I’ve found that usually most patients, especially older ones, are pleased to see a small, reassuring smile on the faces of their responding crews. I’m not laughing at anyone, and I don’t think anything’s funny. (OK, you got me – a lot of stuff we see is funny.) Just a little something more than our usual calm, professional, robotic stoicism. (Did I beat that deep enough into the ground?) Just a bit of warmth, kindness, compassion and human emotion injected into an otherwise bad day.

Except for the occasional jerk, like the 20-year-old admitted alcoholic with ulcers. I understand it’s a matter of perception, such as her perception that my faint smile was akin to me wanting to take her first-born for some ritual sacrifice.

“What’s so funny? Why are you smiling?”

“Fine. I’ll be outside. So’s the gurney.”

It’s pretty ironic too. I’m much nicer than most crews who would have shown up otherwise, especially to someone rude like her with some lame complaint like hers.

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