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Ambulance Girl: How I Saved Myself By Becoming an EMT Paperback – April 27, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
At 52, Stern, a well-known foodie-she and her husband, Michael, have coauthored some 20 books on American culture and food, including Roadfood-found herself profoundly depressed. Holed up in the couple's Connecticut home, she'd lost interest in doing much of anything. Phobias (bus riding, air travel, claustrophobia, etc.) made her isolation worse. One day, on a whim, she responded to the "volunteers wanted" notice at the local firehouse and signed up for EMT training. No one teaching "boot camp"-style classes would have tolerated a queasy (much less depressed or phobic) recruit, so she had to tough it out. Humor definitely helped. As Stern remarks, after a few classes covering major trauma, "I am no longer clinically depressed but instead am dying of everything simultaneously." Some of her class notes are funny, like her list of EMT no-nos: don't replace organs hanging from bodies, don't give CPR to a severed head, don't attempt to revive someone in a "state of advanced decomposition" and if "you have a patient whose leg or arm is partially amputated, do not pull it off to make things `neat.' " After training and certification, the real work started, and while initially it did the trick-"in helping others I learned to help myself"-the ultimate truth, that she couldn't save everyone, brought back her depression. Stern's memoir is a quirky mix of humor, self-doubt and courage.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In broad terms, this is a familiar story: a woman is dissatisfied with her lot, embarks upon a life-altering, seemingly ill-advised adventure that fills her with hope and happiness. But fill in the details, and you find a very unusual story, indeed. Stern wasn't just any workaday person; she was a writer, a popular author of more than 20 books, a magazine editor, and a radio commentator. Her dissatisfaction wasn't your typical midlife angst, but a deep and paralyzing depression that, by the time she was in her early 50s, had rendered her unable to travel or appear in public. And her life-altering adventure was, of all things, becoming an emergency medical technician, a volunteer job that literally put other people's lives in her hands. Making the switch from author of such books as The Encyclopedia of Pop Culture to EMT put a bit of a strain on both Stern and her husband, but it enriched her in ways that readers will find both touching and surprising. A remarkable variation on a time-honored theme. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Jane Stern found a great way to get her groove back!!
I discovered this book accidentally while searching online to see if other women in their 40s feel invisible when kids leave the nest (especially stay at home moms). Many of us seem to feel lost and "fired from our jobs" as our children become independent. This wasn't exactly the situation with author but I related to her place in life.
Jane Stern reminds me of all the reasons there is mystery and myth around the heroic lives surrounding us everyday. She took me on her healing journey of step by step moving from comfortable dysfunction to a new story and I liked the ride.
I hope the author writes a sequel. I would definitely purchase it, even if I had to pay full price!
She reveals her considerable list of fears as she progresses through the EMT training she decided to take on as a means to banish some of her demons. For a while, I was thinking, "Jeez, just get over it..." and then as the book progressed, realized she was in fact getting over it. It took loads of courage to take the training - just her descriptions of the classroom part of the course made me cringe, never mind the actual physically doing it, once she passed.
I even came away wondering if I could do what she did. Good read.
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