Mother-daughter paramedics tackling COVID-19 together on the frontlines
TORONTO -- For many, social distancing will mean being apart from their mom's this Mother's Day. But for a pair of Peel Region paramedics whose profession crosses generations, that doesn't have to be the case.
Angie Attwood is an advanced care paramedic with Peel Regional Paramedic Services. It's a job she's had for more than 15 years and one she loves to this day.
"I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I love this job, absolutely."
These days, when she heads to work, she's often crossing paths with her daughter, Kendall Miller, who over the past year has been working as a primary care paramedic in the same service.
According to Miller, it wasn't always going to be this way.
"It's actually something my mom and I talked about when I was graduating high school. But I was very much like, ‘nah I don't want to do that, I want to do my own thing’…I'm going to find my own claim to fame."
Miller admits she didn't know that much about what her mom did while she was growing up.
"She tried to keep us a little sheltered from that part of her life, which was probably for the best. We got to hear about the fun calls, but not necessarily the bad ones. But I knew what she did and how she impacted others, something proud to look up to."
It was midway through her first year of college, where she was enrolled in massage therapy classes, when Miller called her mom to say she'd developed an interest in following in her footsteps.
Attwood, who was a nurse before becoming a paramedic, told CTV News Toronto that she figured one of her kids would end up in the health-care profession or “in the helping profession.”
“I was really excited that she wanted to enter the program, but I was scared for her as well because it's not an easy job."
Now, it's a job the two do together. On at least 10 occasions, they've even worked side-by-side in the same ambulance. A moment of pride for Attwood who said "a lot of parents don't get the chance to see how their kids do in their chosen occupation and I've been very fortunate.”
“I know she can handle herself and I have no qualms about the job that she's doing right now so it is a lot of fun when we work together."
Miller agrees its fun, but for different reasons. ‘
"It's kind of nice that I get to boss her around on calls a little bit, kind of take the front seat. I do call her mom in front of people and it really throws them off."
While the two women are on the same rotation, they're also roommates, and Miller says that might be enough time spent together.
"Will we take on a full-time position together? No. I do need my own space. Will I work shifts with her every once in a while? Of course, but I do have a line."
The pair admits that being on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic has added stress to a job that can already be quite stressful.
"I find I nag a little bit more especially with Kendall, just reminding her you know, wash your hands, wear your stuff,” Attwood said. “It doesn't matter what call is coming in, make sure you're in full (personal protective equipment) because obviously you don't want it coming home."
The job will keep the pair apart this Mother's Day, but Miller says she plans to treat her mom to dinner at some point and spend some quality time together outside of work.
Attwood says she's proud of her daughter, and the opportunity she has to work alongside her.
"I consider myself very blessed to have the relationship I have with her, and funny thing is, I worked with my mom for the last three years of her career before she retired, so it's kind of come full circle."