I reckon I'm going to have two complaints put in against me this week. Not from patients, nor from relatives, but from random members of the public.
You see, I've been 'rude' to two of them.
Take the first one. We were called to a teenager who'd been run over by a car, he had quite a nasty injury that threatened the health of one of his limbs (I'm being deliberately vague for various reasons). So I parked in the road as there was nowhere else to park that wasn't on top of his head. We did a few bits at the side of the road, then scooped him up into the ambulance. We then had to do a lot more 'stuff' to him before heading off to hospital, partly to stabilise his injury and partly to make sure that his big obvious injury was indeed the only thing wrong with him.
I then hear a knock at the back door of the ambulance and, thinking it's the police, go to have a look.
It's the driver of one of those big stretch limos – the sort of things that are hired out by hen parties. He wants me to move the ambulance so he can drive down the street.
I try to explain that I've got a seriously ill patient in the back of the ambulance, and that it needs both of us crew to look after him. I say I *try* to explain but the man won't let me get a word in edgeways – he just wants me to move because he has 'kids and their parents' in the back of his limo. I tried to explain, but he just wouldn't stop talking at me. I'm conscious that my crewmate may need me in the back of the ambulance. Trust me, I'm not being purposefully obstructive.
Well, the red mist starts to rise at the corner of my vision, so I tell him to (and my exact words are), “Shut up!”
“That's a bit rude”, he says, and then draws breath to moan some more, but I interrupt him.
“Yes! I know!”, and I then storm back into the ambulance to deal with my patient. (I may have flounced back into the ambulance, my arms do get a bit flappy when I'm angry).
The limo driver then miraculously manages to squeeze his huge vehicle past the ambulance despite my not moving.
The second one was last night – the ambulance bay at the Royal London was packed with ambulances. It also had a bloke in a private car parking in one of the bays. I'm trying to park so that the 18 month old who has just had a fit can get in to the hospital to see a doctor. This car is blocking my way, and blocking the ambulances who may want to get out for another job.
“Excuse me sir”, I call after the driver, “You can't park there, it's for ambulances only”.
“Where am I supposed to park”, he shouts back at me.
“Well sir, if you go around the back of the hospital you can park there”.
“But then I'll have to walk”, he shouts back.
I note the 200 yards he'd have to walk.
“So”, I shout back at him, “You ignore the big 'No entry' sign, the big writing on the floor that says 'Ambulances Only' and stop me from being able to park my ambulance THAT ALSO HAS A SICK PERSON IN IT!”. My arms may have got a bit flappy as well.
He turns around and heads into the hospital. I'm not sure that he heard the shouted “Pillock!” after him. I thought long and hard about putting a brick through his car window. I decided not to.
Needless to say this was highly amusing to the other ambulance crews in the area.
I wouldn't mind but I'm normally very placid. And again this person could put in a complaint against me and I'd have to defend myself to people much higher than me in the ambulance management food chain. Remember, my only complaint against me so far was from someone who assaulted me and was horrified when I told him that he 'slapped like a bitch'.
But I'm only human.
I wonder if it's anything to do with the negative pay 'deal' we'll be getting or the proposed new 'unsocial hours' payments which will probably end up screwing us over for the next couple of years.