Sunday 24 February 2013

Getting Schooled

"71 year old female, fall"

Elderly fallers are our bread and butter jobs. We do them day in and day out and unlike drunks, I don't get bored of them. They are always appreciative and more often than not it's a case of getting them up, making a tea, having a chin wag and leaving! Who wouldn't like that?! Sometimes of course they do injure themselves, head injuries, neck of femurs (NOF), hips and wrists. One slight saving grace, is as we get older, we feel pain less and less!

We pulled up outside the house, navigated the overgrown path and got the torch out to open the key safe on the wall. Key safes are wonderful things but I don't like them! I like that you get into the house when someone is in need, but I don't like letting myself into a dark house! It creeps me out! I always open the door with a very tentative 'Hello, ambulance' desperate to hear a response. Luckily, today, I got a response so followed the noise!

Lying on the floor was the loveliest of ladies. We were greeted with a huge smile and despite her clearly broken ankle she was full of the joys of spring. That was a good thing for me because at 1am on a Friday night my joys of spring were somewhat waining! We chatted away whilst we did what we do! Check for neck pain, pulse, respiratory rate, blood pressure, temperature, blood sugar, look at pupils, head to toe survey, check for pain down the back, assess the injury, check for a pulse in the foot, find it and mark it with a cross and place foot in a box-splint. While this was all going on, chat about life through the haze of the Entonox, laugh when she laughs, stick a cannula in her vein, give some morphine and when she starts feeling sick give an anti-imetic. Once ready to move, lift her up onto our chair, grab an overnight bag of stuff, carry her down the stairs, lock up the house, load her onto the ambulance, quick ECG due to medical history and off we go to hospital! Simple! 

Despite her blood pressure being very good on arrival, the morphine and dropped it a fair bit so we raised her legs on the bed. We wheeled her into the A & E department and 'offloaded' her (it's a phrase that makes her sound like a Tesco delivery but it's the term that is used!) onto the hospital bed whilst being watched by the handover nurse. I then went to give my handover, complete with a smile on my face. 

Before I continue, bear in mind the patient is in her nightie, her legs are raised and her left leg is in a huge, bright yellow box splint. It was pretty  obvious what was wrong, roughly speaking! 

Anyway, the handover, I put on my best smile and my cheeriest voice! 

"Good evening"


"That good eh?! 

"Right, what's the problem?"

"Ketamine overdose......." I said with a rye smile.

*cue the awkward silence and a death stare from the Matron*

Wow! If looks could kill! She glared at me like I had just drowned a kitten. Clearly I'd picked the wrong crowd to waste my best gags on! I'm sorry, THAT IS FUNNY! Maybe it isn't! Maybe I just think I'm funny! Surely though, a bit of light humour at an appropriate time isn't a bad thing. Obviously I wouldn't do it on a blue call or when I've got a patient who wouldn't find it funny but this one had a wicked sense on humour and shrieked with laughter! It's part of the job! If you can't have a laugh to cheer up your patients or a grumpy looking nurse, what can you do?! 

I completed a very mundane, highly factual handover, the nurse vaguely listened and then left. We bid farewell to are patient who was still smiling and very thankful and off we went. As we walked away my crew mate turned to me and said:

"You got schooled!"

That I did. And there was me thinking that laughter was the best medicine!


  1. Sheer brilliance, as ever! Want to bottle these for bad days!

  2. Glad to see your blogs are becoming more respectful & you are now laughing more with that at the patients.

    1. Unsuprisingly it appears that you equate deference with respect. They are two different things, I can only guess that you were once treated by those damn 'ambulance drivers' & despite your complaints didn't take off their clean boots when entering your house (or some similar nonsense).

    2. Anon of 0729 if you are going to judge Ella can you at least be open about who you are and your position so we can see how qualified you are to judge? Please?

  3. Sorry knobhead anonymous but Ella has always tried to use humour, when appropriate, but it must be hard to do so when bureaucrats, binge drinking t*ats, no care in the community victims take up so much of her services time, they don't need an attitude of the people supposedly on the same side.
    Ever heard the saying ''i'd of died if I didn't laugh''?

    Well done as ever Ella, keep telling it like it is


  4. Very funny. Almost as funny as the anonymous illiterate post above mine...... ;-)

  5. We've got a Sister like that in our local ED - but then I think everywhere has.. You just need to know which particular Sister it is... :-)

  6. Every A&E has a sister or charge nurse like that. I think it is some kind of equal ops diversity target or something.

  7. Love it Ella,most certainly recognise that 'type' of sister,the majority of us would have done as I have just done & definitely LOL x

  8. Perhaps she felt hard done by in the recent horse meat scandals and is a little sensitive to horse play and tranquillisers.


  9. I bet she'd just had enough of octogenarian party animals taking recreational horse tranquilizers for shits n giggles... ha can just imagine your naughty schoolgirl face

  10. At least she and 7.29 didn't make you write out 100 times 'I will not joke about patients'


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