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  • Performance art

    There is a road in our town. A very busy road. Famed for fast food, drugs, prostitutes and house clearers. If you were trying to drive down it tonight I'm sorry. 

    Well, I'm not really, but......You'll see.

    Emergency call said car versus pedestrian. It also said that the pedestrian couldnt speak English and he was complaining of an ankle.

    An ankle what? We werent sure. This is becoming more evident. The call takers are under so much time pressure these days to get the details of the call down that sometimes the grammer and spelling can be a bit.......eccentric.

    Anyway, we got there and found a man lieing in the middle of the road. Bystanders were everwhere, being remarkably well behaved for this area

    He was Polish and had had a drink but he was pleasant enough. His friend was a bit upset but was translating well.

    His leg was where it hurt. Scissors out, jeans cut, lump in leg. That looked broken. It was definately broken a few minutes later when he waved it about.

    We all winced.

    People kept wandering up to have a look. You can deal with them in one of two ways. Either give them advice regarding sex and travel or ignore them. I was going for the second at that time

    Anyway we got him loaded on a van and took him to hospital. Driving past the miles of traffic jam that we had caused made me smile

    Just a bit     

  • Parachute not included

    Gravity has been a problem today. 10 jobs and 3 of them were falls. Old ladies who for what ever reason had started a journey that  ended on the floor.

    Except one.

    Warden controlled flats. The warden had gone home for the weekend. We got in to the flat, calling as we went. She called out from the bedroom.

    In we went and there she was. Lieing on her stomach, on the bed, with her feet wedged against the wall. She looked for all the world like she had been skydiving

    Obviously She hadn't but thats what it looked like. I'm still not sure how she got into that position but we rolled her onto her back and got her to her feet.

    Easy.

    She hadnt hurt herself so we left her at home

     

  • The ever present danger

    The biggest danger; one of the biggest dangers of my job is contact with other peoples bodily fluids. Yesterday was a very near miss.

     We went to see an old chap who wasnt feeling very well. Initially we didnt get much information as he was staring into space and his wife,  how can I put it, had difficulty focusing. Anyway while I struggled my crewmate was getting on with some basic obs.

    The reason for him being unwell became clear. He had a very low blood sugar. It then transpired that he was diabetic. 

    We started on the sugary drinks because we both think that its less traumatic than sticking a needle in someones vein. 2 went down easy and I was starting to think that everything was going well and we might be able to sort it out there.

    Drink 3 went down and then came straight back up again.

    He was sick, although that doesn't really do it justice. He was Exorcist sick. It shot across the room, almost reaching the window. It was a bit like a scene from The Matrix, you know, where the camera pans round the action really quickly.

    There was no warning, he just opened his mouth and out it came. I was sitting next to him and my crewmate says that its the quickest that she's ever seen me move.

    We then decided to give him some sugar in the vein and this worked well. He became a lot more focused and we discovered that he had been sick before. This was obviously why his sugars were low.

    We took him in. Hypo's I normally leave at home but this time beacuse we couldnt guarantee his sugars wouldnt stay up we couldnt take the risk

    And yes we both escaped untouched.

  • Death thy name is Tree

    I've been working with Ceebee again today which has been brilliant.

    We got a job, an RTA, on a road that is quite well known to us at our ambulance station. It is about 10 miles long and is an old Roman road so is very straight with a few kinks in it.

    People tend to get a bit carried away on the straight bits and don't see the kinks. Anyway we went to this job. We've both been in the job for a while and we were pretty sanguine about what we were going to. To paraphrase it was going to be a non injury job or something a lot worse.

    We came to the scene and both said, in unison, "Oh F**k"

    The road bent round to the right after a long, fast straight. Unfortunately the car hadn't followed the road and had carried on straight. Hit a sign, knocked it over. Hit a post, knocked it over. Hit an oak tree and hadn't knocked it over.

    We both got out hurridly and went to have a look.

    To put it bluntly, the car was trashed. Inside was a single man. He was trapped by the engine, which had been pushed into his lap, the door which was wrapped around his side and the roof.

    Struggling in we discovered that he wasn't responding at all. He was breathing though. Oxygen on, airway in and check for a pulse.

    Bugger. There wasn't one.

    We were on our own. Two technicians. No paramedics, no firebrigade, no police. And we couldnt get him out.

    Bugger again. 

    Then people started to arrive. The firebrigade arrived and we got them cutting. A paramedic arrived and he took over care of the patient, trying to get intravenous access.

    Talking to the firebrigade it would have taken about three quarters of an hour to free him. By this time he had stopped breathing as well.

    He was dead. Reluctantly we decided to leave him be.

    I don't know his name. I know nothing about him but somewhere, someone was waiting for him to come home.

    And he wasn't going to.  

  • I really hope thats gravy on that plate

    Overtime today. Ive done a lot of overtime this month cos I need the money.

    Anyway, off to a village to the south of our patch, its virtually on the border with another county but we cover it. The message we had about the job didn't make for good reading and we both had the feeling that we would be jumping up and down on the old chaps chest before the end of the job.

    Elderly, alchoholic, grey in colour, not responding, shallow breathing. Not good.

     A responder car and a community responder had beaten us there. We walked in, or tried to because it was only possible to open the door a wedge due to the amount of rubbish in the way.

    We walked into a scene that I have seen more often than I think is proper in this country. Dust lay inches thick on ornaments around the room, rotting food lay on the floor, full an half full bottles of alchohol surrounded the old chap in his chair. He was small deshevelled and breathing heavily into the oxygen mask that had been placed on his face. His clothes were of indeterminate colour. Under the chair were plates that were filled with a brown liquid.

    The reponder told us that the chaps blood sugar was about 1.3. Normally an adults will run at about 4.5. We couldnt get a blood pressure or a pulse in his wrist. He was very cold. He was very unwell.

    The responder was a Paramedic so he was trying to put a needle in his arm so we could give him fluids and sugar.

    Talking to the district nurse who had found him we discovered that he hadnt been out of the chair for at least three weeks. Literally he hadn't moved in three weeks.

    He needed to be in Hospital. How to get him out? A surprising amount of this job is logistics and we conferenced to try and work out a way.

    A carry chair was got (by me) and the others cleared a route from his chair to the ambulance. Now wether we'd disturbed something or what I don't know but the smell hit us.

    A chorus of strangled coughs.

    The brown liquid in the plates wasn't gravy. He was absolutely covered in something very unpleasant. It had soaked into his clothes and into the chair and dripped onto the floor.

    The smell was now overpowering but we needed to get him onto the ambulance. We needed to lift him onto the carrychair. I, feeling charitable, voluteered to lift his legs.

    His trousers were undone and  there was the remains of a cigarette in his pubic area. It had obviously dropped there while lit, ironically the only thing that had stopped him catching fire was the dampness of his clothes.

    Lifting him onto the chair was initially quite hard as he was stuck to the chair. After we had freed him the state of things became more apparent. The chair was rotten.

    We rang the hospital to let them know we were coming and hot footed it. The smell was making all three of us quite sick. I was the luckiest because I was driving. The other two were looking quite green by the end of the trip.

    We got him there. He didnt die. But I don't think he'll be going home again.

     That is a sad story. That man has been left alone for far too long and has been failed by social services because it didnt happen quick.  We see things like that on almost daily basis so how do we deal with it?

    We laugh about it, we make bad jokes about it, we talk about it, we tell our colleagues about it and we remember. Whenever we meet again we will have that, and jobs like that, as a shared experience.

    Thats how we deal with it.  

  • The horde of the Pringle king

    1 am. Dark, wet, quiet. Apart from an ambulance on its way to a male fitting.

    Thats us by the way.

    We get there and struggle, as is so often the way in council developments, to find the house.

    Someone appears out of the dark, "IN HERE." he shouts.

    "Ok", says my crewmate

    "HE'S FITTING,"

    Bags grabbed we indicate to the man to lead the way. We head under a low arch and up some stairs that are full of junk to a room and a semi naked man lieing on the floor (Not fitting).

    "I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. SO I PUT A PILLOW UNDER HIS HEAD"

    "Is he epileptic?" asks my crewmate.

    "WHAT?"

    "IS HE EPILEPTIC?"

    I'm putting oxygen on him at this point. He is showing all the signs of being post-ictal. This is normal after a fit, sort of the brain rebooting itself

    The other man, who is very deaf, is shuffling about so we give him something to do which is writing down all the fitting guys details on a piece of paper. He picks up a leaflet and writes things across the print. The result is completely illegible so we send him off to do it again.

    Oxygen on its just a waiting game really. I take in the room and it is very cluttered but what really stands out is that it is full of tubes of Pringles. Hundreds of tubes of Pringles. Flavours I've never heard of, flavours I have heard of. Hundreds of tubes. He was obviously a collecter.

    The deaf man reappears.

    "Is this a council place?" asks my crewmate

    "WE USED TO BE UNDER SOCIAL SERVICES BUT THEY BEAT HIM UP SO WE LEFT. I'M HIS CARER"

    Trying to shake off the image of a social worker standing over him with a bloodied clipboard shouting "Give me some Pringles" we change the subject.
    "How often does he fit?"
    "EVERY DAY"
    "He has a fit every day?"
    "YES"
    "Did he have one yesterday?
    "NO."
    "What about the day before?"
    "NO."
    "When he fits does he have one or more than one"
    "JUST ONE. HE NEEDS TO GO TO HOPITAL TO BE CHECKED OUT"
    "We know whats wrong with him. He's epileptic"

    Anyway. This arguement was going round in circles but the guy who had fitted had come round enough to say he didnt want to go to hospital so we left him there.

  • Theyre all mad

    We were sat on cover at the hospital. We had had coffee and I was considering toast when control decided I didnt need any and gave us a job.
    "RTC. One male. Rollover. Possible entrapment" and then the address.
    The road was litterally 30 seconds away from where we were and was a quiet residential street. So a rollover was unlikely. But I've been wrong before
    And was again.
    We got there and found. Chaos.
    A car on its roof. Glass, oil, rubber all over the road.
    We could see a pair of legs sticking through on of the broken doors. They were wiggling about so obviously whoever was in there was still alive.
    I got on my knees to have a look.
    Inside the car was an old chap hanging from his seat belt
    There was an odd whistling noise coming from somewhere.
    "You all right mate?" I said. No answer so I shouted it. He fiddled with his ear and the whistling stopped.
    Ah. Hearing aid.
    "Yes fine. I can't get out" he said. The drivers seat was blocking his way.
    "Whats your name"
    "Ted" We'll call him Ted
    "Ok Ted. We'll get you out"
    My crewmate had got the boot open and it provided a perfect escape route.
    Ted didnt want to go out of the boot. He wanted to go out of the door an no amount of cajoling from us would change his mind.
    At that point the cavalry, in the shape of the fire brigade turned up. We unleashed them and they made short work of the seat. Ted was free.
    He had no pain and no injuries and his speed was quite slow so we were happy to walk him to the ambulance.
    We gave him a quick MOT while the police cordonned off the area and the fire brigade made PR announcements.
    My crewmate did his blood pressure and I could tell from her expression that something wasn't quite right.
    Teds blood pressure was sky high. (260/86 if you're interested). It turns out it was usually very high because he was a diallysis patient but we weren't happy to just let him go home. We took him to casualty so they could keep an eye on him
    So, what had happened? It was a combination of partially defrosted windscreen, dark road, another parked car and angles
    And luck of course

  • A new start (maybe)

    Seven months have passed since my last post. Things have settled down a bit at work. The ECA issue is sorting itself out, mainley because the management have realised that having a group of people on ambulances who are not allowed to care for people was possible not the best idea in the world.
    I've got a new crewmate. She is very laid back and We are having a laugh.
    And most importantly, I feel a bit happier and more comfortable than I have for a long time.
    So, I'm going to start blogging again. I don't know how often its going to be.
    But for the first time for ages I actually feel inspired to write things

  • Ahhhh!!

    The last night shift. Fortunatly things had calmed down a bit and we were just busy rather than stupid, smoking tyres, dehydrated and hungry busy.

    Theres been a slightly disturbing run of jobs involving things, erm- below the belt line. If you get my drift. I won't go into details but will just say that there are some things man is not meant to see.

    Anyway. Last night, or rather early this morning, we were hot footing it into the dark and rainy country side to a woman who had alzheimers and had pressed her emergency button saying she was in pain. Living on her own she was obviously in discomfort but other than that we had no idea.

    The information we got was that she had dementia, was deaf, poor mobility and was catheterised. No clue but it would be a challenge.

    We got there, let our selves in making lots of noise and turning on lights. I've found its the best way. The last thing that an old dear who isn't feeling very good needs is to see me suddenly loom over her out of the dark. After all we are supposed to make people feel better.

    She was in the front room, in bed. We asked what was wrong and she explained that she was very uncomfortable round the catheter.

    Catheters are a bit out of my normal remit but nothing ventured.
     
    Hers was a two stage setup. She had a bag that was strapped to her leg which stayed with her day and night. At night this was attached to another (bigger) bag into which it was supposed to drain.

    We checked the leg bag which was full. Not just full but FULL. The night bag was empty. Resisting the urge to dive for cover in case of explosion we turned the valve between the bags

    The leg bag emptied. The night bag filled (alarmingly quickly). The old lady had a bit of a Strongbow moment.

    She felt a lot better, not suprisingly. It looked like one of her carers had forgotten to turn the valve and she had been filling up since about 5pm the previous evening.

    We left her at home as I was pretty sure we had sorted her out but I thought a check up by a GP might be a good idea. The GP disagreed.

    Never mind

  • Tales of the Riverbank

    So there we were. At the bitter end of a really busy night shift, standing on a cold and windy river bank, trying to keep the rain out of the bits where rain wants to go.

    Why?

    We were looking for a man who may (or may not) have jumped in the river.

    We were getting to the point of the night where you are just begging control to leave you alone. We got a call to a small town to the north. A security guard had seen someone dive into the river and hadn't seen him come out.

    So we were there. With thousands (Possibly) of firemen, and thousands (possibly) of policemen, and two (deffinately) of us.

    The police helicopter was making a large amount of noise as they circled, looking for a heat trace.

    The fire brigade boat puttered about up and down looking for this man who may (or may not) have jumped in the river.

    We stood around. There wasn't a great deal to do untill (if) they found anyone.

    Time passed. More noise, more puttering. I think the helicopter people got bored because they went off somewhere. The police on the ground were asking around and quickly fastened onto a lead. They started ducking in and out of tents and voices were raised in some of them.

    Then a chorus of "Found him"

    He was in a sleeping bag and fast asleep.

    Then we all went home

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