I'm never asked that question directly.
Instead, folks will say something to the effect, "I'm not sure I could do your job."
When I started I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it either.
Me and my crews see some ghastly things.
About the time I started the job we launched late one Fall night for an accident scene. This was "back in the day" when weather reporting was MUCH sketchier than it is today, and when we got away from the heat island of the city the temperature dropped and I began to notice fog rapidly forming and spreading beneath me. I called the waiting ambulance and informed them I was aborting the flight, and asked if they wanted to drive the patient to us somewhere that fog wouldn't be a factor. They declined and said they'd just transport the patient to the nearest facility for care.
I then called my dispatch and told them we were headed home, and why.
They responded, "We have another flight for you. Can you make it to ********town? "
(This was on high ground and would be no problem.)
"Yes, we can do that. Go ahead with your report."
"Your patient is a pedestrian, struck by a car. He has severe facial trauma. Your ground contact there is Unit ****."
State troopers closed each end of the highway and allowed me to land immediately behind the ambulance. My crew walked our stretcher over while I secured the aircraft controls, then walked over to watch them work.
Ya can't prepare yourself for this...
The guy was drunk, walking home. He passed out ON THE ROADWAY, just over the crest of a hill. The vehicle that hit him may not have even seen him. It struck his face just below the eyes, destroying his nose, mouth, and jaw, and the tissue there looked exactly like the ruptured abdomen of an opossum or raccoon lying in a heavily trafficked roadway.
Conscious now, his eyes were pleading... "I can't breathe!"
My crew was frantically trying to find his airway in this mass of destroyed tissue so they could insert a breathing tube. They failed.
I watched as the life slowly drained from him.
It's the stuff of nightmares. It bothered everyone... later.
But people are gonna continue to hurt themselves in strange and wonderful ways. I've been at this job 24 years now, and I'm still amazed that our ingenious customers can find new scenarios in the "self destruction" repertoire.
And when they get hurt, someone has to have the stomach to transport them to the help they need. That's our job. Most of the time it's not too bad. But sometimes (like with kids), you have to tell yourself, "Do the job. You can cry later."
Could you do my job?
Yeah, I think most of you could.
'Cause someone has to.