As is typical on nightshifts my brain has turned largely into mush. I work, I sleep, I eat and I wash. Beyond that very little penetrates the gray haze that surrounds everything.
Which is my way of trying to excuse any impenetrability of the following blogpost.
I am trying to get away from writing about patients who are being a bit daft anymore. A lot of the time it's not really their fault that they just don't understand their body enough to realise what is an emergency and what isn't.
Last night we found ourselves going to multiple calls with multiple patients all suffering from 'shock'.
For those of us in the medical field Shock means something rather definite, it means that the tissues of the body are lacking in oxygen, in most cases this is caused by people losing the red, sticky stuff that flows around the body and carries oxygen to those same tissues.
What 'shock' seems to mean for everyone else is 'a bit worried, a bit scared or a bit upset'.
This is not a medical emergency.
While I dearly love the police, they do seem to have a habit of sending us on calls to patients suffering from this second form of shock. So during the shift we found ourselves going to a woman who had been involved in a verbal argument with her son and two car crashes.
Take one of the car crashes as an example.
When I say that I could do more damage to their car with my size 12 boot than had been caused by this collision you understand that it was a minor bump rather than anything serious. But still we are sent to the woman who was hit who was complaining of… well… feeling a bit upset.
And, of course, she wanted to go to hospital in order to be 'checked out', and as she wanted to go we had no choice but to take her. After a ten minute drive with my crewmate chatting to her in the back she was feeling somewhat better, but still seemed surprised when the triage nurse (rightly) sat her out in the waiting room.
A later call had someone who had been mugged as, once more, 'shocked'. And once more it would be fair to say that they were actually just a bit shook up. Nothing that a fully equipped emergency ambulance and A&E department could do. Certainly nothing more technical than to make a cup of tea and have a good sit down and a natter. Important, yes, but not really something for a vehicle that has the word 'emergency' written on the side in big un-friendly letters.
My point about the use of terminology is not one of making sure the 'right' term is used out of some sort of grammar nazism – instead it's so that people think twice before calling an ambulance for someone a who is 'upset' rather than 'shocked'.