The world of a paramedic is one that is fast paced, challenging, emotional and lifesaving. Filled with adrenaline and a wide range of conflicting emotions, the everyday life of these wonderful people who have chosen to work in this very confrontational world is offered from a unique perspective, that of Sandy Macken, a paramedic of twenty years working at the forefront of trauma on a daily basis.
Sandy Macken always wanted to be a paramedic. As fifteen-year-old she watched a team of ‘ambo’s’ as they were then called, treat an elderly gentleman who had fallen in the street treating him with the utmost respect as they picked him up, tending to his injuries and made sure he was OK.
This incident Inspired her to become a paramedic, to be there to help treat victims, restore some sort of calm and order to the scene and to help people manage in an otherwise unreal situation. In Paramedic she invites everyone to ‘walk in her shoes’ with the love, hope, trauma and resilience of everyday, that is the human spirit.
Sandy Macken gently presents a very personal view into world of the people and families who have called for help, offering a unique perspective of life and death through the eyes of a first respondent.
As a young paramedic Sandy felt she was superwoman. She was excited to go on what is referred to as a ‘big one’; an event that will test the team, calling on all of their training to deal with whatever life and or death situation they have been called to. Often the details presented are limited, and to some degree they are called to the unknown, the location of the patient is not always in the easiest of places to access and the level of trauma only discovered once they have reached their destination.
Over the years she has watched the toll of living at the very edge of emotion, take friends in the workplace, found herself facing her own life or death decision, discovering along the way the immense love and gratitude shown by people at their most vulnerable and the immense generosity of the human spirit to help bring some form of acceptance into terribly dark places.
Each story is a wonderful moment in time when life is presented in its rawest possible formation, but in the darkest of moments love is always there, helping those present to begin to cope with the unthinkable.
Paramedic shows the ‘coming of age’ of Sandy as she matures into a woman at peace with her work, having faced her own demons, offering aid in the Philippines after the devastating typhoon Yolanda in 2013,where she met what she considered as some of the most resilient people on earth and as a teacher of mediation and spiritually; the very modalities which help keep her grounded in a wold that frequently seems to have gone completely mad.
In the words of Allen Saunders, ‘Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans’ and that life is something that often calls on the skill, exercise and courage of the paramedic, doing what they do best.