Some ambulance rides are longer than others. Admittedly I’m not the most entertaining attendant (I got my mother’s sense of humor unfortunately), but I’ve been told that I am “nice to talk to.” In between vital checks/treatment, I like to get to know my patients on a more personal level. I’ve also heard that the chance of getting sued has less to do with your medical expertise, and more to do with your bedside manner. Usually I forget my patients’ names after transferring care because a) I am terrible with names and b) I meet a lot of people. But I usually remember a detail or two that made them unique in some way. In this job you can’t help but gain an appreciation for humanity’s diverse tapestry.
These are some of the characters and their stories…
(Note: some details have been changed to protect patient identity)
Miniature donkey racer.
Yarn store owner forced to close because of Walmart.
Million dollar farm equipment auctioneer.
Had and raised 22 kids- with the same man.
One of the first female professional drag racers.
Only eats Mentos (has stomach ache).
Managed a Home Hardware for 40 years.
91 years old- first ride in an ambulance.
Daughter was an engineer for the Vancouver Olympics.
Moved to Canada from Scotland when he was 16- for love.
Saw his mother murdered as a child.
Lives with approximately 18 cats (denies animal hoarding).
Drove an ambulance when it was still a taxi.
59 year old with end stage multiple sclerosis- has no regrets.
Frustrated injured farmer- middle of bison calving season.
WW2 tank mechanic.
Nursing student likely suffering from medical student syndrome.
Victim of gay profiling.
Multiple personalities (one is evil).
Frequent flyer- 532 ambulance rides in one year.
Roller derby crash girl.
Calls an ambulance, sees an ambulance- runs away.
Broke hand sticking up for a girl (that he didn’t know) being assaulted.
Truck driver worked 20 hours- fell asleep at wheel on way home.
Skinny teenager on drugs- needs 5 cops to be restrained.
Has PhD in Social Work- is afraid to leave house.
Gets beat up by her daughter weekly- still lives on her couch.
Drinks Redbull- fakes seizure.
Illiterate- recites father’s poetry verbatim.
Caught girlfriend cheating- wrecks truck wearing only underwear.
Eats suicide wings- fakes seizure.
Pro-golfer, pinned between golf carts, breaks leg.
Plays knife game (five finger roulette) with wife- accidentally impales her.
Sings “You Are My Sunshine” to me- repeatedly.
Inmate breaks lunch tray over own head in anger- loses consciousness.
8 year old tells me I remind him of a pro-wrestler- asks me to marry him.
Has full body rash for three months before seeking medical attention.
Thief steals cookies from man’s basket in grocery line, man confronts thief, man is stabbed repeatedly.
Can’t remember name/date/event, but remembers punchline.
What characters have you met lately?