Nights (A Whine, Please Ignore)

It's getting late in the year, so the nights are drawing in and I find myself driving to work in the dark and making it home again before the sun rises above the rooftops.

At 4 a.m. in the morning I feel like killing myself as my body just wants to shut down. Instead I find myself going to people who have called an ambulance because they have had a nightmare.

There are a few bright spots, an easy home delivery results in a happy baby and family. We save the life of a six year old and think that we've done something good.

But these are overshadowed by the sixty-five year old drunk woman who makes to hit me and tells me to “fuck off” as we pull her out of the freezing puddle. The patient who calls us 'just because' at five in the morning could do with a thump as well.

I'm not eating well, pasta for three days running in order to try and keep my energy levels up through the night, it's not the most interesting food.

The nights are wrecking havoc with my heart palpitations, I'm trying to keep off the caffeine, but I think that the missed beats are my bodies way of telling me that the job is slowly killing me. I'm getting more of them every night.

A station officer tells me that I could always swap to permanent day shifts – I ask myself how I am supposed to survive on a 25% paycut that coming of rotating shifts would mean. From £10 and hour to £7 an hour? For the same work – no thanks.

The job is going down the drain – we are pulled from one directive to another. I hear something that makes me angry – looks like the slow privatisation of the NHS has reached the ambulance service. I wonder how I'm going to write about it, to describe my utter disgust at the idea of 'private' FRU cars.

I waiting to make a mistake that'll cost me my job – will it be my 'attitude' to another wasted call that does for me? Will I be so tired that I miss a treatment or diagnosis? Will I cause a crash in my ambulance? Will it be something that I write on here?

I float around my flat, all enthusiasm drained from me by that 4 a.m black hole.

It's that time of the year again. Maybe I should start thinking about better living through chemistry.

13 thoughts on “Nights (A Whine, Please Ignore)”

  1. I always get low this time of year, being immobile in a cast hasnt helped. Strangely once my body gets used to the shorter days I start to feel better.Regarding chemicals you could try Rhodiola, I've taken it in the past to get me through some stressy times. The only side effect I've noticed is I get vivid dreams. If I take it in the morning it seems to be a bit better.

  2. If you love your job so much you don't mind it killing you, stick with it.On the other hand, if you DO mind your job killing you, get a new one.

  3. Have just been diagnosed with SAD which thanks to this dark summer progressed to proper depression. After 3 weeks off work and 5 on Prozac I'm just about getting back on my feet.Better living through chemistry. Failing that, daylight lamps really do help.

  4. I was just about to mention whether you had tried a daylight lamp. Never used one myself, but I have heard good things from people who do.Maybe it would work for you?

    Thats one I found randomly, remember the name from a newspaper a while ago.

    Hope your feeling better soon 🙂

  5. I find it shocking that you only get paid 10 an hour when you do such an important job. Library assistants get paid not much less than you, and while they are important, you (and other paramedics) are far more needed than library staff!

  6. I read this blog quite often, but I just had to sign up so I could post a comment.I really can't believe how much you get paid when you all so deserve much more.

    My hubby fixes cars and he gets paid a bit more. Where is the sense.

    Keep up the great work!!

  7. I was diagnosed with the light sensitivity thingy when I was working in a building where nobody could see daylight (literally and figuratively). The doctor didn't actually prescribe anything. Just diagnosed it. (Did I mention he was a jerk?)I knew so little about it, I wasn't sure what to do, except a lightbox. And that was impractical. I didn't have time to sit in front of a lightbox. I'd be reading my email at 6 am over breakfast. At work, I was teaching, moving around in a lab, talking to students, etc., etc. I suspect Tom may have similar constraints. This isn't to say lightboxes are a bad idea. If you can do it, they're great.

    What pulled me through was kava, which I could buy over the counter without wasting more time on doctors. (Yes, I know about the liver damage hysteria. That's what it is. Hysteria. In extraordinarily few susceptible people, there's a problem which is preceded by plenty of warning signs. Tylenol is way more dangerous than that.)

    It's a very strange sort of depression, the one that comes from lack of light. You know perfectly well there's nothing actually wrong. And yet everything feels impossible. It's similar to jet lag, when you know perfectly well it's day time, but your brain is asleep.

  8. Nice but you can get them a lot cheaper (and smaller) than that these days. You can even get battery operated versions for when you're on the go.You don't need to sit and stare at them and you can do it in short bursts rather than a long stint. So long as you get a total of about an hour in a day you can just have one going when you're doing something else for 5 minutes (doing paperwork, having a cuppa, swilling out the back of the 'taxi' etc.).

    Oh and they're VAT exempt if you've been diagnosed SAD so it's worth getting to the doctor's (HINT) 🙂

  9. oh reynolds, i soooooooooo sympathise. nights used to make me, mervous, unhappy, insecure, paranoid, grumpy, bipolar, and give me skin problems. research states that people who work internal rotation shifts (ie nights days nights days) can take about ten years off their life expectancy.the trouble is with frontline jobs, they are so badly paid that you can't afford to live without the unsocial hours money. its such a double edged sword.

    nights was one of the main reasons why after 9 years of a&e and cardiac intensive care nursing, i decided to finish my nursing career. i was good at my job, despite the poor staffing and recruitment issues, the rubbish kit and the endless targets, but the nights, plus the feeling of doom whenever i found out that the shift was short of 2-3 nurses (every other shift by the way), but we would still operate on the same amount of critically ill people and be burnt alive if one tiny form wasn't filled in, was the main reason for leaving.

    i'm not saying leave LAS, you are obviously very talented at it, it took me some serious soul searching, but i now work for a company that makes defibrillators and monitors and i have never been emotionally or physicaly better.

    i sympathise with your nights, they are horrible.

  10. From a selfish point of view I would say please please don't give up. You do a fantastic job and whilst I do sympathise with the crappy wages, none of us go into healthcare for the money, though I would be the first to say that from carers to nurses to paramedics to junior doctors, none are paid what they are worth. On the other hand, no job is worth sacrificing your health for. Keep your chin up babe, the vast majority of people do appreciate what you do.

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