To me it’s a verb. It’s the action. It’s providing comfort to someone on the scariest day or night of their life. It’s the want, the drive, the need to be present in someone’s emergency. It’s the insane desire to make things okay for someone else. And if you can’t make things okay, make them as close to okay as you can.
It’s a look. Your patient who has laid in bed for 3 days with no one realizing they haven’t been going out or doing their usual tasks. The look in their eyes pleads for you to help them. Without saying a word, your eyes should say unmistakably, “I will help you.” It’s the ability to walk in and see the sad situations people find themselves in. To smell the air of a room where someone has spent days not only not showering, but not moving, and still forging ahead because the compassion inside of you won’t let you turn away and it won’t let your gag reflex kick in.
It’s a touch. A hand on the shoulder of a person who was just told their spouse is gone. Love transfers right through the purple gloves we wear and into the people left behind by those we could not save.
People do ridiculous things. Whether you work on a truck or with a volunteer squad, you’re going to see people who have put themselves in such precarious situations, you can’t begin to imagine what they were thinking. You’ll find people who are addicted to drugs. You’ll find people with manageable conditions that they refuse to manage. You’ll find people who have brought hurt and injuries on to themselves or have ingested substances with the intention of ending their life and at the last minute changed their mind…and called you. You’ll come through the door of a patient’s home to find their injury or illness minor or non existent. You might feel irritation. Try not to. Whether it was for medical attention or not, this person needs you. Always walk away from a scene knowing you did everything you could to help, and feel good about the way you interacted with your patient regardless of their behavior or situation.
EMS is a verb. It's an action. Take it.
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