Take Care of Yourself


Sometimes being an EMT is frustrating. We take people to the hospital who, had they made a few different choices, would be OK. I’m not just talking about choosing not to take drugs or drink and drive, although I wish I could go back in time and beat different decisions out of those people. But there are people out there that don’t take basic care of themselves. Sure, maybe we all put off going to the doctor or dentist for longer than we should. That’s both a normal part of being an adult and having a busy schedule. But if something is actually wrong and you ignore it, well, you’re just asking for trouble.

When I was in the Navy, it was an oddly ideal situation. We got to treat people in the way that they needed to be treated, without having to worry about insurance approvals and all of that. As long as people got treated at a military treatment facility, we could do what was needed to get them healthy again. It’s a pretty good system if you get the right people to work it.

But for the rest of you, I know that medicines and doctor visits and tests and specialists and all of that can really add up. No doubt it is expensive and unfortunately not everyone can afford all that they need. But there are grants and supplemental insurances and payment plans. You should at least try to do all you can to get the care you need, whether it is difficult or not.

Look at it this way: if you need a certain medication to make sure that your blood pressure stays low enough for you not to die, you should try as hard as you can to get that medication and continue taking it on a regular basis. That’s expensive and I get it. But the heart attack you have when you don’t take the medication will make things worse. If the heart attack does not kill you, you’re faced with a whole host of other problems. Aside from the health concerns after having the heart attack, you’ll have more financial difficulties. The ambulance ride, the specialists, the possible surgery. All of that stuff is way more expensive in the hospital. Comparatively, monthly maintenance medications don’t seem so expensive now do they?

I know, I know, it’s all wishful thinking. It is stupid that people who need treatment can’t always get treatment when they need it, or they have to get prior medical approval, or it costs thousands of dollars. The people around here have a tough time in a lot of ways, and that can make it difficult. In general, it isn’t a healthy area, jobs don’t pay enough, and healthcare is stupidly expensive. I get that there isn’t much I can do about that, either.

Just please. Do what you can to take care of yourself. I would much rather meet you at a bar over a few beers than while you are face down in your kitchen when you keel over from that heart attack.