Resilience and Asshole EMTs

Written by PushingUpRoses on June 19th, 2012

When I was 15, I had a near death experience that entailed me passing out in my basement and getting carted to the ER. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the whole incident, being unconscious for the following day or so. I only remember feeling sick, hobbling up the stairs to grab my mom, then somehow hobbling back DOWN the stairs to the basement, where I proceeded to fall, thwack my head on a chair, and go completely unconscious. Story goes, my sister had to give me CPR to keep me breathing until the paramedics came. I remember waking up none too pleased at being in the hospital. As an angst driven teenager who thought ball chain’s were the best thing in fashion, I didn’t quite understand the severity of the situation. My family sat in chairs, watching me try to catch a nap in the uncomfortable bed cot with faces of pure devastation. I really just wanted out of the hospital so I could go back to business as usual.

That experience didn’t affect me as much as it should have. As a teenager, I developed an uncanny sense of apathy and had a very impressive talent for pushing emotions off to the side. I recovered physically, and proceeded to have a very chaotic, very troublesome life up until my early twenties.

At the time, college wasn’t a big concern for me. My teen angst kind of seeped into my early twenties, which made me, forgive my language, a complete and utter bitch.

Then, when I turned 22, I had become incredibly ill once again. On my Mom’s birthday, I was woken up by my own vomiting. My mind was fully awake, but at the time, I couldn’t move any part of my body, only my head. I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t move, but I could hear everything, and process what was going on. The only reason I didn’t die that morning is because my vomiting was loud enough to alert my mother. My mother was screaming in a panic when she found me, which makes me wish I was unconscious at the time so I couldn’t hear her. Even as I write this, I can feel tears in my eyes because I remember her fear and devastation, but I couldn’t do anything to answer her. It was messy. Messy is the perfect word for this situation. All I could do was sit there and listen to her wail into the phone and wait for the paramedics to come. I write this now, and the realization of how lucky I am is very intense. If my mom hadn’t heard me, and went to work instead of checking on me in my room, I would not be writing this blog. I can’t even fathom not being here, not having a life, and it’s amazingly lucky that it turned out for the better.

The paramedics came, and I remember this part so clear in my mind. The hoisted me into a cot, I guess. I couldn’t see what it was, so I assumed it had to be a stretcher. Some of the guys were swearing, as though they thought I wouldn’t make it to the ER. But here’s the thing I remember the most.

Paramedic: “So, how much do you think she weighs?”
Other paramedic: “Hrm, I’d guess 180 pounds.”

And my mind raged. I never wanted to respond to something so badly in my life. My brain is telling this guy, “You little FUCK.  I’m 150 pounds you piece of shit.  Do I look 180 pounds to YOU?   If I could swing my arms I would sock you in the mother-fucking face you asswad.”

God, what an asswad.

I don’t remember getting to the emergency room.  At some point, I had passed out.  I eventually woke up, exhausted, and still peeved at that one paramedic who thought I was 30 pounds heavier than I actually was.  Man, I’m STILL not over that.

Recovery took a long time, and there was a lot of frustration and hard times that lead up to now.  I got tattoos to mark the times I was going through (Much to the dismay of my rather conservative family) so I wouldn’t forget.  I got back to normal through school, and teaching, and drawing, and a very passionate interest in body modification.

The first experience left me with angst, but the second experience left me with a new outlook on just about everything.  I try to not take anything, or anybody, for granted.  I’ve become one of those people who won’t let people out of my life, unless they have wronged me in such an evil way, that I don’t have a choice.  (But you’d have to do something pretty dang stupid.  You know.  Like get my weight COMPLETELY WRONG.)  I’d rather build bridges than burn them.  I’d rather let arguments go, and understand where people are coming from.  I’ve been programmed to always talk to people and communicate clearly, even when sometimes, not everyone wants to hear what I have to say.   Recently, I’ve had some of the most fulfilling relationships and friendships I’ve ever had because I’ve learned how to talk to people, instead of bottling up my thoughts and tossing them to the side.  Instead of being angsty and cynical about life, like I was in my late teens, I learned to appreciate it, for both it’s hard times and good times.  Even when I feel sad or depressed about something that has happened, I always strive to get passed that, because there is always something in life worth doing.  Don’t sweat the petty things.

I think people are the most important thing we have in our lives.  Material things are fine and all, and I’d be lying if I said I could get along just fine without my computer, but the relationships we have with people have the most impact.   I guess it’s also safe to say that we wouldn’t have material possessions and the things we are lucky to have today without the brilliant minds of other people.

It’s not easy to share these particular types of stories, because they are painful to write and can sometimes be exhausting to take in.  However, I think sharing stories like these can help and inspire other people, so I encourage people to share them.  Life completely sucks sometimes, but there is always someone to empathize with, and with the miracles of the INTERNET, we can communicate with just about anyone we’d want to.  When I was 15, I never thought I’d have friends in different states, let alone different countries, that I can talk to for free on a near daily basis.  It’s incredible.

There isn’t a moral to this story, just a sentiment of be kind to others, and be kind to yourself.  Nobody likes a bitch, and nobody likes an asshole.  It’s cliche (REALLY CLICHE), but life really is too short.  So do everything you want to do, befriend everyone you want to befriend, and when you’re alone in your bed at 2am snacking on Honey Bunches of (Hall and) Oates, secretly plot to find that jerkwad paramedic who called you fat so you can find him and smack the shit out of him with a blunt instrument;  it’s the little things in life that count.


  • Guest

    not to be “that guy” but dont forget that all intravenous drugs and many other capsule drugs administered by paramedics the dosage is based upon body mass, and in such cases it is better to over estimate the weight than underestimate and possibly cause any sort of OD of the medication.

  • Emma Little

    180 pounds? Really? You look like you way about 100 pounds. I don’t know what that guy was on, but I do NOT want any. Anyways, great post Roses. Really profound. I’m glad you’re still with us today. :)

  • Maxwell LaChance

     Durr what.  Lower body weights tend to require LESS to do the same as larger folk.  By over estimating you can actually put someones life in danger. 

  • Felicia Ortmann

    Sounds really scary man. Did they figure out what caused the attacks?? BTW what a dick 30 pounds off. Men suck at guessing women’s weight I swear.

  • Felix

    Guess it is worth mentioning that if you were that sick, it’s quite possible swelling or other symptoms you didn’t notice because of how ill you were, might have thrown off their guesses. Really glad you pulled through, sounds like it was very dangerous.

  • Stuart

    180? Seriously? I would not even have guessed 150.

  • Russell Westen

    One thing I learned about women before I even turned 5… never guess a woman’s weight, and even if you’re in a position where you have to… use conservative estimates! That’s a very somber story there Roses. :(

  • Iori_sonsaku

    probably now somewhere in the world a paramedic is reading this as a cold drop of sweat curses through his forehead with the knowledge that from this days foward he would always be vigilant, turning arround to the slightest noice arround him, dreading the day she would come as the embodiment of the spirit of vengeance to get what is rightfull hers….. he just wept himself to sleep as he would do from this day foward XD

  • Matteo Bertoni

    The last paragraph had me in a mix of laugh and tears, it’s weird and hard to explain. A great reading tho, thanks for sharing!

  • bravetoaster

     This may not make it sound any better to you, but, at least for me (as a man), I intuitively think of body weight from my own perspective (i.e., for a 6-foot-tall, medium-build male). In which case, 180 is normal-ish, 160 is scrawny, and 150 would probably need medical intervention.

    It’s surprisingly hard–although this may just be for me–to guess a woman’s weight, especially if she’s a different height and build. I probably still cannot guess my wife’s weight with much accuracy, but, years back, would have hugely overestimated her weight (but she’s so petite/not overweight!) on account of just fundamentally not understanding how much someone much shorter and with a different body weighs.

  • Austin Covello

    Which makes the EMT even more of a dickwad.

  • Austin Covello

    Thank goodness I don’t know you well enough to try to guess your weight.

  • Anon

    That sucks. And yeah, I don’t wanna be ‘that guy’ either but you should take into consideration that not everyone is good at gauging weight, and that even if he did say you were 180 pounds it’s really not that much larger than the average weight of a woman for your age and an average height. You are kind of inadvertently telling everyone who weights 180 or more that they’re ‘fat’. You shouldn’t care this much and have such fervent responses to someone’s perception of your body weight, even if it is wrong.

  • pushinguproses

    I think you’re being fairly assuming. It IS my body, and of course I care about it. Telling people I’m saying 180 pounds is fat is a bit of an exxageration; I absolutely never said that, and it’s a bit overweight for me actually. I should be in the 140-155 realm, according to my doctor, whom I’m fairly certain you’ve never spoken to. Not only was I in a very sick haze when I heard those EMTs, which didn’t help my perception, but when you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, and someone tells you you look about 30 pounds over what you really are (even if it’s a mistake) it of course, would make someone upset, and trigger feelings. Did you take into account that my “fervent” responses were justified even just based on the fact that I was thinking unclearly due to illness? It’s obvious I was blowing things WAY out or proportion, and that’s why it’s written so angerly. Imagine if someone say this more casually and I had a clear head – do you think I would have blown it up? Of course not. I wrote that in to show people how irritated I was at the time. Honestly, even though I wrote this candidly, you can’t say with certainty how much I am supposed to weigh, or what’s healthy for me, or how I’m supposed to think or feel about myself. EVERYONE has things that trigger them, about their body, or otherwise, and at the time, that was mine, and it has nothing to do with other people, or what my healthy weight is. Please don’t tell me how I should think or feel, or make baseless assumptions about how much you think I should weigh.