An emergency thank you...

I have had two ambulance rides in my life: one where I was more fascinated by the quantity of saline being poured over my legs than I was scared or in shock, and one where I cried the whole time with blood pouring down my face.

I have been a patient in the emergency room for both minor mishaps (they laughed when they saw how little I had cut off my finger) and for major physical and psychological trauma (car accident, massive panic attack).

After the trauma and drama are over, I sometimes wish I could track down the first responders, the doctors and nurses who have been there for me through these distressing events, and thank them. But I think for many of us who have experienced these kinds of emergencies, we don't really want to relive them or remember them any more than necessary. And I'm pretty sure that the EMTs and ER staff who helped me have forgotten me by the next day.

Still, I'd like to give thanks this year for the police, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, doctors, nurses, technicians, and everyone else who has scooped me up off the street, stitched me up like Frankenstein, shot me full of sedatives and did what they had to do to put me back together, physically and mentally.

I've always appreciated the dry humor, the calm demeanor, the matter-of-fact attitude that faces me in the ER. I might be freaking out (or just out of it), but the person who meets me never is. When my head was busted open in five places, I don't recall a single ER staff person looking at me in horror. I understand the training and conditioning these people go through. And I appreciate it.

I still remember cracking jokes with the doc who sewed up my lacerations; I distinctly recall telling him I'd "always wanted a needle in my eye."

I've been a visitor with with hubby as he's experienced extremely painful kidney stones, strange dizzy spells and heart palpitations, and also a co-patient (between the two of us, we used up most of the saline supply in the ambulance -- in a ride that took two and a half blocks). They always take us seriously, but they don't make us more scared. How do they DO that?

I take comfort in living near a major hospital, and having spent so much time in its ER, I feel safe and secure as I pass by on my regular walks in the neighborhood. I know what goes on inside. I know people are there for me if I need them.

So on this Thanksgiving, six days short of the 20th anniversary of a car accident that would change my life in so many ways, let me give a resounding


to all the first responders, the ER personnel, and everyone else who helped put the pieces back together again. You rock.


Anonymous said...

@gfriese tweet brought me here.

We do remember our patients. You'd be surprised.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment! It's nice to know; so many people roll through the ER in a day, it seems like they would all blur together after a while.