Posted by: medicblog999 | November 20, 2010

How Do You Want To Be Seen – Part 2

This is part two of this post – If you havent read part one – click here, then come back to see the flip side.

Ask yourself again, what type of medic do you want to be?

I woke up all of a sudden with a feeling as though someone was plunging a knife deep into my guts and slowly twisting it around and around. At the same time, I knew that if I didn’t manage to get to the bathroom, there was going to be a whole lot of mess in and around my bed.

Sitting on the side of the bed, I flicked on the bedside light and looked into the mirrored doors on the wardrobe at the far side of the room. I looked as white as the sheets on the bottom of the bed. I rubbed my face with my hands which quickly became covered in the cold sweat that was pouring off my forehead. I could feel the bedclothes wet beneath me from the moisture that was coming from the pores all over my body. The room was spinning,

I knew this feeling well, I had been in hospital for this same thing 3 times in the last two months, but was still waiting for someone to tell me what it was. Sure, I had plenty of doctors telling me what it wasn’t, but that didn’t really help the dread I was now feeling, knowing that yet again, I was going to be off to the hospital.

Sarah, my wife, sat up in bed then cuddled into me

“Oh, honey…..Not again!”

“Call me an ambulance Sarah, I need to go back in”

I stood to go through to the bathroom. As my feet touched down onto the carpet and I pushed up off the bed, my world span in circles and I dropped to my knees. Sarah was there in a second, phone to her ear talking to the Ambulance Service.

“No, he has just collapsed, please send an ambulance”

I lay down on the floor placing my head onto the carpet. The pain was intense, I couldn’t remember it ever being this bad.

After what seemed like an age, I heard sirens approaching. I prayed that they were for me.

Sure enough, I glanced towards the curtains and saw the strobing effect of the blue lights as they entered the street. Not long now……..

Sarah ran downstairs to open the door, and shortly after, I could hear the muffled conversation of a male voice in the hallway.

As I lay on the carpet, I opened my eyes and looked up to see an ambulance man standing next to Sarah.

“Hello Sir, my name is Tom and I am from the Ambulance Service. Whats your name Sir?


“Ok Mike, whats going on with you today then”

With that, he knelt down beside me and put his hand around my wrist, I guess to check my pulse. I started to explain what had been happening when all of a sudden another wave of pain came across me and I shouted out again.

“You seem to be in a whole lot of pain there. I need to do a couple of quick observations before I can sort out some pain relief for you ok? I just need to check your blood pressure first so that I know what sort of pain relief I can give you. Can you slip your arm out of your top for me so that I can put the blood pressure cuff on?”

I offered my arm up to Tom and soon, I could feel the band getting tight on my arm.

“So, can you tell me a little more about what happened  last time that you were in hospital?”

Sarah thankfully jumped in to answer. I just couldn’t seem to find the strength to tell him the same story I had told over and over again for the last few weeks. I hope he didn’t think I was being rude? Sarah was telling him all about my visits, what they had tested, what they had done and what they thought.

“They just keep telling us that it is nothing serious. They give him pain killers till the pain goes away and then they send him home. I think he has had most of the tests going, but what would I know anyway? Im not medically trained”

“It must be very frustrating for the both of you. Its always good to be told its not one of the more scary things, but you still need to get to the bottom of it right?”

Another wave of nausea hit me and this time I couldn’t keep it in. Before I knew it, Tom had pulled some sort of plastic bag thing out of his bag and told me to be sick into that.

“You know when you go in to hospital and they give you pain relief…….What do they give you? What works”

“They normally start me on the Morphine, then move me to tablets the next day”

“OK, Champion. Well lets get a needle in your had and sort out this pain, ok?”

Before I knew it, I was being asked questions about my kidneys, if I had bad depression and what I was allergic too. One sharp scratch in the back of my hand, then 5 minutes later, the rush to my head which I get when the morphine starts to work. I could feel the wave pass through my body and stop at my stomach which slowly started to feel a little better.

About 10 minutes later, the proper ambulance arrived and two other ambulance men walked in. Tom stood up from beside me and explained that he had to tell the crew all about what had been going on and what he had done for me. He introduced me to the two lads, Mark and John, and told them all about me. He must have been listening when he was working because thankfully Sarah and I didn’t have to add anything to the story.

“Right Mike, whats that pain like now? Is it any easier?”

“A little bit. Its still there and still hurts but its taken the edge off it”

“Ok mate. What we are going to do is get a chair for you to get you down the stairs and onto the ambulance so we can get you off to hospital ok?’

Some huffing and puffing later (im not the smallest guy in the world) and poor Mark and John had carried me down to the ambulance and got me as comfortable as possible on the stretcher. John took over from Tom to look after me on the way to the hospital, but before he went, Tom popped in to the ambulance to say goodbye and shake my hand.

“Ok Mike, Im away now. Look after yourself and I hope you get some answers this time. John will take good care of you and bore the pants off you with his stories on the way to the hospital!”

“Thanks Tom……Thanks very much”

He closed the door after him as he left the vehicle, I looked over at Sarah who had a little smile on her face. She reached over and held my hand and said

“What a lovely man”


In Part 3, I will look into the differences that Mike had with his two paramedics, and look at what makes some paramedics act the way that they do.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shari Simpson, Matt Wright, Matt Wright, Shelly Wilcoxson, Chronicles of EMS and others. Chronicles of EMS said: How Do You Want To Be Seen – Part 2 Via @Medic999 #CoEMS […]

  2. lovely for my point i prefer part two lets just say that for the moment i m more attracted to that kind of medic i really try to be that more then the first one even if some times i go to the dark side

  3. The way it should be done.

  4. I know it is very easy to say that this is how you should treat every patient, and you should try your hardest! But I also know about becoming burnt out, stressed out, and frustrated. If not managed properly, it is very easy to take this out on patients. Fortunately I’ve always had good partners that we could talk about anything with. That is key, and will make or break a shift. I always try my hardest to listen to my patients and be as compassionate as I can be. I must say ,though, that I am not perfect and have probably come off as rude and uncaring to some (when I can see nothing is wrong, but have no choice but to take them to an ER where I will get chewed out by an RN or MD for bringing them in). Anyways…great article! It was an eye opener reading this, and look forward to more.

  5. Where was the indication to carry this pt down the stairs?

  6. Hi, I have a rare autoimmune disease which means that like the person in this story I am unfortunate enough to require an emergency admission to hospital via ambulance about 6-8 times a year. This means I have far more experience of being the patient to different paramedics than most people ever would. I recognise the experience of both parts of this blog and can assure you that it makes an enormous difference to the patient. I have discussed with my husband before how we tend to have strongly polarised views of paramedics; some seem like perfect angels sent to save me from a feeling of hell and some I, unreasonably, find annoying for not being one of the aformentioned ‘angels’. There is naturally so much emotion in the situation already that it is hard  for the patient to view the medic as just a person doing their job.

    It is natural for the medics to make assumptions based on their previous experiences and this may understandably make them seem dismissive of the occasional seriousness of things they often see, such as abdominal pain or back pain. So whilst I always hope the medic from part 2 will be the one who arrives, I don’t blame the medic from part 1 for their different attitude.

    P.S. This sounds remarkably familiar to me as I also have mirrored doors on my wardrobe.

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