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Top 10 vaguely creepy ways to show your EMS partner you care

On Valentine's Day, show 'em that you care. Really.

It’s Valentine’s Day, that one day a year where we commemorate the murder of several early Christian saints by showing our devotion to the martyrs in our own lives. Every year on this day, men and women celebrate the bonds that unite them, scrambling to find meaningful ways to show their partners they care, while the CEO’s of FTD florists, Godiva chocolates and Hallmark cards join hands around the cash register and give solemn thanks for what love has brought to their lives.

And for many of us action-oriented, Type A personalities, it’s hard to show our vulnerable side, to give voice to our emotions, and to let the people we cherish know how much we care. We hope they know, but sometimes it bears saying, because relationships wither and die if not watered occasionally by words and acts of devotion.

So, on this day, take a moment to let the person beside you know that you value and cherish them, especially if they’re good about cleaning the rig behind you and fronting you cash for a meal when you’re broke.

What, you thought I was talking about wives and sweethearts? Heck no, I’m talking about your ambulance partner. If your romantic relationship is in trouble, you need Dr. Phil, not the advice of some divorced medic on the Internet.

So without further ado, I give you the Top Ten Ways to Show Your Partner You Care:

Buy them chocolates. Because really, do you want to be in an enclosed ambulance cab with them while they’re snacking on Slim Jims and Vienna sausages at 3:00 am?

Engage in meaningful conversation. I don’t mean the ordinary, mundane, where you wanna eat, complete-each-other’s-sentences conversation that goes on every shift. Partners need to know that we respect and value their opinions; that we are listening to what they have to say. So when she’s telling you about her kids or her boyfriend or a rival coworker or who should win American Idol, grunt occasionally, and throw in a generic reply every now and then to let her know you’re still awake:

"Kids need a firm hand to go along with a nurturing heart. Good for them that you’re both."

"He doesn’t deserve you. You could do so much better."

"She’s just jealous of you because she knows you’re twice the medic she is."

"If I hear Randy Jackson say ‘Yo Dawg’ one more time, I’m gonna vomit. And what does ‘pitchy’ mean anyway?"

Remember, sincerity is the key. Once you can fake that, everything else is easy.

Be supportive. Partners need to know that you’re there for them, that you have their back. Even the slightest touch can be reassuring on those tough days. It lets your partner know "I’m here with you. You’re not alone." So while he’s helping to muscle the unconscious 400-pounder down a darkened stairwell in a Stokes basket, stand behind him and hang onto his belt to keep him from stumbling. It only takes one hand, after all, and you’re only carrying a clipboard. Think of it as the Wedgie of Love.

Show random acts of kindness. Next time you’re at the ED, bring them a cup of coffee without being asked… especially when you’re unsure how old it is, and need an unsuspecting guinea pig before pouring yourself a cup.

Be spontaneous. All the relationship experts say that spontaneity adds spice to a relationship. So, surprise your partner by switching up your routine. For example, you always take the foot end of the stretcher, he takes the head. Every now and then, offer to take the heavy end. Like when the patient is really tall, and has very smelly feet.

Pay them little compliments. Everyone likes praise, and partners are no different. So, compliment the things they do well, and let them know you appreciate it. "Dude, you were doing such a great job on chest compressions, I was in total awe. I could watch you do CPR for hours." 

Fix them breakfast in bed. Get up early, and knock out all the station duties before they have a chance to wake up. Then, whip up a breakfast of orange juice, coffee, sausage and scrambled eggs. At least, it looked like sausage and scrambled eggs.  It may have been petrified Salisbury steak and banana custard. Leftover fridge food can be so hard to identify sometimes, and you were going to have to throw it out anyway. Besides, he has the digestive system of a billy goat, and it’s the thought that counts!

 Treat them to a manicure or pedicure. Next time they’re sleeping on the station couch, paint their fingernails and toenails, preferably in a color that complements their eyes or uniform shirt. It tells your partner you care about their appearance, and want the public to see them in the best possible light.

Take an unplanned road trip. Freedom is a full tank of gas and an open road stretching out to the horizon in front of you, and few things are as special as sharing that experience with your partner. So, call dispatch and volunteer for that long-distance vent transfer with five IV infusions and an arterial line they’ve got holding. Especially if it’s your turn to drive.

Romantic dinners. Nothing rekindles the magic in a relationship like a secluded, romantic dinner. Don’t let the fact that you’re parked under an overpass in Crack Central deter you. A couple of burger combos, crack a few light sticks for ambiance, perhaps a wandering homeless person or two playing harmonica, and the sound of sirens in the distance, and you can almost pretend you’re at a sidewalk café in Paris.


If you follow these simple relationship tips with your ambulance partner, I can virtually assure you that it will make your days off with your spouses and sweethearts that much sweeter.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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