Now, we've all had to ask unpleasant questions and we've had to ask to see unpleasant things in order to formulate a field impression of what is going on with a patient. When my EMT-B instructor told me that I would most likely one day ask to see the poo in someone's toilet or assess the odor of a patient's breath I scoffed. I have been a paramedic for several years and it turns out she was right- I have done both of these things.
Tonight, however, was another first for me. For tonight was the night that for the first time in my EMS career I have been presented with a sealable container of a patients vomit that they had saved from several hours ago just in case we wanted to see it and evaluate it. While I was writing down the patient's med list I picked up one bottle that initially appeared to just be of a different color to learn that no, this prescription bottle contained no pills, for it was the proud home of vomit, not even warm, fresh from the stomach vomit, no this container was cold to the touch as it had been there for several hours.
It made me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit, but I managed to suppress it. There were no empty prescription bottles for me to use.