Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they dial 911. You would think that number is normally reserved for true emergencies like cardiac arrest, shortness of breath, uncontrolled bleeding or a dangerous fall, not for something as benign as knee pain, a toothache or a headache. When I lived in the rural area, almost all of our ambulance calls were for true emergencies. People only called if they really needed us, and sometimes they didn't call when they should have. There's something about living in the country that toughens folks, I think.
Being a city paramedic has taken some getting used to. First, I appreciate the way most drivers yield the right of way to our emergency vehicle. I do wonder about pedestrians though. When we arrive at a red- lighted intersection with our lights and sirens activated, the last thing we want to happen is to create an intersection accident. So we come to a brief stop, and proceed with caution. Drivers who have the green light have time to see us and yield that way. Some pedestrians however, appear to think we have stopped to allow them to dash out in front of us. It takes an astute driver to keep them from bouncing off the front bumper!
Another thing I notice is the high volume of calls we get for minor medical complaints that would normally be seen in a clinic during a routine doctor's appointment. You know that knee pain that you've had for four days running? Did you really need an ambulance at three in the morning when you have a doctor appointment tomorrow? What about that toothache that is keeping you and the rest of your household in a state? Could one of your family members drive you to the hospital for pain control? Or have you thought about calling for an emergency dental appointment? Now don't get me wrong - I don't mind going to your home and putting a bandage on your child's boo-boo, or telling a new mom how to bring a fever down. I'd just rather be out there saving lives.