“I am genuinely appreciative when somebody recognizes us for the job we have and takes just a second to say a quick little cliché to remind us that we aren’t invisible. But there is a dark side occasionally that presents.
‘What is the worst thing you have ever seen?’
I don’t care if it’s your first day or you’re reading this after retirement, you know what the worst call of your career was. You flash to that scene when you encounter a certain smell. You have the same day every year that is an anniversary you’d rather do without. You pass that intersection, house, nursing home, bridge, landmark, whatever the setting was; and you remember every detail of that moment. You remember how you felt. You remember how bad you were tested. You remember who your first phone call was to and probably the entire transcript of that conversation.
So no, I don’t answer this inquiry from the public. I like to respond ‘my paycheck’ and then turn and walk away. I don’t understand why people don’t think about the impact of a question like that. To me, it’s the equivalent of asking a military veteran if he ever killed anybody. In both cases, we’re not proud of those moments. My advice to anybody in EMS who has that bad call that will stick with them for the rest of their life is to come up with a quick remark as an abrupt end to a conversation that never should have started.” –Christopher Turnbull, The Double-Edged Sword (book available on Amazon and Google Books)
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