About Face

It's not often that a patient drives his own ambulance to the hospital.*

For the past two weeks I've been having a little 'bumps' in my heart rhythm, once or twice a day I'd feel my heart skip a beat. Not a problem I thought it would resolve itself.

However last night I was getting run after run of these missed beats, this made me feel a little nervous and I thought that a quick assessment at the local hospital would rule out anything scary.

So we waited until we had we took a patient into the hospital (a woman who'd fainted and was refusing to talk or open her eyes) and I let the nurse in charge that I would be booking myself in.

A few moments later I was in the resus room being poked and prodded. A twelve lead ECG was done, which showed nothing unusual (as the missed beats are intermittent).

I've put in a countless number of cannulas into patients – for the first time ever I had one stuck into me.

I was hooked up to a heart machine that does printouts and when I felt the missing beats I'd shout to the resus nurse who would come running and hit the 'print' button.

This is what I got.


Unifocal bigeminy

Now, in the big scheme of things this isn't that worrying a rhythm. As my bloods came back all normal I was discharged and will have a 24 hour ECG recording which will be arranged by my GP.

I'm still getting them, but not half as many as I was.

The staff at the hospital were great, they looked after me really well. On more than one occasion I had one of the nurses come in to see how I was. They'd have a laugh and a joke with me, and I could hear my fellow patients in the resus room also having similar chats with the nursing staff.

(They'd also look at the tracing and mutter 'Oh shit!' under their breath. Which is nice of them).

I also had one of our station officers come down to see me, and he couldn't do enough to help me out. We shared gossip on the big fire in Plaistow, the smoke of which that was making the meridian laser beam look really pretty.

Also there were a fair few stabbings and shootings in the area which was making life 'interesting' for the local police.

The nice thing about it was that the station officer stood me down from working tonight (he also wanted to drive me home, something I refused, I was driving around on blue lights for most for the shift, a little run home in my own car wasn't going to be a problem.)

It is a bit weird to be a patient, especially when you don't know what is causing your illness. I normally self treat my own illnesses, but in this case I needed some help and the hospital and my workmates were all excellent. Just goes to show that the NHS can work well.**

*Big tip of the hat to my crewmate who pointed this out.

**Of course, if I suddenly drop dead then I may change my opinion…

28 thoughts on “About Face”

  1. I shouldn't worry too much about driving yourself to hosp in your own amb – what about this:You'll know what I mean by the FRU desk in Control (the desk that runs the fast response cars, for the non-LAS types). About three years ago I did a few stints on the desk, and we were called to a collapse on a bus in Hounslow. A car was sent but – due to pressure of work – no ambulnce was available. After about twenty minutes on scene the FRU pilot called up to ask if an ambulance was likely in the next five minutes. The sector desk said “Sorry – No”. Next thing I know is the radio priority buton going off. I answered it and the FRU pilot put in a “Blue Call” (Priority call) to the local hospital. It went something like this: “I'm blue to [hospital] with an adult male, collapsed on a bus query cause, GCS 9, Pulse 120, etc etc etc – Oh, by the way, we are en route on the bus he collapsed on – I'm directing the driver to the hospital. Yes – the girl on the car had commandeered the bus, to “blue” the patient into hospital.

    When I passed the call to the casualty sister, the reaction was “The patient is being blued in on a bus??? – Oh OK – what Number bus???”

  2. Had a few of those myself. They're enough to panic anyone- even the well prepared. I ended up being carted out of my office area (a secure area, I felt sorry for the crew that responded- they'll have to be checked out) and no one has been able to see them.They told me:

    a) Stress

    b) Alcohol

    c) Pseudofed

    d) Aspirin

    e) Caffeine

    f) Getting REALLY pissed at your coworker

    Now I only get them sporadically- once every 3 months or so, and usually under stress.

    Good luck… try and relax 😉 and keep getting checked until they tell you it's harmless and have it verily documented.

  3. Ah, except that I was an A&E nurse for years before I did this job…(And that I can put cannulas into patients under my Paramedic's supervision).

  4. It's good to see that you get treated well when you are the patient. I can't wait for the next instalment to see what your GP has to say. Maybe you've been working too much.

  5. This post is really nice read… i loved the last line “It is a bit weird to be a patient, especially when you don't know what is causing your illness. I normally self treat my own illnesses, but in this case I needed some help and the hospital and my workmates were all excellent. Just goes to show that the NHS can work well.**”

  6. This post is really nice read… i loved the last line “It is a bit weird to be a patient, especially when you don't know what is causing your illness. I normally self treat my own illnesses, but in this case I needed some help and the hospital and my workmates were all excellent. Just goes to show that the NHS can work well.**” http://www.patrickmontes.net/realitybites

  7. Looking at the 25mm/s on the ECG strip reminds me of a patient I clerked in recently – sent in by his GP after an ECG showed an apparent tachycardia of 400bpm.Closer examination of the ECG revealed a paper rate of 5mm/s…

  8. If you post an opinion AFTER you drop dead then I'll definitely raise my opinion of the NHS.That said I've just had a brilliant day in my local NHS hospital resulting in a new hungry 6lb 13oz girl to feed. Mum and baby doing fine.

  9. Is driving yourself to hospital in an ambulance a first?Incidentally how much caffiene do you imbibe? My Mum had a run of irregualr heartbeats in which turned out to be too much expresso. I hope your problem is similarly benign, although I am told decaff sucks.

  10. My wife had something similar a while back, gave her a bit of a scare but it seemed to sort itself out after a while.Whatever it is, get better soon. Stay at home and 'rest up', the TR server is nice and stable now 🙂

  11. I took 11 caffeine pills once in a single evening (don't ask) and ended with my heart playing drum n'bass breakbeats for about 24 hours. Fruit juice and lying propped up on my right side was my treatment, mainly because I was too embarrassed to mention it to anyone.It hasn't happened since – mainly because I've not had such a major attack of the stupids ever again. I hope yours has a similarly innocent, and solvable, cause.

  12. That was my first thought, get off the caffeine. And get off the damn job, much as I would miss your stories. Irregular sleep can cause arrhythmias, as you well know. Nurses who work night shifts have higher incidence of heart problems…. And not like stress, poor eating, or lack of regular exercise would contribute or anything.

  13. Hope everything's ok. This is off topic but on the BBC Monitor request for National Motto(e)s No 237 Nick Hill owes you royaltieshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2007/09/the_friday_challenge.shtml#c2729604

    just thought it might make you smile


  14. Let's hope you get the results of what's causing the skipped beats soon… Must be disconcerting not knowing what's causing it!Cheers

  15. Sorry to hear about this. It's not much fun not knowing the cause of any problem so I hope you get to find out soon and that it's nothing to worry about. Feel better, Bendy Girl

  16. Nothing to say that everyone else hasn't already said, but I just want to add my voice to the chorus of Look after yourself and hope it resolves soon. Preferably not terminally.

  17. You take care of yourself, you hear? If I could, I'd send you some of that universal panacea, some chicken soup, but I don't think virtual chicken soup would do much good.Of course, since you're British, a nice cuppa will undoubtedly be as efficacious.

    Wishing you a complete and speedy recovery….

  18. Tango time: quick quick slow, dah dah dee….goes the merry old pump,Just nature trying to tell thee to slow down , tis better than having a charley horse on that big chest muscle.Watching thy diet is always a good thing, Thee are 'wot' thee eat and drink.

  19. I was listening to a French program on the radio the other day – and the French Fire/Ambulance service wants to take a leaf out of the Brithish NHS book – they said that most 999 ambulance calls are answered in less than 3 seconds. (The background to this is that some young men called the firemen, and weren't put through before their demise, some 20 minutes later…)So British public service does have some good points !On a rather more related point, I've had to take French kids to UK hospitals several times, in several different towns and several different parts of the UK. Each time, the hospital has made an effort to find people who spoke French and could reassure the child on what was happening (although this did lead on one memorable occasion to a 16yo boy being treated for a twisted ankle by a gynecologist. He swore me to secrecy as soon as she was out of earshot :-)) Every time (bar one), my sentiment was that the youths in question were being properly and carefully looked after. And the one? A nurse was rather unpleasant, but I think that had more to do with a member of my staff 🙁

  20. Wow.. it was weird reading this post, the same happened to me on Wednesday.. driving home late off nights after attending a cardiac arrest, I had this weird feeling in my stomach, just like when you go over a hump in the road fast or when you're on a rollercoaster.. home to bed, woke up feeling the same and went back in for our second night shift.. on our first break I stuck myself on the Zoll in the vehicle and I was throwing up Ectopics too.. Did the same as Tom and attended the local A + E ( where they kindly put me in on the trolley next to the barking diabetic we'd taken in earlier).They did a 12 lead , noted the beats and said it was perfectly normal for ectopics now and again, gave me 2 Buscopan and sent me home.. It's all calmed down now, but I brought caffine free tea bags for work today.. just in case..!

    Shift Work = Bad for your Health..!

  21. Obviously being an EMT that was a slip of the tongue when you said you had cannulated countless patients….. 😉

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