To the EMT Who Wiped Away My Tears on the Way to the Hospital
Last Saturday was the first time I had ever called an ambulance for myself. I was at Best Buy to talk to the Geek Squad about my computer issues when my symptoms flared up — with absolutely no warning.
First came the intense stomach pains, followed by nausea, hot flashes and severe pain in my hands and feet. I practically chucked my computer over the counter at the Geek Squad attendant and headed for the restroom.
Due to the severity and sudden onset of my symptoms, I began to have a panic attack after emptying the contents of my stomach. Although panic attacks are a regular occurrence for me, this panic attack was more vicious in comparison. Unable to stand any longer, I sat on the bathroom floor and began to cry. My heart pounded, my head was spinning and my breathing became shallow. Intense fear came over my whole body, and I felt like I was dying. The pain and heat in my hands and feet were so intense that I took my shoes off in the middle of my panic attack and started rubbing my feet on the floor, trying to cool them off.
I didn’t have any water with me or the strength to stand up to the sink, so I couldn’t take the anxiety medication I always keep in my purse. No one else was in the Best Buy restroom, and I began to feel helpless. The panic attack intensified, and I started blacking out on the cold tile. At this point, I knew I needed help in a big way. It took a bit to muster up the courage, but I called 911 and asked them to come rescue me off the bathroom floor.
To my utmost gratitude, I had an amazing team of EMT’s that picked me up very soon after the call. They were gentle, empathetic and very thorough. On the way to the hospital, through many tears, I told the EMT monitoring my vital signs just how hard it is to live with chronic pain, autoimmune disease and panic attacks. This good man listened without judgment, validated my concerns and even wiped away my tears with a tissue from his pocket.
I shyly confided to him that in all my years of chronic illness issues, I have never called an ambulance for myself. The EMT assured me the hospital is just where I needed to be and said he was glad I made the call.
Saturday was certainly a traumatic day, one that I hope to never experience again. However, the kindness of the EMT made such a difference to me. I don’t even know his name, but I will never forget his compassionate nature and gentility.
Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images