Those OCD Moments

As I was getting ready for my first day of work last week, I started loaded up my pockets with the usual stuff that I carry.  In my right leg pocket, I keep my shears strapped into their little holders.  I always crisscross the straps to their snaps.  In my left hip pocket I carry my gloves.  At my new job I was surprised to find that many people carry sterile exam gloves so I started doing the same.  (If we are ever partners, I am an 8 and a half.)

I loaded up my belt the same way that I do every day.  Between the second and third belt loop on the left, the clip for my radio goes.  In the same spot on the right side I have a holder for non-sterile gloves.  I usually load it up with four pairs at the start of my shift all rolled a certain way so I can grab a pair quickly if I need them.

I then got ready to pocket the last little trinket that I carry: my Smith & Wesson knife that sits clipped into my right front pocket and realized that I could not find it.  I slipped into a momentary panic. Although I have used it just twice in the four years that I have owned it the knife is always sitting there, just in case.

Fortunately, I found it in my hamper.  Apparently, it fell out of my pair of pants from the previous shift but it got me to thinking about all of the little idiosyncrasies that I go through in my day.  I have a certain way of doing things in my job that makes me comfortable.  It is kind of my own personal way of holding on to my sanity I guess.  My GPS goes on the windshield a certain way.  I keep my traffic vest in a certain spot in the truck.  My bulletproof vest sits behind the headrest of the back seat on whichever side I am driving.  These things get done every shift.  The same way.  I end up almost unconsciously reaching for things just knowing that they are there.  it is comforting.

I can’t help but feel like keeping these things the same makes allowing other changes or occur that much easier.  In EMS we need to allow ourselves to evolve.  When we get that new piece of equipment we need to add it to our toolbox and use it.  I feel like I do a decent job with that.  Sure I slip up sometimes, sure I have said “this is stupid, it’ll never work” but i feel like for the most part I adapt pretty well.

Maybe its my little OCD “everything has its place” moments that make that easier.  Maybe it’s that familiarity with what stays constant that makes adapting more natural and less bumpy for me.  Well it’s time to head in to work for another shifts.  My sheers are fastened, and I just checked my pocket: my knife is there.  Just because.