Being in EMS for so long, it's sometimes easy to become jaded and even cruel. I haven't meant to be, but it has happened. It is hard sometimes for providers to have true empathy for someone if they have never been similarly afflicted.
It is equally hard, or possibly more so, for a provider to play the role of patient. This I have lived. It's a bitch really.
You have to understand that it takes some real pain or true fear to get most paramedics to go to the ER for themselves. In my case, it was both.
I'm on duty the other day and after a particular hot, dirty, and very physical training episode we return to the station. Soon after returning I have a pain in my....my....well, my manly area. Kinda dull pain, not to bad, but there. After a while, the pain in my....area, is worse.
WTH? I go to the locker room to....check it and find that my...boys are swollen.
This is where the fear sets in. My boys!
Time passes, as both pain and fear increase. What could it be? I search my memory. My boys!
Finally, I just can't take it anymore, both the fear and the pain. Mainly the fear. They're my boys!
I tell the officer I gotta go to the ER.
As I walk past the ER entrance, I meet two of the nurses outside on a smoke break. I'm in uniform so they ask if I'm coming in. I ask how busy they are and who the Doc is. They notice my grimace and ask whats wrong.....I decide to give up my childish feelings. We're all medical professionals here. So I tell them using standard medical terminology "My balls hurt."
You know, I realize that I'm not really special. I know that being in EMS doesn't make me any more important than the regular drug seekers that come in. But would just a little bit of professional courtesy fucking kill you people? Professional courtesy my ass! Why would you do that to anybody?
I don't want to go to the front of the line. I know, understand and agree with how triage works. I never expected them to treat me like a king. But did they have to make me strip and put on that god-awful gown thing that won't close and examine my balls in the trauma room with the big glass windows directly across from the nurses station? Isn't there a little room off to the side with no windows we could do that in?
And I just want to forget about the ultrasound, thank you!
I'm reasonably certain this is penance for the way I treated somebody on the ambulance. Whoever it was, I am SOOOO sorry!
I'm a bit embarrassed to bring this up in polite company. But there is nothing like the experience in your own life to help you understand how your patients feel. So, from now on I shall examine no balls in public!
And for those that just can't stand not to know: Epididymitis, from physical stress thank you.
If you just got too: Wikipedia