Thursday 8 March 2012

One Night

"82 year old male, fall"

This job throws up surprises all the time. You meet some horrible people, some lovely people and some strange people. You see the best in people and the worst. You see greed, compassion, anger and happiness. You see life end and life begin. Every shift is different and offers something new. Most days, I don't remember most of the people I see but sometimes there is the odd person who sticks with you. There are jobs you will always remember. Your first job, your first cardiac arrest, you first trauma, your first HEMS job and your first baby delivery. They are jobs that mean something to you, that in a way define your career and define who you are as a clinician. It is important to learn from the good and the bad that any job has to offer. 

We were sent to a warden controlled housing block for a regular faller. He was a lovely guy. He was already up off the floor by the time we arrived and not injured but as he was having spells of dizziness we thought it best to pop him up to hospital. We did all our checks and loaded him into the ambulance. He was a Jamaican man with a fantastic accent and a huge personality. He was a real gent, desperate to pay us for helping him but obviously we refused. We chatted for a while whilst I did my paperwork, him telling me about his 40 years in England working for the NHS. In the background was a compilation CD we had been playing. 'One Night' by Elvis started playing and he got so animated!

"Turn it up, turn it up, me loves this song"

He started singing in a tone very similar to that off Louis Armstrong! He had a lovely voice. There was a real sense of joviality in the back of the truck. I joined in with the singing as did my crew mate! It was like Ambulance Karaoke without a microphone. God knows what anyone standing outside must have thought! Everyone was smiling, me and my crew mate were in stitches! The song ended and we left for hospital, serenaded all the way to the likes of Elvis and Sinatra. I just sat there watching him take so much joy in singing along. Here was a lonely man with no family who spends day after day sitting at home with only himself for company. Anyone could be forgiven for being miserable but he wasn't. He was having the time of his life. Maybe it was proof that he didn't need hospital but I didn't care. Surely this is what it is all about. Making a real difference in someones day. It is one of the magic moments I will look back on as a highlight of my career. Priceless!

Elvis Presley - 'One Night'


  1. What a lovely gentleman, I think sweet old guys get me even more than cute kids do, lovely!! Beautifully written piece and hope you have more epic shifts like this to come!

  2. There is the catch! It wasn't an epic shift! It was long, we were late off, it was busy, cold and raining. Most patients were rude and complete time wasters. This one was the diamond in the rough that cancelled out the rest of the dross! Makes it worth it though! Living the dream!

  3. I caught up with the crappy stuff afterwards :( not good, but least this highlight will outlast the rest of the rubbish x.


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