Friday, August 10, 2007

A Good Decision

Once upon a time I worked as medic on the ambulance and, late in the shift, got a low priority call for a mid-30's man who told 911 that he had abdominal pain and wanted an ambulance with no lights or siren. We meandered over there to check him out. Forty-five minutes later he was in the ER being evaluated for obvious heart issues.

At his home the man told me that his pain had subsided somewhat after he called the ambulance, and that he might not have called for help had he waited a bit longer. This is called "denial" - we know there's a problem but we are afraid to have it confirmed, so we downplay it. It's usually a bad decision.

This post is written to encourage you to deny "denial". If you ever get an unusual pain in your head, chest, back,or abdomen, and it surprises you because you've never experienced anything like it before, call 911 right away. It's a good decision.

Caveat: I'm not a doctor...just a lowly EMT. But I've had plenty of experience seeing how many "denials" were, unfortunately, life-changing. You're probably not a doc, either. So, if you hurt, let a doc make the decision about whether it's something to worry about or not. Thanks for listening!

1 comment:

ThomasLB said...

I read an article once that said Tums was a mortician's best friend. An insane number of heart attack victims convince themselves it's just a tummy ache, and take antacids shortly before dying.