So, after missing Saturday night because of a lack of boots (since resolved by me buying my own pair and the LAS promising to repay me), I finally returned to work and did a full shift.
The first thing to do is to catch up with your crewmate. She tells me about being the responder to the man who was killed by his dog. She tells me about the patient who went into cardiac arrest in the back of the ambulance. She tells me that she has had to use her extended skills more times in the past two weeks than in all the time we've been together.
It's obvious that I'm the one cursing us with non-sick patients.
As mentioned previously the first patient was a five year old with chickenpox, the mother wanted her to go to hospital and we can't refuse.
Then a patient with a mild, but long term medical problem who wanted to go to hospital.
Then a belly-ache that got better if you kept talking to the patient. Strange job because they had gone to the neighbour's house to call an ambulance. That they both looked like drug users is probably just my suspicious mind getting the better of me.
Then a maternity patient who couldn't get to her booked 'birthing centre' because no-one would pick up the phone. By the time we'd got the woman to the hospital the midwives there had managed to get in touch with the birthing centre. The birthing centre would accept the woman.
“How will I get there?”, asked the patient.
“Oh”, replied the midwife, “the ambulance will take you”.
The midwife seemed most upset when we told her that we were for emergencies only, and that she'd have to book an ambulance just like any other hospital transfer. You'd think that they'd know better…
Then a child with a high temperature that we left at home according to the mother's wishes. She, as a lot of people want us to do, just wanted her son 'checked out'. So we do our 'mobile GP' bit and hope that the child doesn't drop dead.
A few more simple little jobs of similar seriousness – no need to carry anyone, no need to do anything other than chat to the patient and record the basic observations.
The final job was a 'frequent flyer' who I haven't seen for two years, but has apparently moved back into the area and is calling for an ambulance twice a day at least.
Oh well, nature abhors a vacuum and given the recent deaths of two of our frequent callers, it was obvious that someone would pop up to fill the gap.
So it was a nice easy night to ease me back into the swing of things. The only problem is that my foot is still as injured as it was before I went sick – but I'm getting an occupational health appointment, and it's with our new private contractors. I should give them a fair shake of the stick, but they must be cheaper than the old occupation health lot who were all NHS.
Anyhow – I'm now 23.5 hours without sleep and my brain is dripping out my ears. Perhaps something more lucid tomorrow.