What do you do when you come to the end of your options? I’ve been here before, and it’s a lonely place to be. But I don’t think it has ever been this desperate. Having a family truly changes everything.Dead End

A few years ago we made the decision to put family before career – and the results were devastating. I don’t regret that decision at all. But it has been tough. We didn’t exactly have a backup plan, and that made it tougher than it needed to be, but nonetheless, here we are.

I never thought I’d go back into EMS, but it certainly seemed like the best option given the state of the economy. As you may know, I am now a licensed paramedic, working the streets of Portland again. Well, I was until last month when I took a temporary leave of absence. The long hours, the night shift, and the long commute is killing me and my family. So, decided to take some time off.

Now, a few weeks later, it is getting close to going back to work – but I’m not sure I can do that. The work itself is easy, almost boring, it’s the sitting in an ambulance for 12 hours straight, long commutes, late nights, sleeping during the day while my family tries to survive, and sinking slowly into deeper and deeper sleep debt. This is the part I don’t think I can do anymore.

There’s just that small little thing, how to support my family? I think we’re out of options.

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  1. Alex says:

    I understand what the life of an EMT or EMTS can be like for a family. My mom was an EMT specialist from the time I was about 8 years old until well after I graduated. I never understood those 12, 24, or 48 hour shifts… It seems like they could work out a more productive schedul…

    1. gwalter says:

      Yes, it would be nice. Frankly, most people my age have enough seniority that they don’t have to work the graveyard shift – and most people aren’t commuting three hrs round trip. Also, most people with even these limitations, aren’t going through a home foreclosure also. Much of this is circumstantial.

  2. Jen says:

    I’m finally woken up enough to stop dragging my feet about getting an RN job. I’m sorry I’ve been dragging my feet. I’m praying I can get one quickly in order to get us out of this dead end zone.

    1. gwalter says:

      Thank you – we’re in this together.

  3. Mike Hansen says:

    So I have some practical thoughts for what they’re worth. You can’t go wrong putting your family first. You must. We make decisions with as much wisdom as possible-wisdom accumulated from the past and wisdom gained from the present, i.e., from wisdom’s True Source. Let me simply suggest what I would do if I were in your position, obviously with limited details.

    I would get closer to work and find a place to rent ASAP. Make a year lease tops. Since you’re an EMT and Jennifer’s a nurse, near a medical center is probably the most prudent. I grieved losing our owned home to foreclosure-especially as it’s only 200 yards from where we live now. But I had to let it go. This world is not my home. But my family is still intact.

    Find a place you know is well below your means presuming between the both of you’ll be working. Rebuild and get that worry behind you for the coming months. You have no idea how near in circumstances we are to you right now. We just arrived home from driving and looking for another home to rent. It kind of sucks. We don’t HAVE to move, but financially we’re looking at a net change of $400 a month outgo so we need to work on something too.

    How do we balance not forcing a future but trusting God with the one he has for us? Like Johnny said so well, we can look back and see when things weren’t nearly as clear, God was in it somehow. I have to believe God was in your move to Portland. You’ve grown and you have an amazing family. Again, I write from a distance.

    So much comes to trust in God. And it’s then I am sooooo thankful to have scripture written out of dark and unknown circumstances we also face. Psalm 46:10 for instance. Or Isaiah 40. Having the black and white of scripture on a page helps me “put my finger” on God so to speak so I know He still cares and wants to bless. Proverbs 3:5-8 is another great one.

    I do pray God will show up. I pray you will make wise choices. I pray you will have a peace that passes understanding. I pray you will have a stronger faith and stronger family through all of this. Most of all I pray you and God will ever closer.

    From one brother to another. One family to another.

    1. gwalter says:

      Thanks Mike – those are some good thoughts.

    2. gwalter says:

      Thanks Mike. Yes – while leaving the house is a grieving process, I do think we’ve accepted it as a fact. Although, I went out on the back deck last night to breathe in the night air – it was peaceful, quiet, and refreshing. This really is a great house in a great location. But we’re ready to go.

      The only reason we haven’t left is because a) we currently have no income, and b) it is free to live here.

      At some point, we are ready to just pack up and head to Colorado. It’s the whole lack of income thing that is scary. However, for me right now, my biggest threat is going back to work. I just don’t think I can do it. The environment there is just so toxic – I get anxious thinking about going back.

      I’m going to spend a few moments reading these texts – thank you!

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