It's a weird game this ambulance lark, especially when you are looking to write about it. Even more so when a day without a blogpost seems to leave a hole in your heart as you feel that you are skiving off.
What makes it a weird game is that I start to run out of material, I then find myself wishing that someone will have a nice interesting injury or illness – that I'll have to go to them, and that this will be a blogpost that shines.
It's not just the writing mind you – we all get like it, we joined this job partly because it can be a bit exciting and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. We didn't join up to have 'walk on, walk off' patients all the time. We joined up because occasionally, just occasionally, we like to have a proper injury – a car crash, a fall from height, a stabbing or shooting.
Watch the ambulance crew after a 'decent job', they'll be standing outside the ambulance bay at the hospital chatting to their colleagues. They'll be animated, they'll be interested in their job but most of all they will have a sense of satisfaction of a job well done.
We know it's not like the TV (and it's no wonder the characters on those programmes have so many relationship problems, if we went to the sort of jobs they do on a daily basis we'd all be alcoholic depressives as well). We understand full well that most of our job, 80% at the last count, don't need an ambulance or hospital treatment. We know that we won't be dealing with serious calls all the time. We are pretty happy for that, our 'burn out' rate is pretty low.
In four weeks I have had no interesting jobs, no jobs where I had to think about the safety or condition of my patient. A month where everything that I have done has been by rote. I get to the patient – if they can't walk or they have chest pain then we wheel them to the ambulance otherwise it's Shanks' pony. I do a set of observations, they invariably turn up all normal. Occasionally I'll need to 'blue' someone into hospital because they are having an angina attack. We drop them off at the hospital and get ready to repeat.
For a whole month I haven't had a 'decent' job. Just once in a while I'd like to think out a problem, stop some serious bleeding or give a treatment to someone. I've not even had someone having a heart attack.
It's tiring sometimes, the grind of going to people who aren't really ill all day, every day.
I have dark and horrible thoughts sometimes. If it rains after a period of heat I know that the roads are going to be slippery – perhaps there will be a car crash? It's a Friday night – maybe someone will get stabbed? The security level is critical – maybe someone will do something more scary than burn a jeep?
It worries me that I think like this, it worries me that I'm happy when people injure themselves. I know I'm not alone, I know that the other services also like a good 'shout', but it still seems wrong to want people hurt so I can test myself, so I can have an 'interesting' day.
I think that the danger we face is to stop looking at people as 'people', we look at them as the 'man flu', the 'belly ache' the 'splinter in his finger'. We see them as 'jobs'. When you start to dehumanise people like that it's only a short step to wanting some of them seriously hurt for your own entertainment.
Maybe it's just a funk that I'm in; I don't want people hurt, but I do want something interesting at work that will stretch my skills. And will give me something interesting to write about.
But that way lies psychopathy.
I am not mad.
Right now I'm thinking about an idea for a TV series – an ambulance worker who sets up increasingly bizarre 'accidents' in order to sate his desire to actually use the skills that he has.