Like Falling Off A Log

After a month off work it was a bit strange to get back behind the wheel of an ambulance, there is always a moment when I feel uncomfortable at work, like trying to squeeze yourself into a pair of jeans you have become too fat for. After a job or two this feeling disappears and you get back into the habit of work.

Obviously the first thing that you do after a long time off is to find out the gossip – nothing too interesting (no pregnancies, crashes or other soap opera goodness). Although I did get to hear about this sad job from one of the crews who attended.

The first job of the shift caused the return of that familiar friend of mine, lower back pain. A woman had fallen over and hurt her ankle, unable to walk her husband had carried her up four flights of narrow, twisting stairs. Then he'd called us and expected us to carry her back downstairs. I did nearly suggest that as he had put her there he could bring her back downstairs, but that would have been unprofessional and so the carry chair came out…

Nice enough people, but a bit daft.

Then a seventy seven year old man who was a bit ill – high temperature, low blood sugar, dizzy and a pulse of around 140. We 'blued' him into hospital just to be on the safe side. Once more a very pleasant man to chat to.

Next call was someone who'd been assaulted by “four crazy girls”, a broken bottle slashed across his forearm leading to a cut so deep that we could see what I took to be his extensor digitorum tendon. While it looked intact to me (but remember, I'm no orthopaedic surgeon) he was unable to extend his fingers. Hopefully it was just that he was too scared to extend his fingers, but there could be a possibility that he would be needing some surgery to regain the function of his hand.

Then off to another cut hand. Our patient was a woman whose husband tried moving back into the joint owned house six months after being divorced. Understandably an argument occurred and he threw a glass photo frame at her causing a small cut. Our patient was sitting outside the house and the ex-husband had locked himself inside. The police were called, and we got to watch as they used a ram to bash down the door and present the ex-husband with some shiny new bracelets. Then they took him off or a ride in the back of a police van.

A few other simple jobs including a elderly woman who gets frightened and calls us out. This call probably being related to both of her neighbours being away for the day.

Then a one month old child with a cough all day. Parents decided that now would be a good time to call an ambulance – meanwhile the father and other child followed up behind us in his people carrier. It's not that I have to 'work' that annoys me about these calls – it's just that it might be taking an ambulance away from someone that really needs us.

Then our last job was to a nursing home and a patient with breathing difficulties. The usual mix of staff who could barely speak English, a patient with pressure sores and a general lack of care. Then as we were leaving to go to hospital an additional ambulance turned up for another patient in the same home. I made a joke about clearing out all the patients in order to have a party, but the carer who came with us didn't understand.

(Actually I don't think he understood much…)

So a nice gentle return to work with patients who were on the whole nice enough to deal with, only four of them needing to be carried.

And this afternoon I get to do it again.

I'm still happy to be back though.

(I am not going to comment on this – except to say that I have never been arrested picking up prostitutes, and that massaging my ego will get you everywhere).

14 thoughts on “Like Falling Off A Log”

  1. “I am not going to comment on this”Is it my age but … when did the meaning of the word pimp change?

    An amusing website but must admit I was horrified by someone wanting their daughter pimped

  2. Nothing like a little time off.Im always happy to come back to work and see what I have missed……only to find out I still dont miss stair chair jobs!

  3. Did you say anything to the man with the people carrier? Is it taboo to point out innapropriate use of the service?I suppose people just panic.

    My friend, a mother of four, used to say her criterion for whether or not to call out a GP was to imagine that she had no 'phone, that it was pouring with rain and that the nearest 'phone box was a mile away. If she would have walked to the 'phone, that meant she should call a doctor.

    It seems that dialling 999 is actually a reflex!

    Still never mind ey, you're back.

    By the way, while you were away there was an absolutely crap set of programmes about LAS, well I only saw one, which was enough! Complete missed opportunity, badly filmed and full of drivel about patients after they had got better, sitting smugl in hospital.

    It could have been so good!

    We'll just have to wait for Jen to get her degree in Film Studies then she can make a better one. She and Claire are back from a good weekend at Reading Festival.

  4. I returned to work today after a whole month off also, came home with a huge headache-i think i need some more annual leave!!

  5. I will admit she just said what I've been thinking glad someone came out with it, anyway moving swiftly on I've been reading this for a wee while think I came to it from struggling authors and I've really been enjoying it, once this months pay cheque comes in I may purchase myself a book by a certain EMT 😉

  6. It's just gross – go look at some of the injuries, abuse, exploitation and lifelong physical injuries trafficked women face then get back to me on pimping.Or google “Congo rape fistula” to see how great it is when women don't have any say over their own “use.”

    Terrible. I have posted there, I'm getting (IMO) a bit fluff-bunnied out, whatever.

  7. Good to see you back Tom, its been a long time not hearing your stories and hard not being able to have a rant when you blog about the same kind of jobs I've been to recently!! I won't rant now, I am saving them up LOL.Look forward to hearing lots more as the weeks progress and I'm glad you had a good time (minus the being ill bit obviously)

  8. Tom, I've been a lurker for a long time (and love your writing) but I had an experience today that I hope I may ask you or your readers about, relating to this post. I called out an ambulance for what I thought was a severe allergic reaction, and I am worried that I did waste their time but I really don't know how to tell when it's so bad that the ambulance is needed.Basically I am pretty sure I am allergic to peanuts, I had a very severe reaction before while in the US (that I stupidly didn't get tested). I ate something today that might have contained them, which I noticed from my hear rate becoming rapid, my throat getting tighter and feeling very dizzy. I called 999 and asked the operator if she thought on the basis of this I needed an ambulance because I didn't want to waste resources; while talking to her it also got quite a bit worse and she sent an ambulance. By the time they got here I was still very dizzy but able to speak and my heart rate went down. My functions turned out to be normal.

    My question is, how do I know indeed when it is serious enough to call an ambulance? I am feeling so embarrassed that I seem to have called them out over nothing.

  9. Sounds to me like you did the right thing – if it was anaphylactic shock then seconds really do count.I doubt it was this, but you aren't medically trained, and at the end of the day I'm guessing that you were an 'easy job' for the crew involved.

    If you do think that you are allergic, get yourself along to your GP for allergy testing – it could be important.

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