Job Done

It's the busiest night of the year for us, as evryone goes out and gets drunk at their work Christmas party. I don't know what's going on at the moment, but it's barely 21:00 and already we are at 3,500+ calls.
We normally do 3,500 calls in a day, so how many more will we squeeze in over the next three hours?

My first job was to and alcoholic having had a fit. A common symptom of being an alcoholic is having fits, I'd say that of the two types of fits that we go to, I tend to see more alcoholic fits, that epileptic fits. I don't have any numbers to prove it, but it just seems right in my experience.

This job was typical. I had to step over the detritus on the carpet, the packets of tobacco, the trainers, the half eaten takeaway container. I saw my patient sitting on a chair, being sick. He was vomiting directly onto the living room floor, his wife didn't see fit to put a bucket under the stream of vomit.


Like a lot of our regular alcoholic customers, he was topless, while his tracksuit bottoms were stained with…well I wouldn't like to guess, but they were stained with something. Homemade tattoos covered his chest, arms and hands, and inbetween bouts of vomiting he would continue making a roll-up cigarette.

“Can I turn the living room light on?”, I asked the wife.

“Don't work”, she said back to me in a voice that I guessed had been arguing with her husband just before I'd arrived.

I guessed this because she then started arguing with him again.

While the living room had a nice stereo, a reasonable televison (satellite included) and a gaming console, they didn't have a lightbulb.

He didn't want to go to hospital, but I always think of the potential headlines in the paper the next day “Ambulance leave patient to die”, so the crew and I persuaded him to go to hospital for a 'check up'.

You know why? No one ever lost their job by taking a patient to hospital.

“I don't want to waste their time”, he mumbled, “I'm just an alcoholic”.

“It's alright mate”, I'd reply, “We look after everyone, even alcoholics”.

10 thoughts on “Job Done”

  1. Hope you have not too bad a time of it over the “Festive Season”.Its hard trying to find a balance in NICU with all the tinsel and jolly Santa stuff, we always seem to have a busy/hellish time of it, babies born early cos Mum had too much stress or worst case scenario, Mum got pissed and had a stand up fight with the neighbours.


  2. Hey, at least he was honest, about being just an alcoholic…Good luck with the next few weeks, I have a suspicion that they're the most gruesome of the year…

  3. You've probably already written about this before, but does the sight of a complete stranger puking his/her guts out put you off? For me, I can handle family members or close friends vomitting, but for some reason, strangers vomitting really disgusts me.

  4. Nope, vomit (or any other body fluid) really doesn't bother me. I can even maintain my practiced calm when covered in the stuff.The only thing that I can't stand is cider. The sight, smell or taste of the stuff.

  5. I remember once a nurse at my A&E spending twenty minutes doing CPR with a santa hat on one Christmas eve. We reminded her to take it off before heading off to tell the relavites that the patient was dead.For us, it seems that people like to stab each other more over the holiday period. Often wife/husband fights. The men also tend to come off worse…

  6. man, you sound so much less jaded and callous than all the medics i know out here in New York. Good for you.But then again, here's how that scene would have ended if it was filled with New Yorkers:

    “I only drank two beers, you bastards. I'm an alcoholic anyway,” he said. “Stop wasting my time and get the hell out of my apartment.”

    “It's okay,” I'd say, “We look after everyone, even alcoholics. So either you're coming peacefully, or we get the cops involved. Take your pick.”

  7. It was a scary night out last nightWell done for doing a good job … I extend that not just to yourself but to all the emergency services out last night.

    I was in Newcastle and the amount of fights I saw just in the 10 minutes I was walking through town …

    Nightmare … ambulance on standby at the taxi queue is not really a good thing to have to have ..

  8. wahey, it's Christmas! Let's eat too much, then drink too much so we can puke it all back up again!On the plus side, since there is such a high concentration of violent and lurching and can't-take-no-for-an-answer drunks this time of year, making me as a disabled woman too scared to go out in the evening, I don't have to watch it!

    I don't envy you one little bit.

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