Chair Bound or Lonely….?

December 18, 2006



A Nice Old Lady 

I was on the RRV last night til the wee hours of the morning. A very quiet shift for me though my oppo on the other RRV was run ragged! Did 2 jobs all shift! Did,nt need to do any interventions i.e. cannulation, defibrillation, intubation or drugs (on the patients, not me).

The first call was to a woman in her 80s who was stuck in her chair! I had visions of a very large lady wedged into a very small chair! Control asked me to go and assess and to call up for a crew if needed. Fair enough, off I went in search of the address which I found with my Sat Nav system. Knocked on the door and opened it and called out..”Hello, Ambulance service, anybody there?”

A voice called out from the living room. I opened the door to the living room and saw the lady sat in her chair. She must of been in a bad way….she was watching cricket on the telly!!! I asked her if she was okay and she said that she could not get out of her chair. She had no pains or acute conditions and did not want to go to hospital. She just wanted to go to the toilet…..oh joy!

I moved her zimmer frame closer to her, and moved the telephone from off her knees back to the other side of the room where it belonged! (bells start to ring in my cynical mind!). With a heave and and a pull I manage to get her standing on her own two feet and guide her towards the toilet. I wait outside to make sure that she gets back to her living room safely. After about 5 minutes, while I scan a cursory look at the photos on the wall, she comes out of the bathroom.

Its then that I ask where she wants to go now to which she replies “The living room please back in my chair.” I ask if she is sure as it is nearly one in the morning and the heating has gone off. Yep, shes sure. So I guide her back to her chair and surround her with the remote controls, medications, T.V. papers, biscuits and fetch her a fresh glass of water. All the time I am doing this I am thinking that she is going to ask me to clean her windows or paint her fence shortly!

With my last instruction/request carried out…the nice fluffy blanket for her legs, I bid my farewell. She was a nice enough lady, living on her own, fiercely independent and pleasant in her manner but I really do think she is pushing it by living in her chair. She must have got up to get the phone to ring for us so it might be that she just wants to see and talk to someone. A sad state of affairs in this day and age. Time spent on scene approx. 25 mins. At least she saw someone even if it was only me!       

Fat Chris is Dead……!!!

December 16, 2006

Shocked, horror struck and not a little bit taken aback with amazement……Fat Chris is dead! 


It has been reported that the death of Santa has been covered up for the past 6 years to prevent world wide panic.

  • Conspiracy theorists lay the blame at the door of the G8 Nations.
  • The U.K. Conservative Party lay the blame on the Labour Government.
  • The anti-establishment brigade lay the blame at the feet of the Police.

Inside knowledge gleaned from the man down at the pub who knows the cousin of the butcher who lives next door to the paperboy who delivers the morning Sun in the same street as the cleaner who works at the local library where she overheard two people talking, shows that Santa possibly died from passive smoking with all the chimneys he had to go down.

House of Horrors….

December 16, 2006

Reading someones blog the other day reminded me of a job that I went to some years ago. It was a sad job but not entirely unexpected. With all due respect to the anonymous participants of this tale I dedicate this telling……………….. 


The House Of a Thousand Limbs…

We were part way through our shift and looking forward to going home to our warm homes, warm beds and warm wives. The night shift had been the usual concoction of minor illnesses and ailments with the occcasional sprinkling of drink related details such as the “assault with a bar stool” and the “put arm through plate glass window” scenarios.

With not more than two hours left of the cold, dark night shift left we felt that we were on the home run. It had been “Q” for nearly an hour and it was fast approaching 5a.m. Nearly there! Soon be home! Can,t wait! Yes!

“No!!!”What the bleedin’ hell was that?” Awoken from a near trance like slumber, I was dragged back into the dark world of ambulance station alerters sounding their shrill, insistent cry of a squawking seagull having its head ripped off! We made our way to the vehicle and looked at the detail on the data terminal…”Male unco. ?conscious, ?breathing, possible sudden death, police informed.”

With the vehicle windows wound down to help us wake up a bit more from our temporary slumber, we made our way on blues to the other side of the town. The area we were going to was on the outskirts next to a winding river which was giving off an ethereal mist. (Think of The Fog by James Herbert, its easier.) We located the address pretty quickly and pulled up outside in front of an imposing Victorian house. The upstairs light was on and we could just make out a dim orange light through the stained glass window of the front door.

“Hello! Anyone there! Ambulance Service!”I called out as we levered the large front door open, its hinges creaking as we did so. No answer. Very quiet. Too quiet. I was confident in my approach down the darkened hallway which was lit in a strange orange, subdued light of some kind. My crewmate was right behind me…..was! Turning round to ask him what he thought of the situation I found that he had disappeared! “You %*&$ !” I thought!

Starting to question my confidence a little I made my way back to the door to locate my lost compadre. No sooner had I  reached the front door when a grotesque face appeared at the stained glass window, its shadowy features contorted in anguish and suffering! Its mouth, drooling wide open and its nostrils flared like that of a rabid dog! My heart was now in my mouth and about to go into ventricular fibrillation! My trousers were nearly full of brown adrenaline! And my eyes were finding problems trying to relocate their sockets!

“Whats up with thee?”My crewmate said, trying to stifle his laughter as he lowered the torch from his face. I was just about to explain myself to him via a size nine magnum boot to his shins when a voice called to us from upstairs. “Hello? Can you come upstairs please”? We made our way to the bottom of the stairs and stopped suddenly when we were confronted by a spectacle of unimaginable horror. The stairway wascovered in body parts with various arms and legs pinned to the dimly lit walls! Traces of what looked like blood, was smeared around the ragged edges of the cut limbs! 


Then a figure appeared at the top of the stairs….a woman, silhouetted by the landing light, called down to us again. “Up here if you please gentlemen.” As if hypnotised, we slowly made our way up the stairs towards the beckoning woman. Her features come into view as we approach her and she looks pale, drawn and with great sadness in her eyes. She reminds me of someone from an old black & white movie but I cant think who.


I cannot speak, as I am still trying to make sense of the macabre scene behind us on the stairs and in front of us on the landing where even more body parts are strewn around. Torsos of every shape and size lay either on the floor or are propped up sagging against the wall! The woman then gently takes my arm and softly speaks, “Hes in the bedroom,” as she leads me past the bodies and towards the half open bedroom door, “I think he’s gone!”

Once through the door I see straight away the person that we have been called to. He is dead. No doubt about it. “Rigor mortis” has started to set in and the “post mortum staining” is clearly evident. I turn to the woman and say “I am sorry, you are right, he has gone.” With this she takes a deep inward sigh and quietly sobs. I still feel apprehensive about the situation, my sleep addled brain trying to make sense of what my eyes are telling me.

“Ey up love!” My crew mate breaks the silence, “Wha’s wi’ all deed uns?” Ever the diplomat he points all around to the various dismembered bodies. “Oh those!”she says with a hint of knowing mischievousness, “I,m a sculptor, I design and make mannekins for museums and displays.”A big audible sigh of relief from two very worried and tired crewmates. “I should have told your colleagues to warn you but I forgot.”

The deceased person was the womans husband and he had been ill for some time. We were able to soften the blow of her husbands demise by reassuring her that he had died peacefully in his sleep and had not suffered. But what a strange setting in which to go.

My crewmate reminds me that the police have not arrived yet. He wants to hide behind the front room door and leap out with torch lit faces at them! I remind him that they are the Police and as such will probably have faster reactions and reflexes than us. Also they have batons and CS gas. And if they are as tired as us, no sense of humour.

We hand over to the police when they arrive and say our farewell to the woman. I am bushed, tired, knackered and the adrenaline has stopped, giving way to a desire to just get home and sleep. We are on double time now as we have finished our shift late. And my nerves are frayed with my imagination running riot and working double time at the House of Horrors!


And Another Thing…..!!!

December 14, 2006


Whilst I,ve got my Victor Meldrew head on, what is it with the blister packs in Strepsils?

When I have a sore throat, or a tickly cough “ah hem!”, in the middle of the night, I dont expect to wake up Mrs. Magic and half the street when I open up a pack of strepsils! I mean you could you use the blister pack as a bird scarer on airport runways its that LOUD!

Imagine if you will….tis the wee hours of the night, a light frost is forming on the already dew laden flowers in the garden. The night is still…cept for the soft fluttering of an owls wings as it searches for its prey. All is well, all is quiet. The moon gazes down upon the earth with its beacon of light casting shadows amongst the undergrowth. Nothing stirs, nothing moves….then “CRRRRAAAACCCCKKKKLLLLEEEEZZZZZ!!!!!!”.

Small hibernating animals two fields away scurry to find a safer place, dogs begin to howl the terrible song of the banshee, cats wail their screeching chorus of defiance, hundreds of lights flick on within the neighbourhood, windows are unlatched noisely as sleep sodden eyes peer into the night in desparate search of the miscreant who has dared to cast asunder the silence of the dark!

Meanwhile back in my house, I have to fetch the ladders so that I can get Mrs. Magic off the ceiling! My sore throat usually disappears but I think this is mainly due to the severe head injury inflicted upon my person by Mrs. Magic with a rolled up copy of the Ambulance Service U.K. magazine.


What Necks…..?

December 14, 2006


 Correct Scarf Positioning

I seem to be having a bit of a Victor Meldrew phase at the moment.

What is it with people wearing scarfs in a what can only be described as a hoity, toity, dandy, fandy, quasi fashion statement?  


Incorrect Scarf Postioning

A scarf is an article of material used for the warming of ones neck region during weather of a rather inclement nature i.e. when its cold. The said strip of material, hereon in refered to as the scarf, can be of many types of cloth. Ideally it should be woven from wool or a good hard wearing tweed. Colours can be bright or subdued dependant on the wearers taste.

But, and this is the point of all this pointless drivel, it should be crossed and folded from underneath the first crossed section. Not intertwined in some convuluted statement of architecture. Its a scarf to keep you warm, not high street fashion for Gods sake! 

Next installment….”Is skimmed milk just coloured water?”

Freedom of Speech….

December 13, 2006


I,ve recently read xfiles blog and was dismayed to hear that he has been getting grief off colleagues at work. I know that xfiles does not name patients, crews, locations or anything that might breech confidentiality.

If he has ruffled a few feathers then perhaps it is because those who feel agrieved have read his posts and recognised themselves. I dont think xfiles has defamed anyone and he has not gone out of his way to be confrontational.

So here lies the rub…like myself, like many others, xfiles has started his blog as a diary of sorts, a sounding board, a scrap book , a comment on our times. I have found it to be informative, theraputic at times and it has opened up a new world to me full of like minded people, not like minded people, funny people, sad people and every other type of person. So why have some people taken offence at xfiles blogging?

I can only put forward my opinions on why this is. Its not jealousy, its not vindictiveness, its not from a feeling of isolation, its not some form of paranoia seeing an underlying conspiracy. Its this….bullying!

When I first joined the Ambulance Service I was expecting to join people who were level headed and unbiased. And for the most part they were, and still are. But it soon became apparent that there was a culture within. This culture revolved around sexism, racism and any other “ism” you can think of. (You do need to bear in mind that in the service we do tend to use “dark humour” which is a survival instinct. Its to what degree does this affect your personality, your perceptions of others and your interactions with the outside world.)

A common theme within the inner culture was to never stand out, never try to better yourself. I was once almost sent to Coventry because I paid for myself to go on a course. A crime most heinous in the eyes of the old sweats of the inner clique. When I confronted the main antagonist of my seclusion he said that they dont like people “putting their head above the parapet!”. Over the years I have seen people ridiculed at every turn for showing keeness and/or enthusiasm and not allowing themselves to be lowered to the levels of the inner clique.

This was allowed to go on as it was seen that the inner clique were “good lads, a bit of a laugh, always up for a pint!”. I know that this applies mainly to the larger stations as the rural stations had a different mindset. What should be seen as friendly rivalry between crews/stations can turn into something more insidious. What large station does not say “we are the busiest!” and the smaller rural stations say “but we have a longer run in time to A/E so we do more with the patient!”.

Thats the usual banter up and down the country in every service. Its when people turn on each other without realising that they are being bullies thats the problem. Things that get said in the Ambulance Service would probaly get you the sack in other professions. If the Ambulance Service is not careful we will be going on “Diversity” courses the same as the Police do now.

I just find it abhorrent that just because someone blogs about something that someone else disagrees with they should be subjected to vilification or abuse. You, I, we have the right to be heard and it is a basic tenet of “Freedom of Speech!”. Before anyone says that the inner clique have the right to freedom of speech, they have, but it is not socially acceptable to be ignorant and definately not acceptable to bully.

I hasten to add that 99% of people in the Ambulance Service are well balanced individuals and I cant think of a better job to be in. Like everything nowadays its the few that spoil it for the rest!!

Rant over.



12 Days of Christmas…

December 12, 2006

I was going to post a razor sharp treatise on the ins and outs of the NHS and what the future holds in store for the pre-hospital care environment. Then I thought…..”naw, do it next time!”



The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the 12th. day of Christmas my control room did send to me:

  • 12 gents with chest pains,

  • 11 ladies a fainting,

  • 10 yobs with stab wounds,

  • 9 long bone fractures,

  • 8 pulmonary embolisms,

  • 7 kids with bruises,

  • 6 diabetic hypos,

  • 5 “Golden Hours!”

  • 4 blocked catheters,

  • 3 RTCs,

  • 2 epileptics fitting,

  • and a drunk leant against a lavatory!!!


Are we all in the Christmas spirit yet?



Booze Britain…

December 11, 2006


A rather interesting series of episodes on the binge drinking culture of our fair islands has been screened recently on digital T.V. To me it is just a rerun of all the jobs that I have attended at sometime or another in my career. To my wife, Mrs. Magic, it is a real eye opener. She is astounded at some of the antics that goes on in and around the drinking streets/establishments of our towns and cities. More than once I have had to explain that these are not isolated incidents….this is how it is on the streets (or in da hood!).

Firstly, the prelude to a “good night out”, is to start early at home with some friends. This can include knocking back a bottle each of “Buckfast” (a very potent tonic wine of the Scottish variety), drinking copious amounts of “Lambrini” (wine like lemonade which seems to appeal to women in white shoes and visiable thongs) and/or drinking plenty of spirits. As you would imagine some people are ratarsed before they even leave home!

Not content with getting as much booze down their necks in as short a time as possible, some even devise ways of absorbing the alcohol more quickly. One way is to “snort” the spirits through the nose (leads to faster absorbtion through the mucus membrane and bypasses the liver to a degree), and the other is the “strawpedo” whereby a straw is placed in the bottle and then contents are drunk very quickly leading to a quicker rush. It was interesting to see one lad who had vomitted 5 times already (once before he even left his house!), inhale his drink and then lo and behold he is ill again! 


What caught my attention in one episode was seeing a police officer actually arresting someone for being “drunk & incapable”! I thought I was seeing things….why cant this happen more often? I had my own preconceived ideas on this but they have now changed since reading “Wasting Police Time” by PC David Copperfield. A must read book! I did get the impression though that the police were trying to palm off some of the drunks onto either taxi drivers (who dont want vomitting passengers) or onto us the ambulance service. At the end of the day they should be charged a fee for going to hospital for a drink related issue or arrested and made to face the consequences of their actions! The drunks not the police.


Another thing that caught my attention was seeing an ambulance RRV/RFU running people home! Bollocks!! We have been trying for years to rid ourselves of this taxi image and here is someone giving the green light for drunks to think its okay to call an ambulance! Beggars belief!

But what else amazes me is….how much do these people earn that they can go out 3 or 4 times a week and get blitzed? We will see a massive increase in the numbers of chronic alcoholics and acute alcohol poisonings. What we need is zero tolerance for drink related crime….drunks/assaults/criminal damage etc. then maybe people will think twice about what they are doing. We live in hope!!! 


Eternal Youth…

December 8, 2006


Another job we did tonight was to a woman with chest pains. Nothing special about that…but this lady of 86 years was a breath of fresh air. To say she was cheerful would be an understatement. With all due respect, she was a game old bird!

She has had chest pains radiating into her left arm all day and kept putting off having to dial 999! She lives alone and her house is immaculate and full of souveniers and furniture from around the world. 

I asked her about her pains and we examined and treated her taking her blood pressure and 12 lead ECG (no ECG changes apart from slight ischaemia), gave oxygen, aspirin, and GTN spray. All the while she talked of her family and of her part time roles in two very famous TV soaps. After placing a cannula in the back of her hand we take her to the local Assessment Unit for further investigation.

She probaly has unstable angina and was peeved that she was going into hospital as she had so much to do. A very nice lady who I hope only has a short stay in hospital. Its nice to get a sincere thankyou from someone for a change rather than abuse.

Looking Through the Bottom of a Rose Tinted Glass…

December 8, 2006


Alcohol…killing our youth

 Our first job of the shift…called to an early twenties male on the other side of the city. Reported as being sick but with a psychie note attached to the data terminal message.

We arrived at the address and was asked in by a rather nervous young man. He goes on to tell us that earliar in the day he had run out of his house wearing only a dressing gown and knocked on many doors trying to get help. He says to us that he keeps seeing hooded people but with no faces, and that voices all around are telling him that he will die and that he keeps getting attacked on both legs by these apparitions and that it hurts.

We ask all the obvious questions ref drug use/abuse, alcohol or mental illness in the past. It transpires that he has not had a drink of alcohol for nearly four days. He is not sleeping or eating. He looks shit scared. He looks awful. He is going cold turkey suffering from alcohol withdrawal.

We calm him down and let his relatives know that we are taking him to the A/E so that at least he is not on his own. All his family are away so we contacted his gran. He needs help.

I know we all hate alcohol related jobs but usually its when its in the acute phase ie. ratarsed and belligerent. This is different. This is a young man suffering from chronic alcoholism…in his early twenties.

He has dreams and ambitions and wants to join the army. But first he must win the biggest battle against his adiction. He appears to be a decent lad from a nice family and I feel for him as we take him into A/E and other people, including an ambulance crew, look down on him because its “drink related”.

We are going to see a lot more people in the near future with chronic alcoholism who are in the prime of their youth. All due to the binge drinking culture we have now in this country! I hope he gets the proper care and attention he needs and gets to realise his dreams and ambitions.


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