Time stood still as I stood motionless in the stranger’s apartment. It was beautifully furnished. There was a baby grand piano across the room with a silver tea set carefully placed on an expensive table-cloth. Exquisite furniture, expensive carpets, and decoration only found in the most expensive homes. Yet, here on the floor, lay an elderly woman in her night-clothes. She looked very peaceful.
I was a young, eager, and very inexperienced EMT. Not yet a paramedic, that would come several years into the future. Now, on this quiet Sunday morning in, I stood in a luxury, retirement, high-rise building in the 16th floor suite of a very unconscious, peaceful elderly woman. My senses sought desperately to keep up with the scene unfolding around me, but my body remained motionless.
My partner on the ambulance that day was one of the first paramedics in the country, yet he was only a few years older than me. His certification number was three – as in the third in the nation. Bob carried himself with the nonchalance of the streetwise, the coolness of the experienced, and the cynicism of someone who has seen the darkest of the human soul. I wasn’t his regular partner, in fact, I normally worked transporting people in wheelchairs. This was just a fill-in shift – to prepare me for my future as a street medic.