Who’s a Hero?

No, not me. I just want to be one.

I have seen heroes. I’ll tell you about a few.

I met a mother in the middle of the night, in the middle of the road. There were cars crashed around her. Her eyes were huge as she told me she didn’t know what to do so she held the guy’s head until we arrived. She didn’t realize it was the most important thing she could have done. She had taken CPR and knew to keep his airway open. She didn’t have to stop her car that night. It was dark, scary and she was alone. She saved his life. It wasn’t me. That’s heroic.

I would arrive at places to find CPR in progress. When I noticed it wasn’t quite right, I’d find out that even though they had never taken a class, they tried. Please take CPR, but if you haven’t, trying is better than not. Some things can be fixed. Nobody trying for too long isn’t a fixable thing. People will make heroic efforts. I know, I’ve seen them.

Working as a paramedic, I knew, there was never a lack of heroes. In the middle of nowhere people appeared wanting to do something. Those with flashlights would direct traffic. Others would light the victims I couldn’t see. Some would hold IV bags up for me.  This was the truth of emergencies in the middle of nowhere. If the first crew wasn’t enough, heroes always came to help. I never knew their names.

As a nurse, I knew the heroes of the hospital were usually not the superstars. The heroes were the foundations, the housekeepers, transporters, lab and clerical staff that keep things running. They don’t get credit but nothing works without them.

I also met a someone who admitted himself to mental care because the voices had returned, telling him to hurt his family. He felt entirely lost and dejected. He sacrificed himself to protect them. That is ultimately heroic.

No one wakes up and sets the goal of being a hero, then goes out and becomes one. It doesn’t work that way. I do my best, try to be good to people and help them find what they need. I hope that’s enough. Honestly, it’s usually not but it only takes one success.

I want to be a hero. Heroes are real. I’ve seen them.

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