“Your Face Will Freeze Like That!”

It’s funny how days have themes. Usually, a series of awful things happen to us during the day and they just seem to consistently work against us. On blessed occasion it’s a stunning, temperate day with perfect clouds and not a care in the world. It seems like you could drive forever and nothing could take your bliss away. Today, is something different. Today, there is an undercurrent surging … a “vibe” if you will.
“Granny” of Warner Brother’s Fame
I woke up to a message from my partner asking me to come in early for my shift because someone was sick. Yes, I already sense your collective heads nodding, “Oh yeah, I’ve had those days.” Believe me, I know no good deed goes unpunished and when you do something nice, you will usually get something you wanted no part in. Despite this knowledge, I happily agreed! I then had a stimulating, intellectual conversation with a good friend. All before coffee! I got to work and shortly after I was dispatched on a job to the nicest little old lady (very similar to “Granny” who owned Tweety Bird). She even called us before she was very sick! You know, the same day the symptoms started, not a week later. We took care of her, I got back to my primary and “Murphy” allowed me to wait in the seriously long Starbucks line AND get my coffee at the end. It was while I was waiting that I noticed the surreptitious undercurrent of joy I had been floating in all morning.
Some days it’s necessary.
Let me interject dear reader, your mother was not lying, your face WILL freeze like that. I found the woman who did not listen to her mother’s warning at the Starbucks counter. She was impatiently awaiting her latte. Bundled like the rest of us in an oversized, black, wool coat with an equally oversized hat atop her head, her eyes squinted and peered out from behind retro, cat lady eyeglasses just above her mouth which was drawn together in an aggressive, tight line. This lady was angry.
Disclaimer: Not Actual Angry Starbucks Lady
She really disturbed me. I could not help but stare at this woman. If this was Star Wars she would have altered my force. That is how angry she was.  It occurred to me that sometimes in EMS we act this way. It occurred to me that in many areas this is acceptable and even venerated. It occurred to me that some days at work I wear that same face.
Things happen in our job, terrible things. Patients or their family members project their fear of the unknown via angry or violent voices. We work hundreds of hours and ends still don’t meet while our loved ones rail in our ear about never being there. Not every moment will be a cacophony of angels trumpeting of our ecstasy. However, not every moment is agony and angst. How many situations could we prevent if we were pleasant from the beginning? How many angry letters to your Chief or supervisor and visits to their office could be avoided with a smile and friendly voice? How much could our patient’s outcome improve without the added stress of our grumpy attitude? How much could our lives improve without the stress of our grumpy attitude?
Just some food for thought. Not everything is that simple, but if the above sounds like you perhaps listen to this song before your shift…

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