do from my natural disposition: I get depressed easily and often, and I’ve battled suicidal ideation from the time I was 6 years old. EMS isn’t responsible for that. In fact, it’s helped give me a sense of purpose and a sense that I get to do positive things in the world, that my contributions (and therefor my life) matter.
A terrible form of validation, but it helps me.
As for character construction, you’re dealing with a group of characters that have Seen Some Shit™. Consider some coping mechanisms, like:
Swearing loudly and often
Very, very, very dark humor. I have been such a filter for you guys, you would not believe.
Lots of drinking, dancing, and partying, in order to “feel alive”
Talking things out quietly in corners
Partners making each other playlists to brighten their days
Finding someone outside of work to talk to in order to ground your character
One other note: things seem to actually get slightly better as medics progress in their careers. That’s not saying us old-timers are jaded fucks (though some are), but rather, we have a different perspective. We see things less personally. We trade the crushing weight of individual tragedies for the crushing weight of The Broken System and our years of clawing at the walls being unable to change it. As I said, it’s burnout, not PTSD (for a great many of us; your characters’ mileage may vary).