Sunday 18 March 2012

That's Life

"19 year old female, vomiting"

The ambulance service is no different to the police when it comes to 'one of those shifts'. No matter what you do, no matter what attitude you start the shift with, it is just a bad day at the office. Its non stop; everyone you meet is rude to you. People spit, people are violent, people piss and vomit over everything. Everyone needs carrying; no one needs hospital but want to go all the same. The shift drags and drags, when you look at the clock, already exhausted, there is another 7 hours to go. Passers-by are rude, hospital staff are dismissive, it feels like everything and everyone is against you, and no matter what you do or say it's wrong. Hitting your head against a brick wall is simply not satisfying enough. You find yourself accusing Murphy of being an optimist, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, and then some! Only when the shift is over can you draw a line under it, it was just one of those shifts. 

  • First job was a 22 year old with a headache; she wouldn't listen to our advice, refused to walk and threw herself on the floor so we ended up carrying her. She then complained because we had taken too long to arrive. The hospital staff asked why we had brought her in. BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO COME. That set the tone. 
  • We moved off to a grim part of town to a 32 year old with a twisted knee. He was an alcoholic. He was lying on the floor. He was 25 stone+. He wouldn't help with getting him up. He refused to try and move his knee. We carried him. At hospital he simply got up, and walked, without limp, to the toilet. 
  • Our next contestant was a MH patient. Suicidal and then obstructive. After 2 hours of coaxing we got her on board. A regular caller, known to us, the hospital and police. She had just been discharged. On arrival at the hospital the nurse in charge refused to accept her. The police had no units to send. The patient refused to get off our bed. We can't force her off. So we waited in the corridor for 2 hours. The hospital staff were extremely rude. What are we to do? Leave a suicidal woman who won't tell us her address, alone at night, in the street, screaming?! 
  • Now we went 10 miles further out of area to a 19 year old, unconscious. He was drunk. Lying on the floor. The FRU had been waiting for us for an hour. We got the guy on our bed and in the warm. He promptly vomited everywhere.
  • In unfamiliar surrounding we went to a 1 year old, unwell. The parents were obnoxious. They had called because the kid had a blocked nose. As if that wasn't ridiculous enough, they had already been to hospital and were discharged 3 hours previous with a prescription. As it was the middle of the night, no chemist was open so they called another ambulance to take them back. The mind boggles!
  • Now to a police job. It was literally 20 feet from one of our trauma centres. Our patient was under arrest and unconscious for assault. His victim had already gone to hospital. We were not allowed to take him to the same one but as he had head injuries and was still unconscious we had to take him to a trauma centre. That meant a long blue light run across London. I say unconscious loosely. We thought he was but he wasn't. No response to pain, took an OP airway, didn't respond to all the other little tricks we do. On arrival at the hospital when the arresting officer came into view our GCS 3 patient jumped up and started fighting everyone. We got spat on. 
We had had enough. There was only time for one more job. We had cleaned the ambulance again. All I wanted to do was go home to bed. 
  • 19 year old female, vomiting, intoxicated
My crew mate and I just looked at each other; Of course, what else would it be? A polite, little old lady fallen on the floor? Not a chance! Me and my crew mate have a great working relationship and have similar likes and dislikes. We also have little rituals we go through each day, music being one. We have various compilation CD's for different moods. As soon as this job came down, he shook his head and changed the CD. The song we played whilst driving through the empty streets is one we always play after or before a load of tosh. When things get too much it makes us feel better. It really does! Try it. Police, ambulance staff, nurses, Drs, in fact anyone having a bad day, sit down, turn up the volume, lay back, press play, and close your eyes. Just do exactly what the song says. Every time you find yourself flat on your face, pick yourself up and get back in the race. That's Life.

Frank Sinatra - That's Life


  1. There is one 24-hour pharmacy in London. It's address is:
    Zafash Pharmacy, 233-235 Old Brompton Road, SW5 0EA.

  2. hi

    thanks for your great blog

    i am a para based in the trust to the north of yours loving your choice of music

    any chance of you posting your other cd tracks?


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