Friday, July 18, 2008

Humor, the great stress reliever

H/T to WhiteCoat for providing the muse for writing this post.

It is no secret that to work in EMS you’ve got to have a great sense of humor and a somewhat thick skin. In addition to the people that make our jobs worthwhile, we are often subjected to the worst that humanity has to offer- death, despair and stupid drivers who somehow manage to not see the flashing lights reflecting off of the street signs ahead of them but also fail to manage to hear the siren of the approaching ambulance despite being in a convertible with the top down. Perhaps my road rage will be the subject of a future post.

Anyone who is going to be in EMS for more than 10 minutes must learn to adapt and cope to almost any situation. It takes a lot to shake me, it really does and I tribute that to the fact that I have an excellent support system of coworkers, colleagues, family and friends. Just as every school room has its prankster and class clown, every ambulance base has at least three and I will admit to at times being one of those three. AD put up a list quite some time ago of EMS pranks and I must thank him for his inspiration and for perking up an otherwise dull day at work on occasion. At my current place of work we mess with each other and embarrass one another and it is all in good fun. I can honestly say that despite the nicknames, colorful language and occasional name calling that flies around the base that I have never been offended or insulted by these guys. They really are great and I will miss them terribly when I move back to Maine in a few short weeks.

Camaraderie with your coworkers makes it easier to survive the day and that camaraderie is often what leads to the jokes and pranks played on one another. We have frequent fliers who tend to use certain expressions all the time like “I have a fever, you need to take me downtown, cuz that’s where my fever doctor is” said in a gravelly, cranky, old lady voice. When you work in a region with specialists in every field imaginable it seems like the patients come up with any reason to see the specialist of their choice at any of the 26 hospitals that we routinely transport to. And, yes, there actually are 26 hospitals in the greater Pittsburgh region that we deliver patients to. Then there’s the phrase from a middle aged gentleman who sustained a head injury years ago and resides in a local nursing home, he will often say “You’re/He/She/That’s/They’re f*cking gaaaaay” so of course this phrase gets picked up by the EMS providers that transport him. My coworkers who used to say “That’s gay” all the time have curbed its usage since my arrival, but when I mention going out to a specific club or going on a date one will jokingly say “Dude, you’re f*ckin gaaaaay!” And I usually reply with “Thanks for pointing out what I’ve known for years, asshat.” Its just another typical day at the base that turns into a competition of farting & dick jokes, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now, despite then fun & games that go on around the base I do feel it necessary to add one little caveat to what I’ve written here. The joking can be misinterpreted and there are times when a joke gets taken to heart and someone is offended or hurt but may not say so and there’s a great article about this very subject over at

No comments: