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Speed Eating

Eating is always an adventure in the mad rush of 9-1-1 shift work. I once inhaled an entire steak I had just barbequed in four giant bites because we were getting sent on a rural call forty minutes away. It was my only chance to eat before midnight.

Coffee has become a religious experience, both getting a cup in before the first action of the day and rebolstering in the afternoon. Some of the younger EMTs constantly sip on energy drinks but that puts me in SVT. (Supraventricular tachycardia refers to a racing heartbeat that is uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.)

I try to stay healthy. Meal prep lunch and dinner for quick rewarming in case we must take it “to go.” No food ordered is ever “for here” in case it needs to be tossed in a bag and eaten on the run. We keep snacks and water in the ambulance to keep our blood sugars, aka hangry attitudes, in check. Other times we splurge. Chef station dinners together in-between the busyness. Stopping at some strip mall to experience the healing powers of frozen yogurt. Or settling for late night fast food and gas station fare with an occasional lottery ticket for whimsical fantasias.

On nights when we get sent out of town on long distance transfers to big cities, we will brave the local 7-11 and the colorful characters rapturing on the sidewalk in front of it, or Yelp review a random diner or café. Seeking our next meal is always a fun cannonball run. At some point, we will get to sit down, take a breath, and enjoy the binge whenever that hot time may come around and however fast it goes cold.

Joe Amaral
Grover Beach, California

Comments

3 thoughts on “Speed Eating”

  1. Joe, I love your colorful, upbeat writing style. My son is a paramedic, and I thought of him and his co-workers trying to obtain nutritious food on the fly. Keep writing. And stay safe out there on the streets.

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