Friday, 29 June 2012


"29 year old female, burn to the face"

Before I tell you about the job, I think I should share a few stories from my life thus far. 


It is the first time that I can actually recall being in pain. I was on holiday with my family and some family friends in a villa in the south of France. There was a pool, a big garden, and I remember playing with an inflatable ball and a basketball hoop in the pool for hours on end! Despite my parents' best efforts to keep me covered in sun cream, my refusal to get out of the sun resulted in me having a very burnt back and face. OUCH!! What was this?! This was serious pain! The incredible cooling effect from the aftersun was short lived and I sobbed at every given opportunity until it had blistered, peeled and healed. 


My first proper school trip. I went on an expedition to Kenya for 10 days. The teachers were hot on sun cream and for the most part I complied. That was, until the penultimate day. No excursions, just a relaxing day with my friends in the hotel. We spent the day mucking around on the beach and in the pool. Having no teachers pestering us about sun cream meant I was rather slack with application! The result... I woke up the next morning in agony, hardly able to dress, blisters on my shoulders and neck and yet another lesson learnt!


GCSEs were over! My first holiday abroad with friends and no adults! I didn't even pack suncream! Off I went to Europe for a few weeks travelling. Any part of my body not covered got burnt and I didn't really care! I looked like a lobster the second I step out of a shadow so it was no surprise I was covered in patches of bright red. It hurt, I moaned about it, I applied aftersun, and did the same the next day. 


My honeymoon in South Africa. You should know the drill by now. A week on safari, left arm hanging out the window holding the camera and sure enough, my entire left side got burnt. It hurt. I applied aftersun, it peeled and it healed!


I climbed Mount Snowdon in Wales. It was a baking hot day and I spend the entire time with my back to the sun, clambering up rocks. I applied sun cream every time we stopped! How sensible of me! We made it up and down again, got in the car and drove home. Five hours later I tried to get out of my car and could hardly walk! I forgot to apply cream to the back of my legs. Doh! I couldn't stand up straight, I couldn't wear trousers or socks! It blistered, it peeled and it healed! 


I was a grey, overcast day; it had been raining on and off for the last 4 days. It was raining now in fact. I was sat in my ambulance watching the world go by when I got the call. A burnt face! This could be nasty! We headed round to the address and were met at the door by the patient. There were no obvious burns or scalds though her face was slightly pink; more so on her nose. 

"What's the problem today?"

"I have burnt my face"

"Oh right, how did you do that?"

"I think I was in the sun for too long yesterday?"

"Oh, so it's sunburn?!"


There was an awkward tumbleweed moment where I didn't know what to say and she didn't add anything to her admission to calling an ambulance for sunburn. What could I say?! All I could think in my head was 'where in god's name was the sun?!' because I sure as hell don't remember it! I went with:

"Is it just on your face?"

"Yeah, I think so"

"What were you hoping we would do?!"

"Can't you give me some aftersun or something to take the pain away? It feels like my face is on fire"

"No. We don't carry aftersun"

"Do you think I should go to the hospital?"


I am unable to say what I think when faced with these people; I genuinely don't understand the mindset. How does the thought 'I have a slightly sunburnt face, I must call an ambulance' enter into someone's head? I can't lecture them, I can't refuse to attend; I just have to turn up, be nice and advise alternative means to get treatment. This was the first time I have 'referred to Tesco' as a treatment plan. I often say how nothing amazes me anymore, and in the main it doesn't, this however did; had I really just been to someone because they had sunburn?!

My reason for sharing my sunburn experiences was simple. We all get burnt many a time. We burn, we blister, we peel and we heal. That is how it rolls. However, like me, WE DON'T CALL AN AMBULANCE!!!!!!!!


  1. Hehe this job just is typical LOB, I can't believe people still think they should ring 999 for this crap, ever. You need to sort out your suncare though luv, it's bad for wrinkles ;)

    1. Oi! Less of the wrinkle gags! It was typical LOB!

  2. OMG! Seriously?? That is all.

  3. I can't believe somebody would phone an ambulance for sunburn! That's ridiculous.

    1. Yep! They do! And they don't see the problem!

  4. I agree with you & Katarina's comment - what is the world coming too *shakes head* is it something the Tories have put in the water or the long-term effects of too much booze or herbal cigarettes?

    I'm going to have to tell more folk abou this blog that is just so unreal and you and your colleagues are doing so well at coping with it all.

    1. I think you are right! Its the booze and herbal cigarettes!

  5. Used to work for nhs direct as a dental nurse advisor....if I had a quid for every dental patient who had called an ambulance for toothache/broken tooth/bleeding gums .......I'd be rich!

    1. I always ask what they think an ambulance can do for teeth!


    Mammywoo x

  7. then some of us go the opposite extreme...I called NHS direct 1st January, a bank holiday and a sunday....had taken a reaction to something, took prednisolne and piriton and it didnt help - I was struggling to breath. Was hoping they would say come up and we will nebulise you, knew what I needed....but no took all my details and kept me on the phone, wont say talking cos I could not string 3 words together until they got an ambulance to me incase I deteriorated. I live ( at a sedate drive) 4 mins from doctors on call and had somebody here who could drive me. Talk about feel silly when they turned up, but they were lovely but gave me a row for not phoning 999 direct,

    1. Always call us for that! I would tell you off lol!

  8. years ago we didn't use sun cream we used olive oil and used to literally fry in the sun. Occasionally one or other of us would get a bad burn but ambulances weren't even thought of. Suffer and learn. We all survived. Eric

    1. I glad you survived! Thanks for the comment!

  9. Not everyone survives, Eric.

  10. I know exactly what you mean about the tumbleweed moment! It's this few seconds of "I have absolutely no idea what to say to you because I cannot comprehend you have called an ambulance".

    1. I think it is the delay while you lift your jaw off the floor!

  11. I can't believe any pillock would call an ambulance for sunburn! They walk the earth....

    I've been sunburned many a time, but the most embarrassing time was when I fell asleep on Brighton beach wearing a swimming cozzie. Being the clumsiest bugger alive, I'd managed to fall asleep with my arms behind my head and my legs slightly akimbo. Not only did I have burnt armpits, but also my inner thighs were several shades of Swan Vesta. The walk back to the train station was an 'interesting' one, and the laughs from my boss when I rang in sick to my very new job and told them I could barely walk and couldn't put my arms down... (or wear a bra!) That took a while to live down. Now it's Factor 30 all the way.

  12. what you could do with is a special leaflet to hand out at times like this...something titled like "did an idiot call an ambulance" with a list inside maybe along the lines of
    run out of calpol=idiot
    no medecine spoon=idiot get the idea. i'm positive you can supply a far more comprehensive list. and maybe with the cost of an idiot call in big letters at the bottom.
    shame you cant send a bill.

  13. what you could do with is a stock of leaflets to hand out at times like this...maybe titled along the lines of..."is your medical emergency that you are an idiot?" or something snappier. inside it could just be a list. something like
    run out of paracetomol?=idiot
    broken medicine spoon?=idiot
    etc get the idea and i'm positive that you could come up with far better examples. in huge letters at the bottom should be the cost of the wasted call. of course the best thing would be for you to be able to just call the caller a fuckwit.


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