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    Tuesday's Thoughts (Covid is not on the frontlines this week)

    Tuesday's Thoughts - Tim SabadosSometimes I feel the emergency department, and the ambulance for that matter, is a beacon of light. Imagine if you will, a lighthouse with its beam reaching out into the world and guiding the way for those in need. Now, put a big Family Feud X across that image and fill your ears with that annoying buzzer. What I’m talking about is the light to a zapper; the kind that attracts bugs, or in this case, the strange, out of the ordinary humans. If you’re an old school rap fan, then you’re familiar with Whodini’s song, “The Freaks Come Out At Night”.
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    Where else but the emergency room can you witness the aftermath of someone jamming pieces of a jalapeno pepper up their nose to try to relieve sinus pressure. Then there are places where an object should never go. Things such as flashlights, rubber balls, fluorescent bulbs or just use your imagination because it’s probably been done. What is it about men in their sixties or seventies who find this a good idea? On occasion you’ll come across someone who believes an alien, or possibly a ghost, is poisoning them and they want their stomach pumped immediately. Never mind that they haven’t ate or drank anything in nearly two days and, by the way, they stopped taking all their meds.
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    Let’s not forget about those who guzzle a variety alcohol infused beverages and then allow it to guide their actions. What normal person decides to strip off their clothes and go for a leisurely jog, try and leap over a bon fire, use a storm drain as a toilet (they weren’t peeing) or wear sunglasses in the middle of the night while they zip down a hill on their bike. Trust me that didn’t end well.
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    Of course there are those patients whose mere presence can send a chill up your spine. They’ll stare at you with cold, blank eyes and refuse to utter a single word. On the opposite end there are those who won’t stop talking and their conversation drifts to some very dark places.
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    However, most of my colleagues would agree, that the worst type is the loud, obnoxious ones. Sometimes they’re hopped up on drugs, alcohol or any combination of it. They scream, yell, demand, manipulate and often want to fight. It’s common that many in this profession, including myself, have been punched, kicked or slapped. Yet, this type of behavior isn’t limited to just the patient; family can have a part in it too.
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    It’s the boisterous and obnoxious that garnishes the most attention. They yell the loudest, show little to no gratitude and expect their every whim to be catered to. They cause the most trouble, the most stress, can easily put you in a bad mood and prevent you from giving your time to those who need it the most.
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    In emergency medicine we see a small slice of the overall health care pie. Even smaller still is the piece that represents the behaviors described above. Yet, this small piece somehow has the largest impact on our psyche and attitudes. In the larger world, just like in emergency medicine, those few who are loud, those who cling to self-importance somehow have the most noticeable influence. And in doing so it’s easy to believe that these traits represent the whole of humanity.
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    Even though it’s easy to be manipulated by the negative, I tend to believe that the majority of the public desires to do good; to treat each other with respect and kindness. How is it that the one bad apple rots the entire bushel? How is it that we allow an individual’s despicable act represent the actions of an entire group?
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    We often look for someone to provide the necessary words or appropriate guidance to unite us in times of crises. This is one aspect that defines a leader and effective leadership starts at the top. Regrettably, such leadership has been absent during these difficult times. This in turn has allowed the destructive rage to continue and regrettably too, those few who incite, has hurt the momentum for understanding and change. So instead of looking to those around us for direction, maybe it’s time to look at ourselves.
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    The most difficult journey we can take is the journey within. Unfortunately, the biggest barrier to undertaking it is desire. It’s not easy because it requires us to search out the things that make us who we are, why we believe what we believe, forces us to uncover the things that have influenced our lives and ultimately requires us to change. And we all know that change is difficult, but more often than not, is necessary.
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    The Internet and social media is a powerful tool and rather than unite, it has grown into an entity that frequently divides. There have been quotes, memes, posts and examples that continue to confuse and feed this separation. And no matter what I say, or how I write it, someone is bound to find something that bothers them. Yes, I will never have a complete understanding how various people live and the things they experience. But it doesn’t discount the fact that a lot of us listen, try to understand and act for positive change. Regardless of the fact, humanity is going to continue to move in a direction. Hopefully the majority can come together and guide it on a decisive path for the greater good of all.
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    I still believe that most of us want to be in this together, let’s not be too close together while we’re all in it.

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