I know

She insisted on walking to the ambulance. Once inside we began treatment.


“Besides the allergic reaction do you have any other medical problems?”
The question is part of our patient assessment, one we ask every patient under our care. Beatrice, a forty-four year old woman suffering from a possible allergic reaction to hair detangler lay on my stretcher, oxygen mask covering her swollen but pretty face and answered quietly.
“I have an under active thyroid, Acid reflux, and…Multiple Myeloma.”
I stopped writing and took a closer look. Of course, I thought. Her close cropped hair was in stark contrast to the images displayed in the family portraits that decorated her living room. The swelling in her face wasn’t a result of the allergic reaction, rather a prolonged battle with cancer. I’ve seen the look before, close to home.
“You mentioned the Multiple Myeloma last,” I said to her.
“I know.”
Ninety-nine out of a hundred people would have told me about the cancer before I had two feet in their door. It is all consuming, a diagnosis as frightening as that, tough to get out of your mind.
“You are going to survive,” I said, not really sure why I said it.
“I know.”


I never fail to be inspired and amazed by the strength shown to me on a daily basis. The treatment was effective, I felt much better the second I met her.




  • I am a Paramedic and my wife is from Burrillville RI, and we live outside of Charlottesville, VA. I really enjoy reading your column and I am glad that someone is actually posting the stories, both good and bad about our profession.
    Next time I am in RI I would love to come by and say hello.
    Happy Holidays,
    Brian McPherson

    • Michael Morse says:

      Thanks Brian, your comment came at the perfect time, I’m in a bit a a creative slump, was wondering if anybody was getting anything from these posts, I guess they are! Thank you for reading.

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