Friday, August 28, 2009

The Things You Hear

A lot of people ask paramedics "what's the grossest thing you've seen?" And of course they want to hear stuff that you'd see in a Hollywood movie. Yes we do see some gory and gruesome stuff. We are also part of some very heart-wrenching stories that hit close to home - as witnessed in recent headlines ( One of the most entertaining things about our job are the things we hear; and even the calls we respond to. We had one elderly lady who was experiencing chest pain and needed her heart to be monitored with an ECG. The paramedic who was placing the sticky electrodes on her chest told the patient she needed to place some under her breast and to excuse her reach. The lady, unabashed said, "well that will be the most my breast has been touched in a long time." Let me tell you how hard it is to continue in a professional manner while treating this patient for a serious condition- all the time trying not to burst out laughing. Yesterday I was treating a 94 year old lady who was as sharp as a tack. She was very healthy and very witty...always having something funny to say. When we were moving her to the stretcher she said she needed to make some "noise". Thinking she had to burp, we told her to go ahead and do what she needed to do. She says "I'm afraid of the smell it will make. They call me Mrs. FARTington around here". Again, hard to hide the laughter with remarks like that. Having to deal with the horrific and difficult calls are surely easier to deal with when you have patients like that to make you chuckle.

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