Maybe after reading this book you will never look at an ambulance the same way again. Perhaps you will remember the stories that Martin Viau tells in Un dernier tour d’ambulance, and you will remain pensive when imagining the calls to which the two paramedics seated in the front of the vehicle have had to answer since they have been wearing the ‘uniform.

As the pages turn, Martin Viau wonders if oblivion will be possible one day. Some may want to skip passages that contain (very) detailed descriptions — the reader is warned of this.

No, you don’t get used to seeing horror scenes, says the paramedic (the term he prefers to use, rather than paramedic or paramedic) cautiously. “It’s the details that will stick around, that pick you up. You don’t know which ones it’s gonna be, you don’t know why or when they’ll come for you; maybe it’ll be on the spot, maybe it’ll be weeks later,” says Martin Viau.

The first text of the book, he had written it in 2015, after a brutal accident between his ambulance and another vehicle which earned him a serious concussion. But Martin Viau got serious about writing last year, when he was wondering about his future in this profession that he has been practicing for almost 14 years.

“Writing has done me good. I needed a step back,” he says today, now working part-time after returning to school.

If his book does indeed come back to his personal experiences – a mixture of striking situations, horror scenes, too, and even significant dreams that followed traumatic shocks -, it is also intended as a plea for better working conditions for him and his peers, supported by many facts and statistics.

Attrition, in his opinion, is at the same time physical, psychological, emotional. And yet, paramedics do not have the option of retiring after a certain number of years of service like police officers, for example.

His spouse — and the mother of his children — Martin Viau met her through her work, since she has the same job as him. “It’s always been a plus for us. From the beginning, we didn’t set limits, we told each other our calls and we were always there for each other. It worked well and it still works, but it’s a tricky balance; one must be careful not to overload the other. If my spouse is on leave and I arrive and tell her about my calls, I transfer a little of the load to her too. »

Sometimes they even manage to work together — something other couples, he concedes, prefer to avoid.

Today, she also works as a part-time paramedic, in addition to having a second job. A way to reduce the mental and physical load that comes with the job, while having more time to recover.

Giving up completely, Martin Viau is not yet ready to do so. “I still love what I do. I admit that I love adrenaline, but it’s not always that. There are days when I can make six, seven, eight calls, and it won’t really be emergencies. It’s human relations, helping people, supervising them, giving them care… Sometimes it’s just giving them a presence. »

“Then there is something that I do not neglect, he adds, it is the relationship we have with our colleagues. We spend so much time with them, we live intense moments. »

Stories to tell, Martin Viau still has plenty. One thing is certain, this first book will surely not be his last, he says with determination.