instead of waking up at 5 am to get ready for my internship, i woke up at 5 am and took my boyfriend to the hospital. in the six years that we have dated, i have never seen him remotely close to this much pain. and since i easily convinced him to go to the hospital, i knew something was wrong.
when we arrived, we were the only patients in the emergency room. after being admitted, he was taken back to his room. unfortunately, some errors were made when making his wrist ban, so his name and date of birth were mixed up. we couldn’t begin receiving services until they were entered correctly. so we waited. three tries later, the doctor was able to see him.
now before i begin, i should mention that i have been to the hospital a few too many times. from broken bones to fractures, to heart palpitations and meningitis, i have encountered some truly amazing doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. but sadly, this did not start off to be one of those times. the doctor did not look him in the eye when he introduced himself, nor could he remember my boyfriend’s name. he asked him the same question three times (and for the record, no he does not smoke). he didn’t offer a blanket nor did he attempt to personalize experience. and initially, the nurse did not either. she sat quietly in the back and re-asked the same questions. to be fair, it was 5 am and it was right before a shift switch.
when the shift switch happened, so did the mood. we were introduced to a new doctor who came in, introduced herself, and shook her patient’s hand. she said that she wanted to make him feel better. dave, the paramedic came in after to do blood work. and he alone changed our entire experience. “i’m sorry you are here,” he said, “but while you are, let’s make it fun.” he proceeded to crack jokes until my boyfriend couldn’t help but smile. he adjusted the bed setting and offered him water. he asked if we wanted a blanket. he made us laugh. and more importantly, he treated us kindly. as soon as the nurse witnessed this, she followed suit. she was the same nurse as before.
i am not saying all of this to complain. i am saying this because a number of my friends and family are going to school to be nurses, doctors, EMT’s, firefighters, mental health professionals, and social workers. i am saying this because a lot of you will encounter people who need help (and as a side-note, no, you don’t have to be going to school for one of those things to help people). yes, the first doctor did his job. he may not be required to act kindly, and he could have just had the longest night in the world… i understand. but he didn’t really alleviate any pain, and that is because it seemed as though he didn’t care. and that made the difference. the end result was the same. but between dave the paramedic and the doctor, the way of getting there was completely different. in any given situation, i would pick the second doctor and the paramedic.
today was meaningful because i was reminded that how you treat people matters. a long day is going to be a long day. and if you are tired, you are tired. but if people are coming to you for help, why not help them in the best way that you can? why not treat them with compassion…the same way you would treat the ones you love. no one likes to feel as though they are a burden, especially when in a crisis. and besides, aren’t they coming to you so that they may feel better?
today was meaningful because i learned the power of remembering someone’s name. i personally witnessed how powerful a positive, kind, and giving attitude can be. and today was meaningful because i observed one paramedic with tattoos up and down his arm go out of his way to show my loved one that he cared. his only role in the situation was to draw blood, however, he ended up changing the pace of our entire day.
today, why not be a little kinder?