Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Hate Nights Like Tonight

We dispatchers have a dark sense of humor. We can laugh at most anything. Not only CAN we, but a lot of times we HAVE to. It's our coping mechanism, the thing that allows us to take a dark, messy call and then move on to the next one.

But sometimes we get those calls that not even the darkest sense of humor can laugh away. The calls that make me want to shut the door and throw away the key, because laughing it away would be a disservice to those who are living that nightmare on the other end of the line.

Those are the nights that prompt me to text my husband to have a bottle of wine waiting for me when I get home.

Tonight was one of those nights.

So I come home, cry for a bit, and then settle in with a glass of wine and an episode of Biggest Loser.

And try to remember all the reasons I do this job. There are a lot of reasons. I just have to remember them all.

Dispatcher's Prayer

Dear Lord, help me keep safe those who depend on me.

Give me healthy ears, for they are my link with those who need me.

Keep my mind sharp and alert, my fingers quick and nimble.

Grant that I never forget how to do ten things at once, and do them all equally well.

Bless me with patience Lord.

Patience to deal with the public, with the officers, with the firefighters,

and with everyone else who makes me want to grit my teeth and yell.

Give me nerves of steel;

That I may listen to a mother screaming for her child to live,

the man with a gun, the family watching their home go up in flames, or a request for backup or more equipment and not give way to panic.

Grant me empathy, that I may help the caller in need,

and not cause them more pain than they already have.

God, give me the ability to learn what I need, to remember it quickly,

and give me the wisdom to use the knowledge properly.

Bless my family Lord, for they will have to make sacrifices to shift work,

overtime, canceled plans and times when I just can't take on one more thing.

Help them understand the missed ball games, school programs and dinners for two.

Lord, give me courage. Courage to persevere when I feel undervalued,

unappreciated, overworked and unrecognized.

Courage to keep trying when I feel in my heart it's hopeless.

Last of all Lord, help me to never forget why I chose this job in the first place,

to never lose sight of what is important in the midst of the stress.

Help me to remember that I make a difference;

however small it may seem some days, and that I matter.

I am a dispatcher, Lord, grant me peace.

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