Yes it is uncomfortably hot at the moment, and yes I have been going to plenty of 'faint' and 'near-faint' calls. One or two 'swine flu' cases (for which we have lovely new masks and guidelines to leave people at home – I wonder if this will continue with the normal winter flu' that are normally much more dangerous)
Thankfully I've not had too much lifting of heavy patients, in this weather the sweat dripping from my nose isn't just because I'm lugging some 20stone+ heart attack victim down five flights of stairs.
OK, it's mostly due to me lugging some 20stone+ heart attack victim down five flights of stairs – but the heat doesn't help.
I did have a very tricky extraction the other day. We were sent to a young man with a high temperature who was unable to move. We turned up to find our patient not only at the top of the house, but in a bunkbed.
A bit of talking with him revealed a fear of swine 'flu as well as an utter inability to move anything below his neck.
He hadn't been in any trauma, so the chances of a neck injury were slim, likewise the speed at which this had happened made me think that it wasn't some sort of progressive disease. However he did mention that it had al started with a tingling sensation in his feet that moved up his body.
I was put in mind of a disease that I can spell, yet never pronounce as it uses them furrin words.
Now, if he were on a normal bed we might try to simply manhandle him into our carry chair, unfortunately he'd managed to make it to his bunkbed, which as well as being quite tall had a rail around the outside of it.
Clearance from the bed to the ceiling was around one and a half feet.
Our plan was to get our split scoop under him and get him out that way. What didn't help was the the room was a sweatbox and out patient was almost glowing due to his high temperature.
I would need to get close to him.
So I found myself straddling the lad while puffing and panting, trying to get the scoop under him – my size twelve boots trying to find balance on the mattress, him possibly breathing droplets of pig death virus in my face (we'd already used out one pair of masks earlier in the shift).
Did I mention that the boy was a shade under six foot and had the build of a rugby player?
It took a long time to get him on the stretcher, and by now I was dripping with sweat. We then had to rotate, carry, twist and use brute force and ignorance to get him down from the bunk.
It was only once we had him down that I did a comparison of me and my crewmate.
I am 6'1″, size twelve boots, has a bad back and knees, tight trousers and a still slightly painful testicle. I'm not as flexible as I used to be. I was the one clambering around the bed in the enclosed space between the mattress and the ceiling.
My crewmate on the other hand is slim, 5'6″, younger than me, pole dances for exercise and used to be a gymnast. She obviously has no painful genitalia, she also has untight trousers and is much, much younger than me.
So, while I was killing myself trying to get the scoop under the patient she was clapping and shouting encouragement from the bedroom doorway*.
We took the boy to hospital and heard nothing more.
Sitting outside the hospital finishing my paperwork I realised that we both needed something cold and sugary to drink – so I called up Control and told them that, while they may well see our ambulance driving down the road to the nearest shop, it was so that we didn't keel over and drop dead**.
I think Control understood, it may have been the extended time we spent on scene, or it may just have been the breathless manner in which I spoke to them.
*I exaggerate a bit, she wasn't shouting encouragement.
** I say 'we', what I actually mean is me. The one who did all the work.
Before people get the wrong idea, she did indeed help, I exaggerate for effect – but I was still the one stuck on top of the bed and when I queried this with her she just laughed and said that I'm always the first one to climb a wall or get in through a window when the chance appears and she has too much fun watching me get on with it. I make a rod for my own back really…