Tales from First Responders: Denise Moch Cuillo

7th May 2018

This month, leading up to Memorial Day, we at Levana Bratique are honoring First Responders. Today, we share an interview with Denise Moch Cuillo, who is busy saving lives in New York. 

My job as a first responder can be intense. I never know what the day will bring. It can be physically demanding, mentally challenging, emotionally draining, incredibly rewarding... and that may just be call #1. I worked on an ambulance for 24 years, and became a flight medic 3 years ago.

I like working with people. I like talking to my patients; I like making them feel like they are the most important thing in the world at that moment, and that their concerns are relevant and being taken seriously. I like the challenge of sorting out the puzzle they present. And every now and again, we get to make a difference. And that is the most humbling of experiences.

The hardest part is bearing witness. Abused children, drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents, sudden cardiac arrests, crazy accidents... mothers, fathers, children, spouses. And so often, the outcome is predetermined (or so it feels), and nothing we do can or will change that.

When I talk to women starting in this career, I try to share a few things. First, have a healthy release, because this job is incredibly draining (the depression rate is nearly 40%). That "release" should not include drugs, alcohol, or the bed of your co-workers. YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Second, hang on to your humanity. This job can change us; we become desensitized, we become bitter, we become judgmental, and we take that out on our families, our patients, and each other. At the end of the day, you need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and be OK with the job you did that day - you have to answer to your soul. It takes courage to admit you're hurting, but you cannot heal until you do. And last - but definitely important- look professional. We wear a uniform for a reason. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, you have to take yourself seriously as a professional.

Speaking of uniforms, I wear a sports bra for work. This hardworking piece of clothing has to support the D cups, cannot bind around the chest, the straps have to wide enough not to pinch at the clavicle, and it cannot "shift" or leave me spilling out the top. Wicking is imperative, and I prefer wire-less. Basically, this bra has to fully support me while being nearly invisible.

Not at work? I will still reach for a sports bra, but will usually choose a medium support option unless I'm exercising. I've never been able to find an underwire sports bra "off the rack" that actually fits. I need coverage (they keep the offices COLD), and I require some support after 3 kids!

Lucky for Denise and everyone else, we've got sports bra options that fit these requirements. Thank you, Denise, for your work. We are honored to share your story.