I wake up at 1:30 am, it's my 38th birthday and I'm awake because shift work has killed my bodyclock. Various parts of my body ache, consequences of a job where heavy, unsafe lifting is sadly a fact of life.
I stare at the ceiling, thoughts running through my head, becoming more and more hate filled as I reflect on my job.
I know that this is in part the trifecta of SAD, nightshifts and a couple of months without a 'decent' job. If I could just do a call where I actually helped someone by using medical skills my mood might improve.
I lay in bed thinking about alcoholics, drunks and wimps – about how personal responsibility seems to have become an incredibly rare thing.
I'm hating myself for doing a job where the health detriments are so pronounced while serving so many people who selfishly think that the A&E and ambulance service are there just for their benefit.
I think on the last few night shifts – of the drunks that we went to. Of people who drink and drink and drink, then 'collapse' in the street – knowing that some idiot like me will come and pick them up before they get too cold (it's only pensioners and hillwalkers who die of hypothermia these days), I'll then take them to hospital where they will continue to be mollycoddled by demoralised nursing staff.
And if you aren't mollycodled enough – well, you can always complain and get someone disciplined or fired.
The government tries to prevent heavy drinking by warning people of the effects on the liver, that they might make a fool of themselves. But people don't care, that is all so very far away. After all, isn't a hangover the sign of a 'good night out'? A badge of pride to be worn in order to prove that you are 'social' and 'popular'?
I like this advert.
But I don't think that it goes far enough.
What I think we need is something that is much more immediate, something much more telling and something that acts as a deterrent to others.
It'll need an act of parliament, but Labour seem to like introducing reams of new legislation.
My suggestion is this – in order to teach people that the effects of alcohol on both themselves and on society are damaging and far-reaching heavy consumers need to be taught a lesson.
When called to a drunk in the street, the ambulance crew should be allowed to beat the 'patient' up, to give them the fight of their lives, to fill them in, to give them a good shoeing and to knock seven shades of shit out of them.
This will have several effects – primarily it will act as a deterrent to people who get drunk and expect public taxes to be spent looking after them, secondly it will reduce the cachet of sporting a hangover the next day in work, thirdly it will ensure that the 'patient' actually needs the services of an A&E department, fourthly it will allow A&E staff to practice their minor (and not so minor if the ambulance crew gets carried away) injury treatments on a semi comatose patient and finally it'll help de-stress ambulance crews when they find themselves going to the umpteenth drunk of the night.
I suspect that once a person has had their nose broken a few times they may eventually get the idea that drinking in moderation is perhaps a good idea.
(Also the ambulance crew should be allowed to perform 'ABC' on the patient – taking their Access, Barclaycard and Cash. This will have the happy side effect of raising ambulance wages, and thereby raising staff morale.)
I am not mad.
But I would suspect that in countries where the police are… less 'customer focussed' there is much less public drunkenness.
Perhaps a less extreme measure would be to have the ability for A&E departments to issue fixed penalty fines if the only reason that you are in the hospital is because you were drunk and incapable. I wish the police would do this, but they are fully aware that in the great scheme of things their time is better spent elsewhere, or if not ''better spent', then tied up dealing with Kylee and Jason's domestic dispute over the bottle of White Lightning.
I suspect that over the next few days I'll be highlighting exactly how wasted my time at work has been – essentially being little more than a taxi driver, and worse than that a taxi driver that can't refuse a punter.
EDIT: It would seem that some people haven't recognised that this post is largely hyperbole, maybe I should have made it more explicit by suggesting that I 'kill a few – just as an example for the others'? Needless to say I don't actually think that we should go around beating up drunks, but I do think that we should introduce fines for these drunkards who abuse the NHS.