Thursday 13 October 2011

Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door

"50 year old male, DIB, feels hot"

Working in the ambulance service gives you a rather morbid sense of humour, gallows humour if you will. You find things funny that normal people wouldn't. Discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal to you, death can be amusing and most situations the layman would find incredibly traumatic you laugh off without a second thought. That's life. It's a coping mechanism but one that rarely fails to disappoint!

We arrived at the care home and were taken to the patient. He was only 50, but had vascular dementia. Until 5 months previous, he had been a university lecturer in English literature at a prestigious university. Now, he was bed bound, couldn't talk, couldn't move, didn't recognise anyone and was simply waiting to die. His wife was sat by his side holding his hand. It was a very sad story but an all to familiar one. Life can deal some real hard knocks.

To cut a long story short, he was ill, ill enough to warrant a blue calll, ill enough to give us real concern. The trolley bed was brought in and we began assisting staff to put the patient into the hoist. Slowly he was lifted out of his bed. Suspended in mid-air, unaware of what was happening to him, we began turning him around so as to lower him to the waiting bed. However, during the raising and turning process his foot made contact with a 'Billy Bass'.

The fish sprung into life. The head turned 90 degrees to face us and started singing 'Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door'. The irony was too much. Despite every inch of me trying to stay the consummate professional, I couldn't. I started laughing. So did my crewmate. So did the carer. So did his wife. There were tears running down our faces and the damn thing just wouldn't stop. It sang like there was no tomorrow. It's head swinging backward and forth, mouth opening and closing in no discernible rhythm at all. We couldn't stop the damn thing either, and why?... because our patient was suspended from a hoist in between us and the bloody fish. Eventually we pulled ourselves together and got him on the bed. Billy had piped down by now but as we walked off he started up again. This time it was Bobby Ferrin's 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'.  A nice sentiment drowned out by the laughter. There is a time and a place for humour in our job and now was neither the time nor the place but what's a crew to do?! 


  1. I laughed out loud reading that. Members of the public would be shocked and or horrified reading I empathised and laughed

    I may just use that story in one of my classes, just to explain our coping mechanisms and gallows humour

  2. I couldn't convey the amount of laughter in text alone! It was the single funniest moment of my career thus far! Even the most straight faced, humourless jobs worth would have struggled to contain themselves!

  3. I love it. As soon as you mentioned Billy Bass I was PMSL! I'm not surprised you all started laughing. I love your blogs!

  4. Classic, Reading this just made my Saturday, Laughter is the best medicine at times.... funny how a sad situation can be lightened without even trying.

  5. ROFLMAO PMSL. That was too damn funny. I wouldn't have been able to control my laughter, either. Thankfully the family n caregiver had a good laugh, too :)

  6. Hahahaha oh my gosh.

  7. Oh my goodness - I had tears streaming down my face I was laughing so hard as I read this, what a classic!

    Two of my friends who work in the NHS pointed me in the direction of your blog - love it, will be following on Facebook from now on.

    Thank you for all that you do in difficult circumstances.


  8. That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. Thank you for making me smile, a great blog and the wonderful work you do.


I love comments! All bloggers do! If you have something to say, agree or disagree I would love to hear it! I will reply to all! (or try my very best!) If however, you're a troll, save your breath!

Due to an increase in spam I moderate comments but ALL genuine comments will be posted. See above exclusions!