There has been a distinct lack of blogposts and email replies of late for two reasons. Reason number one is that I'm in the 'nasty' bit of my rota, where I am working loads of twelve hour shifts and getting home only to fall asleep. My Sky+ box is filling up with the few programmes that I watch and what little free time I have is filled up with mundane stuff like taxing my car or doing laundry.
The other reason would be the new MMORPG Age of Conan – which I am having entirely too much fun with. I wish I ran a gaming blog so I could set up a guild with all my readers, as it is I suspect that only a handful of you play MMORPGS, even less on the European side.*
It would appear that everyone knows about 'blood pressure', even if they don't know what it represents or why it might be altered. Many the time when asking a patient's medical history I've been informed that they have 'blood pressure'. This is good as blood pressure is what keeps us alive – I know that they mean they have a high blood pressure, but it still amuses me.
It must be on the telly or something, all this talk about high blood pressure, I suppose that it helps that when someone goes to see their GP for their allotted twelve minutes their blood pressure is taken and if high** then they are warned and given some little white pills.
Of course, most people have high blood pressure when having it taken, and effect known as 'white coat syndrome'. This is the fear you have when being prodded by a strange doctor and it naturally raises your blood pressure. For us ambulance staff the effect is known as the 'Sitting in a dirty ambulance being prodded by that ugly bloke in green syndrome'.
I'm not going to explain Blood pressure as this wikipedia article does a much better job than I could. It's particularly interesting to see the difference in 'normal' between the US and UK…
The thing about blood pressure is that everyone has heard of it, so they all get concerned about it and ask me if their blood pressure is 'alright' even if they are complaining of nothing more than a sore throat.
I went to a woman, who had dialled 999 because she was 'feeling strange'. She'd recently had an operation and had discharged herself, apparently her blood pressure had taken a while to 'get back to normal' and she was concerned so she called an ambulance.
I arrived and spoke to her as she sat on her bed, her pulse was fine and she didn't feel hot to the touch. I suggested that I take her to the hospital.*** She doesn't seem too happy to head back to the hospital.
“Are you qualified to take a blood pressure?”, she asks.
I bite my tongue to stop myself from telling her exactly what I am qualified to do.
“Of course”, I say and lead her down to the ambulance.
So we check her blood pressure and it's perfect. By now she has decided that she would like to go to hospital so walks back to her house to get a few 'things'****
She returns and settles down in the ambulance.
“Can you drive slowly”, she tells us, “only my mum is following in the car and, unlike me, she doesn't know the way to the hospital”.
Telling her that she could have gone in the car and thus saved the NHS £400 in ambulance fees and kept an ambulance free to attend a more serious call would only lead to the possibility of her complaining against me, so once more I bite my tongue.
My poor tongue is getting rather chewed of late.
*Reynolds on the RP-PVP server Aquilonia, EU side.
**For a value of *high* insert current medical guidelines, or whatever the people who make blood pressure pills say is high that month.
***I suggest everyone goes to the hospital, it's how I don't lose my job for leaving someone at home who later dies, even of unconnected reasons.
****Like most men I try not to think about what 'things' are inside the bags that women take with them everywhere.