I’ve been in the army for nearly 8 months now. The last two have had me training to be a paramedic. Not a fainthearted dirtbag anymore, but a soon to be savior of lives. I would say that previously I was a little bit afraid of blood and definitely would have frozen in case of an emergency accident. But this medical course has served its purpose and now I have the necessary reflexes, the knowhow and basic skills and to be useful to people in need of help. As a part of my training I get to work as an apprentice paramedic in the ambulance, which is awesome. This kind of work drains slightly from your pool of emotional empathy, but really makes you appreciate human life.
Contradictory to popular belief, I’d say 90% of the calls are actually unnecessary. Most of the calls are made by people who just fear for their lives too much or have nothing else to do than detect symptoms of diseases. They’re making up problems or thinking their condition is worse than it really is. And a lot of it is caused by minuscule knowledge of their physical condition and health in general. A frequently occurring mindset is: „I am sick. There is definitely something wrong with me. If the doctor says I’m well, then I don’t believe him. I have earned the right for a treatment and someone needs to take care of me this instant.“
It’s good to live in a welfare bubble, but what if it burst? Should you be ready? At a certain age you start to face your mortality, and it can be frightening. But it should not paralyze you or make you paranoid. If you feel there is something wrong with you, but you are aware what’s going on around you, then firstly go see a general practitioner yourself. Force yourself to take the reins. All injuries and illnesses are not lethal and there is a lot you can do yourself to get back to a better state of wellbeing.
The emotional stress both from those avoidable calls and from calls with critical nature give way for the compassion fatigue to happen. On one hand, the calls for serious injuries(car accidents, heart attack etc.) are so intense that they are mentally tiresome. On the other hand, a throng of people complaining about their high blood pressure can be very wearisome, because realistically they are calling ambulance for no good reason. Many find it surprising to hear that their vitals are considered fine and that they are perfectly healthy. They just need some recurring comforting and insurance. This kind of thinking is ultimately a self-fulfilling prophecy that wastes the ambulances energy. Could less stress from patients who take things to their own hands instead of calling the ambulance can have a positive effect on the chance of successful(on time) treatment of critical patients?
Life can be lived by being sure you have taken care of yourself well or by being reliant on a diagnosis. Are you well because the doctor says so or are you well because you feel so? Of course there are examples like the risk of cancer. Women over 30 should regularly go check themselves, but the statistics need only to draw your attention, not worry you. Knowing yourself and your body keeps you from being a victim because someone says you are.
The more you stay in touch with your health the better. Care, but do not worry. And follow through. Saving others’ lives may be important, but it all starts from people making steps to save their own.