A Letter to my patient

16 Sep

Dear Patient from the end of July,

I thought about you yesterday while I was out for a run with my dogs.  I thought about you because we actually don’t live that far away from one another.  I thought about you because the street to get to your address is the 2 mile marker for my run.

I thought about you and why you called 911.  I thought about how frustrated and embarrassed you must have been to call 911 because you couldn’t spend another minute with your family.  I thought about how unkempt you appeared – not because it was your fault – but rather because your family stopped caring for you.  I thought about the bedsores, the stench and the fact that you had soiled yourself – all because of your illness.  I thought about how you kept telling us, the EMTs and firefighters caring for you – how sorry you were. 

I thought about the light in your eyes when I looked at you and said that I know that this – this person that you appear – is not who you are.  I thought about how the tears welled up in your eyes when you nodded and told me how you felt like you were living in someone elses body.  MS is a wretched disease.  I recognized that.  I thought about how I hoped I showed my partner and our trainee that a little bit of compassion makes the entire trip to the hospital more tolerable.

I thought about how embarrassed I was because before I could talk to you, I caught my gag-relex working.  I thought about how I wished that I could be more immune to odors because I know that just because you smell a certain way, doesn’t mean that your value is somehow lessened.

I thought about how you and I both knew that this was a BS “emergency” call but that you had nowhere else to go.  How you begged me to tell the nurses that you needed to stay overnight. 

I thought about you yesterday…and the day before…and on every run that takes me past that street.  I really hope that you are doing better and are better cared for. You are a human, someone’s momma and you deserve to be treated with respect.  I hope that you found myself and my crew respectful and that you appreciated the gesture. 


 Ms. T

Your EMT


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