For those that are interested in my plans to rule the world – E-Health Insider has just published an article which contains an interview they had with me late last year. There may also be some interesting news in my next post… Stay tuned on how you can best serve your Future Benevolent Overlord. It seems that Urdu would be the language of choice for best being able to communicate with the people of Newham. Of course I may well give it up as a bad job – but I'm at least willing to give it a try.
Last night was a fairly easy shift – once more we didn't get to see the ambulance station, but then again this is getting to be the normal state of affairs. We didn't go to anyone who was particularly ill in a life-threatening way, and very few people tried to dive in front of the ambulance while we were speeding around on blue lights.
However we did quickly spot the trend of the night. It's often true that you will have runs of a particular type of job, you'll have lots of people complaining of chest pain, then you'll do nothing but children who have fallen over and so on and so forth.
Last night was the turn of the “Hot Asian”.
Yes…I know that sounds like one of the magazines you can get from the top shelf of your local newsagent.
I'm not sure if there is a specific infection doing the rounds at the moment, or if it is just because people's immune systems are lowered, or even if family visits have been spreading infection over the holiday period, but fully half of the calls we went to last night were for Asians with high temperatures.
All these patients had one thing in common, despite having ragingly high temperatures, they were all wrapped up in multiple layers of clothing, two quilts thrown on top of them and the central heating blasting out at maximum. The reason for this is quite simple – when you have a high temperature, your body gets confused and makes you feel cold, you may even start shivering. So the patient complains that he is feeling cold, and the family despite knowing that the patient is hot decide to try and cook them.
I often get looks of shock and horror when I tell them to remove the quilts, remove (most) of their clothing and throw open the windows. “But”, they say, “He says he is cold!”. Well, when your temperature is 39.8 Celsius (103.6F) you really should be cooling them down, rather than trying to roast them. It is the same with children, a child gets a temperature and feels unwell, mother decides to wrap them up nice and warm.
It is a happy side effect of travel in an ambulance that, if you open a window and drive fairly slowly to hospital, the patient will have had time to cool down and will be feeling a lot better by the time they reach hospital. I've lost count of the times I've told disbelieving people this, only to have them become firm converts to the “Keep 'em Cool” school of thought. Lets just call it health promotion by demonstration.
Oh – and all the patients and their families were really nice and pleasant, even the two teenagers who we picked up from a motel who had obviously had their night of nookie ruined by a temperature of 39.1 Celsius (102.3F).