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EMS worker making patients smile on Christmas

Updated: January 27, 2014 12:46PM



No one likes to be taken to the hospital, even in an ambulance and especially on Christmas. But when it happens, Steven Mustain at least tries to make them smile.

Mustain, an EMS worker for Highland-based Prompt Ambulance and one of the many people having to work Wednesday, and his partner had one transport so far on their 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. shift. It was a bedridden man who complained of pain in his neck, and his circumstances left him pretty morose.

So Mustain got him to smile a little bit, and as far as he’s concerned, that’s a great gift in and of itself.

“I have fun every day on my job, so while I can’t speak for everyone today, I’m having a good time,” Mustain said laughing during a break at Prompt’s Merrillville hub. “My supervisor seems to be having a good time, too, putting out food for us so we can celebrate.”

Workplace potlucks appeared to be a staple for those having to give up their holiday. Tina Wachel, a pharmacist with In-Touch Pharmaceuticals in Valparaiso, prepared a dish to bring in for her coworkers.

“There’s stellar company amongst the coworkers, so (working on Christmas) could be a lot worse,” Wachel, of Dyer, said.

It could also be busy for Wachel and her coworkers. In Touch provides medication for long-term care facilities, nursing homes and prisons, and she said people likely would be surprised to hear it wouldn’t be a quiet day for them.

“We’re a 24-hour service, and people sometimes do get admitted to a nursing home or long-term care facility on Christmas, strange as that sounds,” she said. “It could get kind of busy.”

Officers working the beat for the Griffith Police Department also brought food in for each other to get them through the holiday shift. Ofc. Paul Sines has worked most Christmases for the last 12 years.

“We pretty much know about a year in advance whether or not we’ll be working Christmas,” Sines, a 12-year veteran with Griffith, said. “I tried to (get it off), but no one would switch with me. I have had a couple off, though.”

The first half of Sines’ shift was quiet, not producing one call, he said. Not that that means it’ll be completely insane toward evening, but things have a tendency to pick up by then, he and Mustain agreed.

“After everyone has celebrated all day, the domestic disputes start,” he said. “But honestly, it’s always pretty quiet.”

And after what will hopefully remain a quiet shift, Sines will join his family at his folks’ house, as will Mustain at his family’s, where she, his brother and he will likely gab about their day.

“My mom and brother work at Community Hospital, and whether for money or their own reasons, they always tend to work on Christmas,” Mustain said. “And lot of people (at Prompt) didn’t want to work on Christmas, so I’ll come in and let them enjoy their time. I really don’t mind it.”



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