A number of months back I had a discussion about thanks or lack of thanks in EMS, after which I decided to keep a record of how many times I had a thank you said to me in a single day. My list only lasted a few days, but it was actually quite lengthy. It is not at all unusual to receive the following thanks routinely on a call: 1. Nurse at SNF or family at home on departure from scene. 2. Medical Staff (triage nurse, room nurse, MD) following verbal report. 3. Patient and or family on saying goodbye at the hospital We probably remember the rude episodes more than the daily gratefulness. Sometimes I think why are they thanking me. I’m just doing a job for which I get paid. I didn’t do anything beyond the job basics. But there are times I do go beyond the basics and I have to say, I feel appreciated for it, particuarly by the patients. The last week I have worked hard at being thorough and pleasant, everything from making certain the patient was well bundled up against the cold to explaining everything I was doing to the patient, as well as telling them to the best of my ability what they could expect at each stage of their trip. I wanted them to feel like they were in good hands, under the protection of an experienced guide. I have to tell you, I have been doing this a long time now (since 1989 as an EMT, 1993 as a medic, 1995 as a full-time medic). For all the good feelings I get from performing well on the big bad cal(when I do) – the cardiac arrest, the shooting, the ST elevation MI, the ongoing stroke, the status seizure — it doesn’t compare for me with how I feel when a patient looks at me when I say goodbye to them in their room or cubicle and they thank me for helping them understand what is happening to them and what they are going through, with being their pathfinder through the unknown. Sometimes I sit here and think I have nothing exciting to write about, but when I think about what I actually do sometimes it is all very exciting to me. I had a patient this week with a persistent cough for a month (I think he had a pneumonia brewing). He went to the doctor where he was discovered to be in a new onset a-fib so suddenly he goes from expecting a prescription for some strong cough medicine to being whisked away to the hospital in an ambulance for a “heart problem.” We talked all the way in. As we got to the hospital, he asked me how long I had been doing my job, and then said, I must really love it. I told him I did. I brought in two people this week who had unexplained syncope, an alcoholic with a new abdominal pain, a man who had severely burned his hand with cooking oil. They were all very nervous, and while I could not take away what had happened or was happening to them, I feel like I took away some of their anxiety, made them a little less afraid. I took good care of them. I wish I could make my love for the work and life of a paramedic come through on every call. I wish my heart would always be open and kind. It isn’t, of course. I have crabby days where I do little more than grunt as I assess my patients, ask only what I need to know, and then write my report while the patients sit there alone and afraid on the stretcher. I don’t deserve a thank you from them.