Sunday, May 13, 2007

- Drunks.

One thing I've found common among emergency response personnel is how much we hate drunk drivers. Picking up a drunk person in itself is usually just a minor frustration or amusement. If we're picking up a drunk driver (very common down south), however, it usually means that they've wrecked and caused harm to someone or something, inciting our anger and making our patience goes out the window - not just because we've been dragged out of our beds at 2:30 in the morning to deal with your stupid ass but because an innocent bystander could've/might've been injured.

Most people who've been working for a while have at least seen one example of what happens when an intoxicated party gets behind the wheel thinking that they're in control of their faculties. Sometimes this is as minor as a ruined fender and street sign or as serious as a multiple fatality accident. Several times I've seen DDs become victim to the frustrations of Emergency Personnel - ridiculed, yelled at, handled roughly, etc. I try to just handle DDs as a regular call but it's hard not to be judgmental - when you've seen what can go wrong with a drunk individual behind the wheel it's hard to keep the rage from coming up inside. I applaud anyone who is able to keep a level head and run a drunk driver as a "normal call". I also freely admit I will not be one of those people. I do an OK job of just keeping my mouth shut but I cannot bring myself to establish a rapport with these people.

The part that sticks out at me is that when I see these people get upset because something has gone wrong I know that when they got behind the wheel earlier they really didn't mean for any of this to happen. I'm not proud to admit I've driven with a few drinks under my belt and I turn my own stomach - one night, while with a buddy, I wrecked a very nice vehicle I owned due to that fact I was intoxicated. Luckily it was just a real estate billboard and concrete encased handicapped parking sign. The thing was that if that billboard has been to the left or right about a a foot, only my buddy or I would be able to tell this story - the billboard came through the windshield and I got very aquainted with the proper spelling of a local real estate guru's last name. Did I intend to wreck that night when I got behind the wheel? Of course not. I'm extremely lucky that the only damage done was to property.

It wasn't till I started working in this field that I realize how bad it could've been. I wonder if I would've been upset at the injustice of it all, with cops and firefighters and EMTs standing over me, scowling at me, unknowing that I had injured or killed someone.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if I stepped back and thought about it I could probably be a little nicer to the DDs that I transport. The reason I'm not is because I don't want to be - I'm truly upset with some of these people and I don't mind letting them know it. I realize this may be hypocritical of me given my past incident but I choose to ignore that dirty feeling I get. A cop really let me have it the night I wrecked and though I was puzzled with his hostility (no one got hurt, what's the big deal?) I like to think that after I sobered up and absorbed what he was saying that it taught me something - and now, I understand why he was so upset.


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