Every fifth week of my five-week rota, I am given two days of ambulance work. That is, in order to keep my skills up, I crew up for two days on a proper ambulance. All of the FRU pilots have to do this now but, personally, I feel no benefit from it.
For example, the last two days that I did recently comprised one day on an ambulance that was impossible to find at first because all the vehicles were being used, so I had to ‘create’ one from a shell (an empty vehicle). I transferred equipment from one old bus to the other in order to get me and my crew mate on the road and in commission. No sooner had we started, however, than we hit problems.
We got one emergency call for a simple scalp injury and the sirens packed up on the way there. I had to suggest through blue lights and sign language that the cars and trucks and buses in my way should allow me through. Luckily, it wasn’t a life or death situation and the vehicle was taken off the road immediately after we delivered the man to hospital. Embarrassingly, as we set off, the back doors decided not to work and I couldn’t shut them. My crew mate had to manipulate them from the inside. Mr Brown, please can we have some more money for workable ambulances?
That was it for my first shift. I was single soon after that and had nowhere to go.
The next day I was back on a FRU (and this is usually the case when they can’t get me crewed up on these days) but there were plenty of other FRU’s around and so I did one job again all shift. I’m not complaining; the rest was good and I got to do some studying and other stuff.
The call was to a 33 year-old man who was vomiting blood in a public toilet at a train station. The crew were there with me but we couldn’t find him, so we searched around until I spotted the loos across the road. I walked in to the Gents and called out for an answer from the only cubicle that was occupied.
‘Did you call an ambulance?’
‘Yes’ came the muffled reply.
He took forever opening the door and by that time, the crew were in the toilet too, one of them is female, so the bloke who walked in to pee made sure his back was wider for the occasion.
I remember a call I attended years ago in Soho, where a guy was throwing up and in a collapsed state in the Gent’s toilet of a club. I walked in to find a female paramedic dealing with him in the cubicle and a long line of men standing at a wall of urinals, looking in her direction. Some of them were smiling. If it was moral, or legal, the photograph would have been priceless.
End of digression. That was my day. No more jobs came my way after that and I got another peaceful shift. In that respect, I’m glad of the change from FRU to ambulance detail. I may be tempting fate just recording it.