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).