I’ve gotten a few requests for update but didn’t want to post until I felt like I really had anything to say. A lot has happened in the past two weeks so I’m going to try to go over it as best I can.
My wife and I started talking again. We had a very serious conversation and I did apologize for what I did to her running shoes, and then I told her I had to speak some truth and I wanted her to promise me that she wasn’t going to roll her eyes, interrupt me, scoff, or get sarcastic with me, which she did. I told her that I was not kidding about my boots, that while most of the time I caught geriatric transports, falls, and nausea, there were instances where response time was of the essence and I didn’t have time to play around with my boots in the middle of the night. I told her that there have been times when my intervention has been critical in saving a life, when my training has helped me recognize an underlying emergency, or when a call I made ensured that a patient was prioritized upon arrival at the hospital. I explained that a lot of the shit I see, I don’t tell her about because I don’t want to give her nightmares or make her worry about me. She actually listened and didn’t dismiss what I had to say. She responded that she was trying to help by keeping things neat.
I responded, “But you’re not. Sweetie, I’m not trying to be mean, but you’re not helping. You’re hindering me. One day it may be the difference between life and death. I need you to not touch my gear. It’s where I know where it is, it’s where I can easily find it in a short amount of time, and if you move it, you are impeding an emergency response. I don’t care if it looks neat. It serves a function, it doesn’t look pretty. If you want to help me, please leave my gear where I put it.”
A few nights later I had my friend Officer Rich come over. Officer Rich was one of the two cops that did CPR on the victim that night. The three of us sat on our deck and had a few social distancing beers. He talked about getting there, doing CPR, giving Narcan, waiting for the ambulance and getting her back shortly before we got there.
He then pulled out a few photos of car accidents that I had worked. He showed them to my wife and pointed out, “This car went into a tree. Your husband crawled into the wreck, put a collar on the driver, and stayed in there giving him oxygen until we could get him out.” “Your husband pulled a three year old out of this wreck.” “Your husband recognized that the driver had a stroke and took her to a stroke center, which likely saved her life.”
After that, I told her I had something I wanted to show her and I asked her for the same promise I’d asked earlier. When she agreed, I showed her a video on YouTube of a police bodycam from an overdose. This video showed how critical time is in getting someone back, and the training someone goes through in order to give the drug, do CPR, and utilize an AED.
I told her, “I’m not trying to attack you, I don’t want to have a fight, but I want you to understand what I go through. That I hope every call I go on is transporting a boo boo, because otherwise it means that if I don’t do everything right someone could die. If I don’t get out that door as quickly as possible, someone could suffer brain damage while they’re waiting for me to give them oxygen. If I’m upset and shaking because I had to waste time opening my boots, I might miss something critical and someone might not make it.”
She acknowledged that she understood and told me she hadn’t really thought about the danger of what I do until the other night when she saw the photos of the wrecks. I told her that I think she has OCD and needs to see a therapist because it’s hurting our marriage. I listed examples of her throwing important things out, moving things without permission, and messing with my gear. I offered to go together and said I’d be willing to work on things together.
After I pointed out the pattern, she agreed that it was time to speak to someone. She wants to think about whether she wants to go together or go by herself, but she has promised me that she’s going to try to change her patterns. I brought up her saying she thought I was going to hit her, and she acknowledged she’d been with guys who flew off the handle with little provocation and scared her. That she’d never seen me get that angry and it triggered her because she didn’t think I was capable of blowing up like that.
She’s been very emotional lately and has been going through mood swings. She’s been worried about me going out on calls. The other day she started crying and said, “I hope you know how much I appreciate what you do.” Knock on wood, since we had the big talk, she hasn’t touched my boots.
Is everything resolved? Not by a longshot. But she seems to have a new appreciation for what I do. Thank you for all of your responses. I wound up not showing her the thread, because a lot of it was pretty harsh towards her. I recognize I cherry picked incidents that didn’t put her in the best light, and there’s a lot more to her and our marriage than that. She is the person I chose for the rest of my life, and I want us to work.
tl;dr Let my wife into my world a little more, she let me into hers, and she hasn’t touched my boots since.