I figured out how to handle my issues with Firefighters.
It came to me when we were called to assist a BLS Fire Department ambulance. The patient was an elderly man with a fever, who had been in rehab for an infection. He was absolutely stable, but needed a ride to the ER for some blood work and maybe a new antibiotic.
As the obvious rookie Firefighter-EMT gave me a hurried and breathless report on the patient’s condition, I noticed something in his expression.
Eyes wide, leaning forward, muscles tensed, mouth slightly open.
The expression that anyone who has ever played with a lab knows. Behind those eyes, the racing thought was Throwtheballthrowtheballthrowtheball.
Firefighter; "Yeah, he ‘s complaining of chills and shakes.” Throwtheballthrowtheball
Paracynic: “Ok. Is he oriented?’
FF (blinks): "Ummm...yeah. History of diabetes." Throwtheballthrowtheballthrowtheball
PC : "But he’s oriented?"
FF: "Uh-huh." Throwtheballthrowtheballthrowtheball
PC: "You check his vitals?"
FF: *pause* "Yeah. Pulse is 92 and bounding." (only Firefighters use “thready” or “bounding” like this) "I couldn’t hear his systolic BP, but his diastolic is 52." BALLBALLBALL!
PC: "Ok. You could palpate a pulse, so his systolic is decent, and his diastolic is decent and he’s oriented. He’s already being treated for infection. It sounds like he just needs a ride to the ER. You comfortable taking him?"
FF; *silence* OMGBALL!!!!!!!!!!!
PC: "...Y’know what? Why don’t I start an IV line and ride this in with you?"
FF: *nodding hyperactively* WOOT! BALLBALLBALL!
Now that I’ve reframed the way I look at it, I’m ok. It’s really quite liberating.