On The Strange Thoughts That Assail You At Five In The Morning

I’m working nights this week, so my writing time is limited by the routine of ‘Sleep – Eat – Work – Repeat’.  Couple that with a very difficult upcoming post to write and I would beg your short indulgence in the madness that strikes me when I’m constantly jetlagged.

I have two ideas.  One is more serious than the other.

I’ll leave you to decide which is the serious one.


Idea One

The LAS should have business cards printed up which state something along the lines of “Due to your inability to control your drinking of alcohol you have wasted the time and resources of – an emergency ambulance and staff (including dispatchers and call takers), an A&E department along with nurses, doctors, radiographers and other NHS staff.  Please think on this”.  We could then leave these in the pockets of the drunk patients we pick up, so that they could reflect on their behaviour when sober.

We might have to get it printed up in a few languages though…


Idea Two

Concerning maternataxis at 5:30am.  Can I beat one of them to death please?  Just as a warning to the others.


Finally, before I go to bed, a quick “Hello” to Emma who I passed in a hospital ambulance bay last night.  Sorry I ran off but the nurse had something important to tell me.

Nighty-night all.


20 thoughts on “On The Strange Thoughts That Assail You At Five In The Morning”

  1. Have any of you ever tried it (sprawling on the pavement I mean, not being pregnant)? I like to think of myself as a fairly respectable citizen. Educated, steady job (in the NHS), responsibilities. Didn't stop me from waking up in A&E one morning with a cannula and a drip in one arm (on Mr Reynold's patch actually, just before Christmas). Yes, it was a waste. No, I don't need a reminder – it's the ones that constantly wake up in A&E that you aren't going to be able to remind that need a reminder. I know that you know that I know that. This drunk is very thankful that ambulance technicians do pick us up as the alternative was being left for dead in Hackney. The disapproval on the A&E sisters face the next day was all the reminder I needed. Maternataxis: give 'em hell.

  2. no, I haven't tried it.Like many of my friends and family members I have made a conscious and responsible descision that I would prefer NOT to get drunk to the point of ending up sprawled on the pavement. So I don't. And thus have never risked being left for dead in Hackney.

    It's not difficult to switch to cokes for an hour after four or five pints.

  3. I'm afraid most of the heavy drinkers I can bring to mind would respond along the lines of how they've got a right to a f'ing ambulance, cos they're f'ing paying for the f'ing NHS what with all the f'ing tax on booze and fags… blah blah blah.Yep, even when sober.

  4. I was going to say you should send someone around to give them a stern talking-to instead – cards are easy to throw away without thinking about or just ignore – but sounds like that wouldn't help.Send a policeman around to give them a stern talking to? Might work better, but they're busy enough already :-/

  5. no, that's a huge over-reaction.Trying to educate people that it might be better to drink but stop before getting to the point of passing out or injuring yourself/others and an ambulance being called is one thing.

    Sending the police round as an anti-joy enforcement brigade is quite another.

  6. Who said “anti joy”?I thought the idea would be “anti getting so trashed you end up sprawled all over the pavement”?

    Is there too little distinction between the two nowadays?

  7. re; Maternataxis.Out of interest, having never given birth I don't know about these kind of thing.. But how does a women, who is in labour and probably a little scared, get to hospital at 5am? A colleague's wife recently had a baby and had to get on the tube / bus whilst in labour as there was no other way for her to get to hospital (many mini-cab companies refuse to let women in labour in their taxis). Not sure I would be very happy with that option if I were in labour!

  8. Sadly for a lot of people, there's little or no distinction.A few months ago I had a birthday party. I invited a few internet friends from another messageboard (people I'd already met, let's not open that can of worms). I don't drink, myself, but I included on the info that while people could by all means have a few drinks while we were at the pub, I didn't want any alcohol coming back to my flat or any hugely drunk people coming in until they'd sobered up a bit, as I didn't want to spend my birthday dealing with drunks or vomit and so on.

    And I was told repeatedly that I was “anti-joy”, that throwing up was all part of the experience, that there was no point having a party if I wasn't prepared to let people have fun, nobody will want to come to a so-called party with rules like that…

    (for the record, my real friends and I had a great time)

  9. Good point. Might be worth making it a felony to refuse taxis to women in labor (and protecting them from potential lawsuits for not having been, in fact, an ambulance).As for the card, maybe something big like, “Your drinking took an ambulance away from an asthmatic child. She is now dead.”

    I gather some people who go through mandatory classes after drunk driving and see videos of post-drunk driving car accidents actually do decide to do something about themselves. So the card-in-pocket idea may not be as far out as it sounds.

  10. Well my mum used the buss to get to hospital when she was having me.Quite simply – you have nine months to plan these things – in the early stages of labour it is not inconceivable to get to hospital using taxi/bus/train/friend with a car.

    I don't mind going to those who's labour has progressed suddenly, or if they are ill. What does rankle is the woamn who is having a vague twinge every half an hour, and is waiting at her doorstep with her bags packed, and I then sit in the back while she doesn't have a single contraction.

    Perhaps Midwives need to beat mothers over the head with what is a reasonable use of an ambulance – but I'm guessing that most midwives are more happy protecting their own back (the main occupation of the NHS these days).

    But now I'm rambling…

    The final proof is that a large number of ambulance trusts refuse 'maternataxis' without hundreds of people dying… The LAS is quite atypical in this regard in that we send to all maternities.

    It's gotten so that we are considering a scheme where we will *pay* for a voucher for a taxi to take the woman to hospital – so she doesn't miss out on her 'free' ride…

  11. ok, I don't know about London. But where I am the A&E is about 10 miles away. To get there by bus would mean catching two buses, and the second one only runs once an hour, and they don't run at all on Sundays. Cost about 5 each way. Or taxi, door to door, costs about 15 each way, or more on Sundays and bank holidays.I don't know if it's because of this and peculiar to our area or if it's a nationwide thing, that if you are in receipt of certain benefits such as income support, you can get the money for your travel to hospital (or a percentage of it) back. You have to have opted for the cheapest reasonable available form of transport, and it's only for when you're the patient (ie not for when you're visiting or accompanying a friend) and of course you have to keep your ticket, or get a receipt.

  12. Re: the drunks….why not have them tattooed on the forehead?Could be along the lines of 'pisshead', 'drunkard', 'waste of medical resources'

    Sorry, is that too harsh?

  13. For more general application, my girlfriend had made up for me lovely little cards – embossed, hand-laid stationery – that say simply:You Have Made Me Extremely Angry

    — * —

    and then my initials, all in a very nice font. Leaving them places – regardless of the reason – is a lovely way to let go of the feelings that might lead to more extreme measures.

  14. Where I am in Yorkshire the a&e is about 18-20 miles away. I mean, sure we have lots of minor injury centres, but nowt that could cope with more than a cut finger or sprained ankle to be honest.Having said that, the local ambulance station is very quiet (I observed with them) because a lot of people have their own transport compared to living in the city. Maybe this observation is wrong – I dunno, but what I do know is that if you had to survive on public transport where I live, it would be a very depressing existance. (but that's another story)

  15. On the materna taxi problem: isn't the answer to have more births at home? In towns, when you can get to hospital quickly (?!!!) in an emergency, and with full antenatal screening, surely it must be more economical (if not less legally risky) to send midwives to mothers rather than mothers to hospitals.In the country, I can understand the need to get to hospital to eliminate home risks. I had a farm truck as my maternataxi for one of my children as the ambulance couldn't get to me in a blizzard.

  16. You see I always say I will drink rational, and with the exception of the very rare occasion I always have. After a particularly traumatic day I ended up being put in a taxi by a WPC in the middle of the city centre, alone and very very drunk.Sometimes it just happens, and I aren't making excuses for it (i've never needed medical assistance thankfully).

  17. As a midwife, I have to say all of our team take a VERY dim view of women turning up in an ambulance in labour, unless there is a real medical need. So a taxi might cost you 15. You have 9 months to save that 15. If you save 50p a week from the moment you know you are pregnant you will have enough to get you to hospital in labour. I'm sorry but pretty much everyone- even those on low incomes- can afford to get to hospital or can have it arranged so that they can get the money back. It is not an 'emergency' and we do impress this on our women. We do try to promote home birth and we do try to get people not to abuse LAS but sadly for some people they just don't listen.

  18. Yes, I have. Not to the point of requiring an ambulance, but certainly to the point of falling asleep in nightclub toilets, getting thrown out at closing and promptly falling asleep again on the nearest reasonably flat surface. That's very much a rarity nowadays, but on especially good or bad occasions, I will still occasionally allow myself to indulge to the point of throwing up. I will at this point still maintain the presence of mind to a) find a toilet, and b) realise that this is the part where I need to go home and get some sleep. (I also have the presence of mind to realise that it's an extraordinarily bad idea to have pieces of nondescript cooked animal from the rather rank kebab shop on the way home, but by this point I'm afraid I lack the self control to walk past empty stomached)

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