If you are looking to get someone in EMS a great Christmas present, here is the book for them or for yourself:
Thom Dick is the author of Street Talk, a book of essays that came out about the time I was in EMT school in 1989. It was extremely influential in instructing me in what it meant to be a caregiver. It encouraged me to see the patient as a person, to respect the people I work with, to take the time to be kind, and other important lessons that helped me become a better EMT.
A few years later I heard him speak at an EMS convention and he was fantastic. He got you fired up to go out there and hold old ladies’ hands. He made you feel like the work you did, even the mundane parts, was special. I read his book often over the years and it always charged me up. Now I don’t pretend to have always lived up to his standards. I know I haven’t. But I do try.
His new book seems to be a expansion/complilation of his prior book and the talks he gives all over the country. It is enhanced by cartoons by Steve Berry, who does the I am Not an Ambulance Driver cartoon series.
“When you kneel in front of somebody’s granpa who’s sitting on his couch and denying his chest pain, you need to recognize the pain he says isn’t there, detect the shortness of breath he hasn’t mentioned and sense the fear that’s absolutely dominating his conciousness. You need to appreciate the fact that his spouse, seated right there next to him, is scared to death she’s never going to sleep with him again. And somehow, you need to make everything better in just a few minutes.
These are the dynamics of even the simplest emergency response. They presuppose the presence of gifts in us that not even the greatest teacher can impart — gifts that unfortunately, come without instructions.
This book is an examination of those gifts and a collection of the instructions that didn’t come with them. It’s based on the collective experience and wisdom of dozens of professional paramedics and EMTs worlwide who learned to love the lifelong pursuit of helping others.
We hope it helps you to join their number.”
– from back cover of book
“People don’t remember much about our medicine. But they do remember how we make them feel.”
“It’s not enough to be the most competent EMT you can be. You need to be nice. And it’s not enough to be nice. You need to be competent and nice.”