Sunday, 3 October 2010

The final countdown - part 2

My last day on ‘the car’ and it started with a drunken woman who was taken next door to the ambulance station by her son when she came out in a rash that turned into bruising on her arm. She’d never suffered this before and had no allergies or pertinent conditions, so I took her in the car after a request from one of the motorcycle paramedics who was at the station when she was taken in. It was quite surreal to turn up at an ambulance station on blue lights for a call in the station itself. Colleagues were a bit confused - 'you on a job here?' one of them asked.

The son, who was 40 years-old, told me they’d both been out partying all night (who goes partying with their mum at that age... or any age?) and the rash had erupted this morning when they arrived home. The bruising looked like someone had been grabbing her arm but she denied any physical abuse.

I left the pair of them in the waiting room. They spoke to each other like a married couple; very strange.

Yet another case of ‘don’t care’ caring when I was asked to check the condition of a 76 year-old woman who had been found sitting on her doorstep after being out. The carer suspected she’d been out all night and had locked herself out of her own flat but the patient strenuously denied this when I asked her. There were bags strewn around the front door and she told me she’d just come back from the shops. One of the bags contained tins of cat food, so I suppose she may have been shopping but I couldn't find a receipt to verify the date.

Apparently, the woman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, went out  last night with her dance partner for a bit of Rumba, or whatever it is dancers do, but it was clear that she’d been wandering around and landed back on her doorstep without a key. There was no dance partner - not still alive anyway, and her dancing days were long over.

I took her to hospital, even though she had no medical problem, because her carer was quite bullying towards her and the old lady wasn’t exactly stupid. She treated her like a child, grabbing the bags from her and telling her what to do, rather than asking her. I don’t like this approach to the elderly, regardless of their mental condition, so I got her into the car. She’d soiled herself anyway and I wanted to get her cleaned up – quite frankly, I didn’t trust the carer to do it.

‘Can I go now?’ the carer said impatiently as soon as I’d got the lady comfortable in the car. Obviously the caring business is rushed off its profit-making feet these days.

After dealing with a 19 year-old female who’d got her leg trapped in the doors of a tube train because she’d boarded it and decided it was the wrong one, so tried to abandon ship as the compartment closed, I was off to check the emotional state of a 62 year-old Spanish woman who was allegedly assaulted by drug addicts when she threw a bucket of water out of her front door (she'd been cleaning her stairs). The splash caught one of the loitering druggies as he and his mates huddled in the close stairwell out of the rain. He took offence, swore at her and threw a full bottle of soft drink at her. She then chased them around the block with her broom... and you don’t see that every day!

She took a risk though, you are more likely to get stabbed by one of these cowards if you try to stand up to them, so it was probably not worth the run for her. She suffers from asthma, so the police asked me to make sure she was okay before they left her; which I did... and she was.

She’s been told, sternly by her son and again, just as sternly by me, that she should keep her door shut and call the police if they come back again – she is not to go on a Rambo mission. In any case, the idiot who threw the bottle has very likely left his prints all over them - every thug I know is a complete amateur.

Mr Aneurysm from yesterday was in trouble today. I went back to the address and found him in a chair, with his smoking mate nearby. This time he wasn’t going to refuse to go because he looked like death. I couldn’t get a pulse on his wrist and his BP was too low to read. He was struggling to breathe but still as insulting as ever. I gave him fluids and oxygen until the crew arrived and they got the brunt of his ire – he was like this yesterday, so it was nothing to do with his current condition. And, for the first time, I managed to get the smoking dude to stop as soon as the oxygen came out - he either went outside and smoked or we'd all be blown out of the room. He understood.

Mr Triple A struggled as we got him into the chair and then we struggled to get him down six flights of steps – as usual, no lift was available.

By the time he reached hospital his BP was behaving and he no longer looked like a ghost. We may have saved his life but we won’t be waiting for a medal or a thank you note from him.

A RTC in which a cyclist hit a pedestrian ended the shift and my tour of duty on the car; the woman had a graze to her face and, by all accounts, was hit in slow motion as she crossed the road without looking but she told me she couldn’t remember the incident and when the cycle responder and crew arrived, she told them the same. She did, however, have the presence of mind to make a call to her husband as the police hovered over her, trying to get information out of her. She ignored them and talked to her husband. Then she handed me the phone.

She couldn’t speak English very well, the husband said, and she was ‘a bit upset at the moment’ – meaning she had things on her mind, which might explain her careless trajectory on the road. I wonder if she'd had a domestic - she had that 'I've just had a domestic' glaze over her eyes.

Well, that's it for now folks! I will try to keep the blog-fires burning here as I clear the decks of my million other projects. It's obvious that I will die a busy man but that's okay; it's how I'd want it anyway. I need to finish the books and get on with career stuff but I won't neglect the blog too long - so please check in regularly for new posts! Thanks for reading.

Be safe.


Anonymous said...

Hi Stuart,

Im applying for the paramedic science course at uni for next year. I have been reading your blog for a while now and it has been a big inspiration for me. I will mention the blog in my interview (hope that is okay). Good luck with the future and keep the posts coming!

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Thank you for writing !

Japh said...

I just wanted to say that no matter where you go in work or even in life as long as you're out there doing what you enjoy or at least are enjoying the small things I know I'd be happy knowing you're happy, even if you didn't want to update the blog.

You've already inspired me and will continue to be my inspiration and hero, no matter where you go in life.

Do what is right for you.


Fee said...

Very best of luck, I'll keep checking in.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for writing and masses of good luck for the future xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Stuart
I'm 2 weeks into my Paramedic Science course, your book (Life & Death on the streets) was a good starting point for my research before applying, and your blog has helped keep me sane and focussed over the 18 month wait I had between getting my offer, and actually enrolling with the uni (Due to them over filling the 2009 intake). It seems strange that after following your blog, just as I start my journey into the paramedic profession, you finish, or at least take a hiatus from yours.
Anyway, thanks for keeping the blog running, it's been an interesting read and a great inspiration.
All the very best for the future, I hope the dream of studying medicine takes off!

Anonymous said...

Best of luck,
Keep making a difference