Perfect Timing

Blogware (the people who run the software that I use to Blog) apparently went down this morning, all Blogware powered sites seemed to be unavailable. This is the first time that I've ever known them to have a problem, and I believe they fixed it fairly quickly.
However the problem struck with particularly bad timing, not only did fellow Blogware user Suw Charman get her excellent piece published in the Guardian; but it is also my Blogging birthday.

I only started blogging one year ago, and in that time (from my first, rather predictable post about Spam) through my 'HIV crisis' to my own little mention in the Guardian, I think my writing has improved (or at least, it hasn't gotten any worse). I've also had contact from literary agents,made a load of new friends – both online, and those who I've met in 'real life' (and I'd like to change some of the former into the latter). I've even 'inspired' someone to take up blogging for themselves. Throughout the year I've thoroughly enjoyed writing about the ambulance service (with little side-steps into other things that I have found interesting).

I've also joined several other bloggers on the rather excellent Lingual Nerve medical website, so some of my writing will appear there.

And I've just found out (via Diamond Geezer) that I'm mentioned in an academic paper at a conference at London University. Much more of this and my ego will be so large I won't be able to fit through my living room door.

Right, I think that is enough bragging; time to get on to the next years worth of writing.

Take care all.

Firefighters Tragedy

Two London Firefighters have died in Bethnal Green, the LFB have an excellent safety record with the last death in their service being in 1993. Although we often jokingly moan at the Fire Service we are also aware that they choose to run into burning buildings, and it takes a certain kind of person to do that.
I would imagine that every LAS in East London is wondering if they had worked with those two men, on a fire call, or an RTA extrication.

My thoughts go out to those affected, their family, friends and workmates.

The Big White Taxi Service website (the very unofficial LAS website) is having a collection for them.

We are collectiing funds to go towards helping the victims of the E2 fire in which 2 Whitechapel Fire-Fighters were killed today.

You can donate via:

Paypal, (


personal cheque, cash or postal orders. (we have a PO Box)

Please mail us for any further info.

Thank You

BT Filtering

British Telcom are filtering illegal child porn sites, they are blocking 20,000 attempts each day.
No doubt people who are much brighter than me will debate the pros and cons of ISPs filtering/censoring the internet, but there is one quote from the BBC article that will surprise a lot of bloggers, particularly those who have pictures of their child on their sites.

Home Office minister Paul Goggins said the figures revealed by BT were “deeply shocking” and he said he hoped other service providers would take up the offer of using BT's blocking technology.

He told the Today programme: “Every image of a child that appears on the internet is an image of a child that's abused.”


Masked Symptoms

I discovered yet another reason to avoid alcohol, namely that it can mask the symptoms of otherwise obvious illnesses and injuries. We got called to a 60 year old man who had fallen in the street, as it was 2am we could guess that alcohol was involved. When we arrived on scene the patient was standing against a wall very much the worse for wear for drink. Admitting he was an alcoholic he told us that he had tripped over and now his right leg hurt. While he was standing there I gave him a quick examination, he had no bony tenderness, and was able to bear his weight on his leg. he could feel his toes in wriggling in his shoe and there was no obvious deformity to the leg. So we helped him walk the few steps to the ambulance but he was unable to manage the stairs at the back of the ambulance so we put him in our carry chair and lifted him into the ambulance. A further examination showed little else of note – his pulse was a tad on the high side, but otherwise his blood pressure and other observations were well within normal limits.
We transported him to hospital, where the nurse gave him a quick examination, essentially repeating the exam I'd given him in the field, and she sent him out to the waiting room.

When we returned to the hospital a little later we were told that he had broken the neck of his femur, essentially he'd broken his hip.

He was so drunk he felt little pain, and for various reasons none of the normal signs of a broken hip were present. Luckily I'd documented that I'd examined for the possibility of this type of fracture and found negative signs all the way along, so should he complain (which I doubt he would do) both myself and the admitting nurse would be covered.

So don't drink, or you may find yourself walking around on a broken leg.

Now I'm off to sleep. Two very long night shifts and I'm ready to collapse.

Lemon Jelly

My brother is sometimes very nice to me, a case in point being last night – some time ago he'd bought us both tickets to see Lemon Jelly at Somerset house as part of the Radio 6 music festival.
Somerset house is an open air venue, so the biggest worry is the weather, despite the Jelly's set including the track “Nice Weather For Ducks” the rain stayed away.

However I think even if it had rained it wouldn't have put a dampener on the mood of the crowd, many of which had brought their own toy/rubber/inflatable ducks, although the venue seemed to be home for to a number of very real seagulls. Before Lemon Jelly came out, we had Phil Jupitus (with lovely assistant Darth Maul) with the “Lemon Jelly, Play Your Cards Right” game. Some poor German girl was pulled up on the stage where she managed to 'win' us all free CDs at the end of the night.

But then came Nick and Fred, better known as Lemon Jelly – both seemed to have great fun playing various instruments, rushing between various station tweaking and arranging their mostly electronic set. Nick in particular had a beaming smile throughout the concert, one that I think was matched by the crowd. Two of the songs they played were a lot darker than their earlier material – reminiscent of Moby when he 'rocks out'. The light show from the stage was especially dazzling and sound quality was great. The crowd were relaxed (and judging from the smell, this may have been due to some 'herbal cigarettes') and at one point during the evening a small woman thrust a bubble blower into my hands so I could blow bubbles over the rest of the crowd.

Special crowd pleasers were an up-tempo “Rambling Man” and the similarly jazzed up “Staunton Lick” – both had the crowd, and myself jumping into the air.

An excellent night, with a free CD at the end of it, and the promise of a new album.

Cheers brother.

Shouldn’t You Be Dead?

One of the things that will constantly amaze me is that some people will drop dead at the drop of a hat (so to speak), while others will survive injuries that would kill us mere mortals.
Today was a case in point, we got called to a 39 year old female who'd been hit on the head by a brick which had fallen seven floors. We turned up at the location fully expecting to see someone with less of their brains inside their head than would be considered healthy. Instead the woman was sitting in a chair (having had a C-Spine collar applied) with he head supported by a BASICS doctor.

This woman, who should have been dead, had a one inch cut to the top of her head.

And that was it.

The brick had hit her on the head, then had hit the floor with such force that it essentially shattered. Yet here she was complaining of the cut being painful. There was no loss of consciousness, but we treated her as if she had a neck injury, purely due to the 'mechanism of injury'. It's been a while since I've had to do a 'standing take-down' (where you get a standing patient onto a spinal board by placing it against their back and laying it flat with them on it, you don't need the swimming pool that is in the link…) but it all went smoothly, the Doctor travelled with us and was a pleasure to work with.

Although she is 39 the woman actually looked like she was in her early twenties – perhaps she has some witchy super powers? Either way she was discharged later in the day.

Either way she was exceptionally lucky – if you can call getting beaned by a brick 'lucky'.

Re:Not Happy

Blimey, I do moan sometimes…
I'm afraid that occasionally (very occasionally) I'm not my normal happy-go-lucky killer of little old ladies. I think I've tied down what it is that had me so depressed yesterday.

1) This is the sixth day of work, and I've had to get up early in the morning.

2) Hungry, I was definitely hungry.

3) The weather is very dark and dismal – where has our summer gone?

4) I've got a runny nose, guess I'm fighting off some form of infection.

5) Lack of sleep.

6) The lack of anything approaching 'sickness' in the flood of patients who desperately need an ambulance.

So there is my excuse. Does it work?

So today, it's the seventh day at work, I'm still hungry, the weather is unchanged, as is the slight runniness of my nose and I am, as ever tired.

So what could cheer me up? How about a sick person.

Nope, none of that today…

Of the jobs that I can actually remember, we had a drunk on a bus, a 20 year old man with three hours of diarrhoea, someone who had tripped up a stair (no injury), a kid who'd fell off his bike (no injury) and an RTA with no injuries.

The only notable call was getting sent to a 72 year old female by a local GP with a diagnosis of CVA; the GP hadn't actually seen the patient, and had diagnosed over the phone – he was rather obviously wrong in his diagnosis (it was an rather blatant UTI), but we know this doctor well – he is a twunt.

RTA – Road Traffic Accident

GP – Primary health provider

CVA – Stroke

UTI – Urinary Tract Infection, bladder infection

Not Happy

Apologies in advance – this is a moan with perhaps no redeeming qualities…
My regular crewmate took today off (he doesn't like working Sundays – and tends to book annual leave to avoid working them). So I was single, until Control sent me to team up with someone in Camden. I'd never worked out of Camden station before, and was pleasantly surprised by how nice everyone was, including the person I was working with, and in the general state of the station.

The work was fairly easy, instead of Asians, I treated Jews, and instead of Newham hospital we took them to the Royal Free hospital. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary to deal with, the same basic stuff of people falling over, and diabetics having a low blood sugar.

What annoyed me however were the people around Camden – They were young, good looking and dressed well enjoying the fresh air by eating at any number of very nice looking restaurants. They all looked successful, happy and generally clean, and I would imagine some of them were on their way to hear a band play in a lively, yet friendly pub. I know all this, I used to work at the Whittington Hospital, which isn't that far from Camden – and the social life of the nurses there was excellent.

Unfortunately I had to return to Newham.

Back to the dull, dirty area, full of dull, dirty people, doing dull (and probably dirty) things. Newham, where the tourist attraction is a statue of some footballers, and the restaurants are greasy kebab shops. Where everyone dresses the same (Hijab, Burkha or the male equivalent) and the pubs are places to meet to see how drunk you can get before having a fight. Where 'street culture' is graffiti tags by youths in hoodies and baseball caps, and the entertainment at night is avoiding getting stabbed.

So, yes, I am a bit depressed – I wonder how different my life would be if I lived in Camden, rather than the rat-hole I live in at the moment. Would I have met the woman of my dreams? Would I be writing about the latest new band? Would I be a regular in a friendly well lit pub? Would I feel 'younger' than I do at the moment?

I know I can't afford to live there, but I can dream can't I?

I'm off to eat some ice-cream now…gotta love comfort food.

Cheerier post tomorrow, I promise

Bombs, Bongs And Dive-bombing

Some unusual jobs today, the first call was to a concrete company (which will remain nameless – no doubt they have better lawyers than I). We were told to meet with the Police and Fire Service at a RVP (meeting point). It turns out that some animal liberation types have taken offence to this company (rumour being they are supplying to concrete to a new animal testing lab), and have sent some deactivated incendiary devices to various branches in order to scare them. Today in three of the offices across London some 'suspicious packages' had turned up, and we were being sent to cover the defusing of these devices. Two ambulances, one Duty Officer, three fire engines and countless police were there, standing around the, now evacuated, offices. Our Duty officer started allocating 'Major incident' roles to everyone. I don't think he wasn't best pleased when I asked him why, when major incidents are designed to deal with multiple casualties, we needed to play that game when the only person in any danger in the now deserted office was the bomb disposal officer.
He sent me to arrange the parking of the emergency vehicles.

We were soon stood down however, when it was discovered that the 'device' was actually a packet of envelopes.

The next call was to two brothers who had fought over possession of a bong, with one brother trying to sell it to a third brother. Both we and the police were sent, when we got there both brothers had calmed down and there were no serious injuries. One policeman was confused about what a bong was used for, until I explained that it was 'drug paraphernalia'. One of the brothers told the policeman that he was selling it because he didn't use it – he much preferred smoking his cannabis in a spliff.

Luckily for him the policeman ignored this massive blunder (and me collapsing in tears of laughter at this idiot essentially confessing his drug habits).

Our next interesting job was to a man in Docklands who had a head injury caused by trying to avoid an attacking seagull. It turns out that there is a seagull living there who dive-bombs people passing by. This man had ducked the avian attack, then tripped and fell flat on his face, knocking himself out. He had only minor facial injuries, but the loss of conciousness will mean a short stay in hospital being watched. My old crewmate suggested that he sell his story to the newspapers.

The rest of our jobs were rather boring after this early excitement.

What Random Acts of Reality turned into