The second job of my shift had me racing through the night towards a '19 month old – child not breathing'.
Now, normally, this doesn't bother me, I get there, I do what needs doing, and then everything goes back to normal.
But tonight, for some reason I was shaking like a leaf, my pulse was pounding in my ears, and there was a sick feeling in my stomach.
“The first pulse you take is your own”*, a mantra that I've often found useful should I ever find myself distressed or anxious at a job. But for some reason it wasn't helping.
I reached the house and could hear the family crying and shouting inside.
“Fuck”, I thought. Actually I may have said it. My hands continued to shake, and I started feeling sick and light-headed.
The door was flung open, and I found myself staring into the face of a crying woman. Pushing past her, I could see the child laying motionless on the floor. The child was of African descent, and this causes me a bit of a problem, in that Caucasian children when dead, look dead while it's a lot harder to tell if African children are recently dead because they just go a bit grey.
“Fuck”, I thought again.
I got closer, hoping to see him breath.
The the child moved. And more importantly he breathed.
“Thank fuck”, I thought.
So all was good. The child had suffered from a febrile fit, he'd had one previously, and would soon come round. Even so I was still really happy to see the ambulance crew turn up seconds after I reached the patient.
Sitting in the car doing my paperwork I was still shaking and my pulse was still racing. Why had this job shook me up so much?
Was it because it was my second job after having a week off, and so wasn't up to speed yet?
Actually, I think that it's because I've got a bit of an infection at the moment, and the changing seasons have probably depleted the happy juice from my brain. I'll probably get worse over the course of these next four nights… So I'll apologise in advance.
Oh and the local mosquitos have been using my face as a buffet bar.
* – It's a quote from the excellent “House of God” by Samuel Shem. If you read this blog, you should read this book. Sorry for the whining.