Night shift: Four calls; one by car; one false alarm; one left at home and one by ambulance.
Stats: 1 Fall; 1 Flu; 1 Vomiting baby.
I had a brand new, first day out Paramedic with me tonight and the hope was that she would get some practical experience in advanced skills under her belt. The first time out with your bag is always a little nervy and I guess a trip out in the car was thought to be the solution to this. It was, but not for the proper reasons – we had a night of nothingness and the only mishap she had to contend with was when the car decided to try and explode on us in Regent Street on the way to a call. The engine began to smoke and the clues had been there all night – the smell of burning was quite strong at times but we’d assumed it was something else for some strange reason. So, my colleague abandoned the vehicle rapidly and began to take off the oxygen and other explodable bits as I attempted to make the thing safe in the street. There was no fire but that didn’t stop the ‘go to the aid of an ambulance that’s on fire’ report going out to a Station Officer who was sent to our aid. He was, understandably confused as he drew alongside us, sitting sheepishly in the unburnt and unexploded car.
In the end, and with no solution to the problem, I drove the crippled car back to station in the early hours and got a replacement (by means of pilfering another Officer’s car) for the last few uneventful hours of the shift. It’s all fun and games out here.
The first call, to an 84 year-old woman who’d fallen, was highly entertaining. She was a lovely, chatty, almost blind woman who’d been stumbling a lot recently. She lives alone but really shouldn’t. She’s the independent type though and proudly told us of her love of penguins and her long-dead RAF brother. Sometimes there is no clinical need for us to be with someone but the fact that we can chat and get to know another human being’s life history is a privilege.
The crew took over and she went to hospital because she was genuinely concerned about her well-being and wanted to be somewhere safe.
A 4 year-old with Flu did not need to go to hospital but I could tell by the mother’s adamant responses to my questions that she wouldn’t have it any other way, so we took them in the car. The little girl had only just been diagnosed and given Tamiflu; her temperature was high as expected and she could have got over it at home with the proper care and attention. Instead she was taken to a busy children’s A&E where face masks are scary things.
Then a 2 year-old who had vomited milk while sleeping had his parents worried and we were called. This time I argued them round in favour of not upsetting him any more than he already was and letting him stay at home, unless the condition of the child, which was absolutely stable, deteriorated. They got advice and a copy of the obs.
A ‘trapped behind locked doors’ call that had us waiting with a crew for police turned out to be the chuckle call of the night. A neighbour had called 999 when she heard loud music and was unable to get a response from the flat next door after attempting to get some peace and quiet. The music continued to blare so I guess the neighbour gave up and said the person in that flat must be dead or dying to ignore such persistent requests for silence.
Seven of us went to the door once we’d gained access to the main building (the caller hadn’t bothered to stay up to let us in) and one of the officers shouted through the ‘dead’ woman’s letterbox. ‘Open up, police’, he said. The door opened immediately and a very short, wide lady made a strange and illogical demand before any of us could draw breath. Two tall, fully uniformed cops stood before her and she looked up and said ‘Sorry but can I see some ID?’ It was hilarious. The door was wide open and we all had uniforms on, so unless, as my colleague pointed out later, we were the world’s most inept burglars or had hired costumes from a fancy dress shop just to visit her at 3am, this was a most bizarre request.
Her sense of security included opening the door fully before checking who was there.
‘Is the uniform not enough? The cop asked. Obviously not because he still had to produce his warrant card, which she studied without knowing what a genuine police warrant card should look like.
She looked cagey and defensive and I think she and her neighbour have an ongoing dispute. ‘There was a complaint about loud music’, said the cop. ‘Yes but I’ve turned it off now. Can’t you hear?’ she replied. The sound of silence (except for muted chuckles from us in the background) was testament to that.
Still smiling at the audacity of it, we left the dwarf woman to go back to bed but only after the cops had gone in to check that there was nothing amiss in her flat. There wasn’t but I bet she will have something else up her sleeve for her poor neighbours next time.