I’ve been in this buisness for 11 years. Over a decade. I’ve run all night and slept all day, turned to alcohol to relieve stress and pulled myself off that road then started using that gym membership.
Yesterday I was speaking a relatively new EMT at the side gig. She’s having blood pressure problems, compounded by over-working, life, and less than stellar exercise habits. Sadly this is a disturbing trend in our business, where people decide that somehow a medical certification or license makes them immune to the very problems they end up mitigating.
I look at my co-workers elsewhere, and people I worked with in the Great White North, and realize that we are doing this to ourselves. When I was working 13 hour shifts 6 days out of 7, or working the overnight 12, I was packing on the pounds. I went from 190 lbs when I graduated college to 230 lbs (for information, when I was on chemo I weighed in at 255 lbs) in a very short period of time. Lack of sleep, exercise, and a very poor diet.
We destroy ourselves with this lifestyle, and especially with over-working or pushing the limits when you are physically not ready to do so. Long hours passing up sleep can disrupt your rhythm and create an insulin resistance, which begats diabetes. The stress begats hypertension. Pushing the envelope with a heavy lift or dangerous movement can give you a back or joint injury that will plague you for years.
My suggestion for all those of you that are new, or even guys that have been around the block is to go to a doctor, eat better (replace that burger with a salad and that Coca-Cola with an ice water), exercise, stretch out throughout the day, and get out of the chair to walk around for a few minutes. Ask for help on a heavy lift, and don’t work 150 hours in a week.
Don’t be a glutton for punishment.