Sad Stories That Stay With You.

Some jobs will just make you sad, and it's those that you'll find yourself carrying around with you for a time. It isn't always the death and horror that affects you – and you can be surprised by the things that haunt you.
We got a call to a block of flats, it was given as a 69 year old female who is unresponsive and who has a history of schizophrenia. Her condition could be caused by any number of things, so you carry all the equipment up the flats and you never know what you are going to encounter.

We were met by the woman's husband who led us through to the bedroom where our patient lay. She was on the bed and was not talking to anyone – with one hand she was 'fidgeting' and plucking at her clothes. This was normal for her, and could be due to the anti-psychotics which she uses to treat her schizophrenia. Looking at her prescription sheet we found out that she is also a diet controlled diabetic, but her blood sugar test showed a normal amount of sugar in the blood. The patient was unable to talk, and looked very scared. Was this episode related to her schizophrenia?

Our physical exam however, showed a complete loss of function and muscle tone down the right side of her body; this led us to think that she had had a CVA, or stroke, and that this had affected her speech and muscle function. We rapidly removed her to hospital, and to be honest, the job itself went like clockwork.

The thing that stays with you though, is her husband telling you that they have been married for fifty years, and for the last twenty of them he has stuck by her while she was suffering first from manic depression and then schizophrenia. To have stayed by her side while she was under the shadow of these illnesses shows true love. Every so often, during the transport to hospital, her husband had to wipe a tear from his eye, he was sitting holding his wifes hand – trying to provide some comfort to her, and to try and ease the scared expression on her face.

Now, if she survives the stroke, she will probably be permanently disabled, and will require quite intensive care for the rest of her life.

I think her husband will continue to stand by her.

In unrelated news…I was so tired driving home this morning that I took the wrong turning to go home and went down the wrong street. Aren't you glad I'm looking after the health and well being of people?

13 thoughts on “Sad Stories That Stay With You.”

  1. Please let us know what happens and if she does survive the stroke. It would be even worse for the husband if she didn't.

  2. When my Mum got taken into hospital just before she died from breast cancer, the ambulance staff who turned up were lovely and very caring. When we arrived at the hospital, I could see the lady had tears in her eyes at the thought of how ill my mother was at only 52. It was very sad, and I wish I'd been able to thank them for taking good care of her in her last hours.

  3. I read your blog every day and it has made me realise quite a few important things:1: There is more to life than sitting in an office, selling stuff to people.

    2: Helping others is something that can make life worth living

    3: I have things very, very easy.

    Thank you for the glipse of your life that you give us.

  4. I'm not cycling to work on these nights because – when I get home a 8am I just want to sleep, but cycling wakes me up, so I'd spend an hour or so staring at the ceiling desperately trying to sleep. As I need as much sleep as possible on nights (because of the rotating shift), I thought driving home and then crashing into bed would be a good idea.Don't worry, next week I have seven 16:00-01:00 shifts, and I'll be cycling to and fro them.

  5. damn you reynold's, you're making me miss working and I only stopped two days ago. know what is really rare about reynold's, amongst all the healthcare professionals out there… doctors, nurses and parameds alike?

    he has compassion.

    another thing I always liked about the NHS : ambulance sheets. 90% of the time the hx and exam are so well laid out they scream diagnosis immediately (think the guys write them that way on purpose). 10% of the time… certain crews get it all wrong, but that's okay. i know what its like being in an ambulance, also i was an army paramed once. no blasted time to do anything except evac the casualty.


    hey tom, if you'd like to meet up, i'm game. one of my dentist friends wants to meet as well. she's a dentist and slightly insane to boot. so bring sedatives please.


  6. By your appreciative comment, in effect you are expressing your thanks in this different form for the good care your Mum received.david.

  7. I reckon you did everything it sounded like you followed procedure perfectly. Id like to think at that age I know my other half would go leaving me, or vice versa. One of us gets the pain. Maybe its just me but I swear a lot of people think about things like that in passing. Id rather get the pain, my partner would leave happy.–Nafai

  8. Exactly, speaking personally I don't do the work for written letters of thanks (good job too, I've never got one, but I've also never gotten a letter of complaint). Just a simple 'Thank You' are the hospital end can make our day – if only because a lot of people never say it…

  9. 'Compassion', dunno about that…The secret behind our documentation is quite simple – Our bosses look at 1 in 20 of our report forms, coupled with the desire not to get sued, we tend to document well. I've been involved in a couple of scenarios where documentation have saved peoples respective careers.

    Drop us a line, I'd love to have a drink with you – although I think you might have more luck getting sedatives than I – remember, we only ever use homepathic levels of medicine…

  10. Yep, the job itself (treatment, removal, transport) all went nice and smooth. There is very little you can do for someone who has had a CVA, they don't really do much in hospital until it is time for the various rehabilitation therapies.

  11. Well said.Tom, at the risk of sounding slightly wierd, you are 'A Prince among men'. As long as there are people around as compassionate as you, it makes me feel better about the world.


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