Hands-on ultrasound is all about taking your time: time to develop your hands, but most important, time to develop your mind. Your mission is to find devastating disease that can change the quality of your patient’s life forever. Stakes are high and so it the tension, the peer-posturing, and the inevitable sense of self-doubt. Don’t ever let any of it diminish you.
The British Stroke Association just published what we’ve always known: Stoicism increases the morbidity of stroke. In particular, in this time of strained EMS and hospital resources, there is in the back of our minds the sense that “I don’t want to be an unnecessary burden to them.”
Well, in the back of your brain (perhaps next to that thought) there might be an even better, ischemic reason to dial 911 (999 in Britain) and get under all the Clinicians’ brilliance and authority immediately.
And consider also— regardless— carrying a packet of powdered aspirin with you in your wallet. If not for you, then for the one sitting next to you on the bus who’s having the same experience. Just one, under the tongue, STAT, while you’re waiting for help to arrive….
At this moment, what else do you have on your schedule to do?
And if it turns out there’s an intracranial bleed, your aspirin isn’t going to be the source of the problem, and you’ll hopefully have spurned them (or yourself) to get on the INSIDE of an ER immediately.
Some Good Advice: If you THINK you might be having a heart attack or stroke, then you’re just as guilty already, as the person who DID. Act on that thought and save your life… EMS is never too busy or burdened for You.