Ok, lets finish these off…
What's the most embarassing crush you've ever had? (eg, school teacher etc)
I'd guess my primary school teacher, she used to lean over me wearing low-cut tops and a black bra. Not that I had any idea at that time why I was so interested in that sort of thing.
What's your earliest childhood memory?
I don't really have any childhood memories. Perhaps it would be this.
If you were to meet your dad now, what's the first thing you would do/say?
Laugh, and tell him to p**s off as we are doing rather excellently without him. Then show him. Then laugh some more.
If you dial 999 on your mobile by accident, while it's in your pocket, when you realise (eg you hear the call taker saying “Hello?”) is it better to end the call, or is it better to explain and hang up?
As another commenter said, it's better to explain otherwise I get sent to a 'dropped call' to make sure everything is alright.
What is the worse injury you have ever seen?
Trauma is all well and good (and I've seen some very mucky things with that) but the most depressing is pressure/bed sores in the elderly – it means that they aren't being looked after well enough.
What is the most painful injury?
Depends on the patient – I've had people try to tell me that the cut to the arm that I can hardly see is the most excruciating pain they've ever had. Sciatica and dislocated knees seem to be the worst though.
If I chopped my little finger off with a big knife, would it be life threatening?
It's very unlikely that you would bleed to death, however there are some nasty infections out there…
If you were in your ambulance on the way to a call and you came across a serious road accident that had only just happened, would you stop for that or drive on to the original call while radioing for another ambulance?
You have just described a 'running call'. Basically if we are waved down we are to stop and sort that call out while telling Control that we have been waylaid so that they can send another ambulance to the original call. We do have some discretion in this though.
If you had the choice between sweating peanut butter (the chunky variety) or having a hairy tongue, which would you choose?
Nurse! Get the straitjacket!
How much moolah did you make on 'Da Book'? And a related question, will the book make you a significant amount of money? Or is it just small change?
I don't have the figures right now – I'll find out in February when I get my first royalties. It's looking like a reasonable amount of money though.
You are alway complaining about the 8 minute rule but you never say what you think might be a good target. Do you have any ideas?
Patient satisfaction, survival rates, more realistic times. All of which have their flaws and are less easy to work out than 8 minutes good, 8 minutes and 1 second bad.
you sound like a great bloke to work with. want to come and do a week with me at Y.A.S? kind of 'work-exchange' thing, see how the other half live! (same dross, different accent)
Why would I want to work on my day off? But yes, one of the things I'm thinking of doing is travelling the country to see how other ambulance services work.
Have you ever seen womble porn?
Never. Honest. Clangers Bukkake however…
Would you recommend LAS as a job to anyone? And if so, do LAS do things like ride-alongs so you can get a bit of an idea what you're letting yourself in for?
I love my job, so I'd recommend it to most people, the LAS don't do ride-alongs for members of the public though, there are too many clinical/confidentiality issues for that to work.
Out of all the drugs that people take of a Saturday (or Monday, Tuesday etc) night, which one creates the people that are the biggest pains in the ass to deal with?
Alcohol. Makes you fight, makes you ill, makes you vomit, makes you suicidal, easy to get hold of, fairly cheap, socially acceptable and places a *huge* burden on the NHS.
Windows PC, Mac, or Linux?
Windows for games and using my pocket PC, Mac for 'business' and creativity, Linux for when I want to throw my computer out the window for failing to do anything the easy way and for reminding me that the 'cool kids' are all insane.
What's for dinner tonight?
I'm at work tonight, so probably George's savaloy and chips.
What's more nerve-racking? A Cat A call or appearing on the telly?
Telly – Cat A calls are ten a penny and I (like to think I) know what I'm doing. Telly is a strange environment where everyone else knows what they are doing apart from myself.
What's your favourite bit / song from Bugsy Malone? (a classic film, I noticed it on your wishlist!)
I just love it all to be honest, but I do like the pedal cars.
What's your favourite food and who (living or dead) would you like to share a dinner party / date with?
Any food which is (a) hot, and (b) I can sit down to eat. After living off takeaways I have low standards. But you can't beat my mum's roast dinner. Reasonably I'd like to have dinner with my boss Peter Bradley, so I could listen to what he has to say and I could let him know what us road staff are thinking without it being filtered through half a dozen layers of management. If *anyone* then Leonardo di Vinci, I have a sneaking suspicion that he was an interesting bloke.
Jeanniecool (who I know personally) asks a question she keeps asking me… So now you *gotta* tell me, having opened yourself up so graciously here:
Did you or didn't you??!?
I am a gentleman (sometimes) and refuse to answer that.
What's your favourite holiday destination and activity? ( not *too* rude remember!) Ever been to Canada? I ( Uk born) now live in BC on Vancouver Island where today its blue skies, 28'c, gorgeous scenery and seems like one long holiday.
I spent some time in Toronto and thought it was once of the nicest countries I'd ever visited with some of the nicest people. Very similar was Seattle which proved that there are a lot of very nice Americans out there. I've got to say that I loved Mexico and that I have a soft spot for Scuba diving. But anything that is 'active' is enjoyable for me – sitting on a beach drives me mad.
Kirk or Picard?
Picard – I'd never have to worry about him running off with my girlfriend. Something to do with the bionic heart?
What made you get out of the hospital and onto the roads with the ambulance service? and do you have any regrets?
Being stuck in a windowless box for 12 hours straight on the worst rota in the world *ever*, surrounded by patients that you can't help because there are no beds for them to go into and being constantly, and I mean *constantly* harangued by angry relatives. Why wouldn't I want to change job? No regrets at all although I do occasionally miss looking after a complex case in resus.
I was wondering if you could help me out. I suffer from regular headaches which I think are a result of sinus problems. This started happening after my dad and I got beaten up in the street completely unprovoked.
I've been to the doctor's and he's given me nose sprays for the last 18 months which don't seem to work.
Anything else that could be causing them?
I don't do medical advice – headaches are a particular pain as they can be caused by *anything*. I'd suggest seeing your GP again and maybe getting an eye-test as eyestrain can cause headaches.
Does Tom do things that Brian wouldn't?
Oh yes. Plenty of things…
Like going on the telly while looking relaxed.
What motivated you to go into healthcare (in any form) to begin with, and does it still motivate you now?
I found myself living at home while unemployed, my mum kept moaning at me that I'd make a wonderful nurse, to which my reply was, 'I'm not wiping people's arses all day!'. But she kept needling until I sent off an application form in a fit of anger. Then for some reason they accepted me, I turned out to actually enjoy it and the rest is history.
How does all *this* make you feel (by “this” I refer to thousands of readers hanging on your every word, the TV appearances, the adoring fans..)? It must be almost otherworldly.
A vague sense of unbelief but with an undercurrent of stoking my secret meglomania. Weird, very weird but fun as well. It does make you feel like a secret identity when I trawl around the streets in my ambulance and no-one knows anything about the book/telly/blog.
We had a patient recently who was >200kg and needed an MRI, but was too big to fit in our scanner. Rumour had it that they were taken to London Zoo to use the RhinoScan (or whatever it's called) in the dead of night….
Have you taken anyone to the zoo lately, or is this another one of those urban myths…?
Nope, not an urban myth. I nursed a patient who needed to use the CT scanner in the local Vet hospital that they use to scan horses. Big fella…
Do you ever come across incidents while “off duty” and get involved?
Once or twice – I try not to (although apparently you can get paid overtime for them)
Why “Tom Reynolds” – who is he?
Only a few people know why, but the name Tom Reynolds is made up of my middle name 'Tom', and Reynolds comes from (a) a butchers shop that I was passing on the bus while trying to think up a name and (b) Tom Reynolds is an old English expression similar to 'John Doe'. the other reason is probably hiding out there on the internet somewhere.
Did the police dog handlers teach you the deeply criminal technique of opening locked doors in 10 seconds ? ( Not that I want to know how, I'm just curious…)
They didn't teach me, but I'm a nosy bugger and watched them do it. Never had to use it in anger though.
I've been reading this blog for about 2 weeks now and have noticed that it is advertising a book that you are reading. Are you enjoying it?
Yes, I only put up the books that I'm (a) not ashamed to be reading, and (b) that I'm really enjoying. Which is why the current book has been up there for some time…
Ok, me, a future Paramedic. I got a place on the Cadet Scheme. Starting my 6 week induction on Monday 😀 What advice would you give to me [I'll be working on various wards for two years] and how do the wards compare to Ambulance work? AND is inserting a catheter into the bladder difficult? [first few times]
Catheters are pretty easy, men are difficult to miss and women for me were easy as I'd *ahem* seen a fair few examples of female anatomy in my youth… As for general advice, keep your eyes and ears open and don't be afraid to ask if you are unsure of have any questions. Oh, and be careful of the nurses – they tend to bite…
AFC good or bad for you??
Hmmm, not too good, not too bad. We are yet to see the full impact this will have on our service.
Tom, how did you broach the subject of this blog with your employers? were you worried about their reaction? and what the hell is a “womble”?
I didn't let them know, they found out about it in their own. Thankfully they have been pretty supportive of it. Part of the reasoning behind the pseudonym was to make it harder for management to track me down if they didn't like it, it would have given me the chance to stop if they had taken a dislike to it. I'll let Batsgirl answer what a womble are, ''Wombles are the fluffy yet sadly fictional stars of a set of childrens books and later a TV series and some hit novelty records a couple of decades ago, and are fondly remembered for going round picking up the litter on Wimbledon Common (a real place in London), taking it home and recycling it into amazing and useful things'.
A mate is about to take the paramedic entrance exams – do you know how tough the basic numeracy test is and what does it cover?
Depends on the service, I touch on it here.
Also is “The Girl” as wonderful in real life as she is in her blog?
Yep, a top girl which is why we didn't like what was done to her.
How may people have now asked you for a date!
Because of the blog? Maybe one. I'm still waiting for someone to send me their underwear through the post though.
What were the first words that came to mind when you saw how many questions there were ?
It was a bit sweary. I didn't think so many people would ask so much. Still, good for a laugh.
Do the FRU's serve any real purpose (forgetting the bikes in central london for the moment)
They can get to seriously ill people quicker than an ambulance, so they aren't completely worthless – it's just, how many seriously ill people do I see in a week? If I were really ill I'd rather have an ambulance who could take me to a hospital though.
Which do you find the most unpleasant/disturbing: blood, vomit or shit.
None. Cheap cider is my own particular disgust trigger. With a pair of gloves I can deal with pretty much anything, and even without it doesn't bother me much.
Why do ambulances have about 10 different sirens? Surely just a couple would be enough?
Because changing the siren's tone makes people more aware that we are bearing down on them (in theory), folk tend to tune out a constant wailing but the change in tones will catch on their consciousness.
I have seen many different types of ambulances (American shaped monsters, transits, LDV vans etc.) which is your fave and why?
LDVs are comfortable and you can bash them around, but the back isn't as well laid out. the new Mercedes Sprinters aren't as comfortable for lanky sods like myself, but the back is much better laid out – that and they have a radio installed for chilling out to. (Or barrelling thought the streets singing along to Queen's “Don't stop me now”).
Was the decision not to be Tom Reynolds on Sky yours, or theirs?
Their mistake really, I mentioned my real name (because I wanted to get paid a cheque in my correct name) but then let them know that I write under the Reynolds name. Someone, somewhere mixed it up. Oh well…
Salt and sauce or salt and vinegar?
Salt and sauce.
Is the kettle at your station connected to the LAS control room so that whenever you switch it on, you get a cat A call? (like mine)
That and the toilet seat, yes.
Do you get sick to death of meeting a relative at the door of a house to be told “you'll need a chair”?(like I do)
There are things that annoy me more, but yes, being told how to do my job does wear a little thin even if they are trying to help.
Do you get the same questions; Are you busy? What time are you on 'till? (like I do)
Always. But then I always ask the same questions as well, like 'Have you taken your own painkillers?' and 'Why did you feel the need to call an ambulance at 3am when you have been ill for the last two weeks?'
Now that you are famous, do you wish you'd chosen a name other than Tom Reynolds?
No – for secret reasons it makes me giggle. Besides, nothing wrong with a name like Tom Reynolds.
Do you like Marmite?
Question for you, how do you like to unwind and relax after a long (bad) shift?
World of Warcraft. Tub of Ice cream. Sleep.
“I've walked ten miles through North London barefoot in the rain.” – You, in your 'about me' page. For the love of God, WHY?!
I was going to a club but the bouncers didn't like my trainers. I borrowed some shoes off a mate who lived nearby, unfortunately they were 3 or 4 sizes too small. We then got separated in the club (alright – he pulled and I didn't), I couldn't remember where he lived and had no money, so I walked home. It was less painful to walk in barefeet than squeezed into tiny shoes.
I have solid soles to my feet.
f you were an animal, what animal would you be? If you were a shape, what shape would you be?
A rat, cute, cuddly, intelligent, a much maligned survivor in London. also riddled with disease. Shape? This is a psychiatrists question isn't it? Ok – a Blue Circle, or a Plaid Dodecahedron.
Will you marry me?*
*Not really – just thought it needed to be asked to complete the growing female adulation thang : )
And real question – would you actually ever date a long-term reader of your blog (who would know a hell of a lot about you)?
Are you rich? Seriously, yes I would date a reader, the blog is pretty open but it isn't *everything* about me, and I don't write stuff that I'm not happy for people to know about me.
A couple of years ago, my wife took a whole box of diazepam along with a bottle of wine. I didn't know what to do – whether a box was dangerous or not, so I called an ambulance and followed on behind in my car. Was this the right thing to do, or should I have taken her in myself?
Ambulance is fine, you aren't medically trained and don't know how serious such stuff can be. Besides we are better equipped for such patients vomiting. It's only the people who blatantly take the p**s that annoy me these days.
You've always tried to be anonymous as “Tom”, I heard you on Radio 5 under that name some time ago – now the book is out, your real name is getting mentioned in the press. Is this disappointing to you, and is it a problem with your work, or does it make you reconsider what you say from here on?
Not disappointing really and I've always written as if people know who I am. I still use 'Reynolds' as that has become part of my identity (or 'brand' in nauseating marketing speak), that and people who knew me as Tom have trouble changing that name to Brian – And I've been answering to Tom for longer than I can remember. So no, I'm happy with either.
If I send you my book will you sign it for me?
While I'd love to do this I have enough trouble answering all the emails I get sent. Books would disappear in the post and there would be bad feeling. We are considering a limited edition of signed copies that you can buy direct from the publisher for those who really must have my scrawl inside their book.
I've decided I'd like to work in the ambulance service when i finish Sixth Form. What do you think is the best route to get in. The local university offers a degree in paramedic science but I don't know how helpful this will be. Any ideas?
I may have answered this already – but the degree course is the way of the future. Form what I have seen it's not a bad course either and there is no longer the stigma that being a 'uni-bod' used to be.
I have 2 teenagers. Last week my 15 year old daughter drank a quarter litre of vodka,vomited a lot and passed out. I found her and called the GP who told me to get an ambulance. I did and the lovely paramedics checked her over-blood,oygen levels and pulse- and said she was OK and didnt need to go to hospital unless I wanted to. fter a few hours she came round and remembered nothing. What are the warning signs re needing A and E if this happens again?
Unconsciousness really, and in young people it's easy to overdose on alcohol. Your daughter doing this again would be a sign of stupidity on her part mind you…
And more from Jeanniecool…
How many miles must a man walk down – before he can say he's a man, that is?
Which one of us is cooler?
You are, just look at your name!
Does Robert ask about me regularly?
Never, but don't feel left out, he never asks about me either.
Why do fools fall in love?
Because they are fools
What is the ultimate question?
Watt is a unit of power, not a question.
During my next trip to London (sometime in 2007), will you be a) as nice, b) nicer, or c) less nice to me than you were during my first trip?
(d) none of the above?
Do androids dream of elctric sheep?
Do sheep dream of real androids?
My dreams are technicolour Buzby Berkley affairs of blood and violence.
When are you coming back to Seattle?
Sometime in the future.
If a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long will it take a monkey with a wooden leg to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle?
Nurse! The straitjacket again!
Will you autograph my book?
If a book is personally presented to me, then yes I will sign it. Then demand a drink/kiss depending on who is doing the asking.
Would a drink drive conviction disqualify a person from working as a para medic ?
Yes, sorta, you need to have a current valid driving license to work on the ambulances, you *may* be moved to another section of the firm so you can keep your job but change your role.
Why do you think your blog caught on so much? Did it get advertised in the beginning?
Because of my superb writing? It's caught on because people love medical stuff (see the popularity of Casualty/E.R) and they love reality TV (see Big Brother/Celebrity GMOOH). This mixes up those two very popular things. My readership really took off when I got mentioned by Jane Perrone in the Guardian.
Do you actually get to go to scenes of accidents where you have to scoop people up off of the pavement or are you more of the response to the walking wounded who do not require intensive resusuitation efforts?
Yep, that's the great thing about this job, One minute I can be going to an accident where someone has lost a leg, and the next I'm picking a little old lady up off the floor. So I do it all really. I am expected to go to, and deal with, *everything*.
Why is it that you've decided to give up drinking for a year?
Partly because I was coming home from work wanting a beer after every shift, partly because I make bad decisions when I've been drinking. Partly because I can.
Very simple one. What are your life aspirations?
To keep breathing, to be happy, to try and help people (and personal immortality).
Ok – if I've missed your question please do let me know, otherwise I suspect that this is the last time I'm doing *that*.