In the infrequent instance where resuscitation is successful Yes I am old but I saw The Doors on stage signatures shirt, you feel good. I wouldn’t say you always feel elated, but it’s like, “Today, my job meant something. My training was worth it. All the BS we put up with the rest of the time doesn’t matter — this mattered. Then you find out a few days later that they coded again and that person you thought would be walking the Earth a little longer because of something you did, actually won’t be. That kind of deflates those positive “atta boy” feelings you have. You’re still proud of what you did and hope to do it again, but it makes the next high you feel from “saving a life” potentially a little lower. Most of the time you have no idea what happened after you left, all you know is whether they had a pulse when you handed them off. That’s also tough – not even really knowing whether someone you brought back was alive a week later.
What I’ve described above applies to some, but not all. I’ve definitely had times where I felt freakin’ great afterward. But honestly, a lot of it is just the adrenaline rush. It’s not much different from reminiscing with friends, laughing over a funny story you all experienced together. It feels good, but I think a great deal of it is not from being a good person that’s proud of saving someone, but just an adrenaline high mixed with camaraderie and accomplishment — really, it’s just being on the winning team. One time that sticks out as a time I felt really great about is probably because it was different than the usual EMS situation. I was on duty and I was with my crew, but we weren’t dispatched. We were walking through a restaurant parking lot, on our way to dinner.