I always told
myself that I wouldn’t be caught in Anacostia Park (or anywhere in that part of
Southwest D.C., really) when it was dark out. Unfortunately for me, that’s exactly
where we were headed, and the sun was nowhere in sight.
me, it was 6:15 in the morning—there’s not a whole lot of danger that hangs out
around sunrise. Recruit Class 994 was being bussed to the park for our timed
mile-and-a-half run. It was cold, it was miserable… oh, and did I mention how
dark it was?
Our course was
plotted out along a road that hugs the Anacostia River. We were to run
approximately 0.75 miles to where an instructor (in a DCFD car, the lucky
bastard) was posted and then turn around and come back. I fell into a steady
pace, and completed the run in 13:34 (by my math, that’s about a 9-minute mile.
Considering how much I hate running and how little I do it, that’s not bad!)
What struck me
as more compelling than the pounding in my chest and yesterday’s residual
soreness in my legs was the look of the sun rising over the water. For the past
two weeks, I’ve been arriving at the Academy before sunrise; thus, whenever it
started to become light out, the sun was always impeded by the trees, fences,
and structures surrounding the compound. Out here, the warm light was
completely unconfined, and allowed to slowly and gently expose the
pothole-ridden asphalt to a group of tired recruits.
We were all
identical in our DCFD sweats and hats, and we ran silently; each person fell
into a rhythm that precluded any talking or joking around. As a fellow medic
friend of mine used to say: “Head down; power through.”
As the last of
the recruits huffed their way across the finish line, we piled onto the bus and
headed back to the Academy.
reviewing protocols for our classroom portion; as with everything else, we
medics are placed in a strange position. Seeing as everyone else in 994 is an
EMT-Basic, we’re forced to sit and listen to the simplest part of the
protocols. The advanced protocols we’d be using as paramedics (which are in the
book, but not discussed in class) are all but forgotten, and we have no
opportunity to ask clarification questions. This may or may not be taken care
of during our precepting time at DC General hospital—I don’t think anybody
really knows at this point.
Oh, and a fun
fact about Class 994: before we four medics arrived, the other thirty-two
people had managed to rack up a “Tower debt.” This means that before anybody
can start Firefighter I and II in February, the class has to repay their debt
to the instructors whom they pissed off at various points within the last few
months. Fortunately for myself, Mike, Rich, and Carl, we arrived just in time to
help them pay all 45 Towers back!
down to 40 (progress is slow, to say the least). However, if the paramedics are
going to be a part of the class, the paramedics are going to suffer with the
class. We might be the “new guys,” but we’re all just recruits here.