1. When you’re off duty but hear a noise that soundsjust like your call tones.
2. When you get scheduled with your best buddy.
3. Entertaining yourself while on standby.
4. When the tones drop, but no dispatch follows.
And for a moment, the world stands still.
5. Trying to find a pen on scene:
Didn’t you place at least five in your pocket this morning?
6. Finding scissors, gloves, and vital pads everywhere.
7. The day they stopped carrying your favorite brand of gloves.
8. Watching actors portray CPR on television.
9. Nothing can gross you out anymore.
10. Feeling like a slightly sadistic human being because of that.
11. Oh, about to get off duty?
12. What you wish you could say to bystanders on scene:
13. Unleashing your creative side to keep yourself entertained.
14. Catching someone with great veins when you’re off duty:
15. That feeling when you get through a shift without getting any bodily fluids on your uniform!
16. Fear of the open mic.
17. When you’re in the shower and the tones drop.
18. How it feels the first time you back in the ambulance perfectly.
What it probably looked like:
19. Feeling your bedside manner go downhill as the shift goes on.
20. Walking on scene and recognizing a frequent flier.
21. When you’re nearing the end of your shift and…
22. When the newbie on the crew says he or she, “Can’t wait to see some action!”
23. The stretcher brake becoming your worst enemy.
24. Tones dropping during the day:
25. Tones dropping at 4 a.m.:
26. Getting creative with mnemonic devices.
27. Responding lights and sirens.
28. Walking on scene and wondering how you’re going to get the patient out of the room, let alone into the ambulance.
29. Having a steady flow of caffeine in your system at all times.
30. Getting back to the station after several calls in a row.
31. When you have an immobile patient on the 14th floor of a building – with no elevator.
32. Just about to take your boots off? Oh, OK:
34. When your patient tells the nurse a completely different personal history from what they told you on scene:
35. When people ask if you get holidays off:
What are holidays?
36. When the nurse asks why you didn’t get three complete sets of vitals.
37. Trying to get a history from a patient that doesn’t speak the same language as you.
38. Slow days.
39. When someone on the crew mentions what a slow day it has been.
40. What you think you look like during a call and what you actually look like.
Sarah Karlan is the associate LGBT editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.