Actions Rather Than Words…!



Went to a nursing home, one of the better ones for a change, to see a lady in her eighties who was experiencing breathing problems. Once we were shown to her room it was easy to hear her chest as the noise was reverberating down the corridor!

She was hot and had a productive cough with plenty of green sputum saved in bowls and tissue by the nursing staff to show us. Thanks!I think it was pretty safe to say that she had a chest infection. We put her on some oxygen and placed her on the monitor and did some base line obs…resps, pulse, ECG, BP, O2 sats, GCS, BM etc.

She was struggling to breath so we replaced the oxygen mask with a nebuliser and administered Salbutamol. Within minutes her breathing settled down and she could talk with us although still not in full sentences. The nursing home sister on night duty gave us copies of the patients notes and list of medications as we carefully placed her on our carry chair and took her out to the vehicle.


Once we had settled the patient onto our stretcher she piped up…”wheres me teef?”…and before we could answer…”and wheres me readers?”. I jumped off the vehicle and              caught the sister before she went back into the home and asked about the patients             teeth and glasses. She turned round and asked one of the night staff to go to the patients  room and fetch her teeth and her glasses. This took two or three goes as the member of    staff was foreign and so his first tongue was not English.                                                           

And so we waited…and waited…and we waited a bit more. Eventually the member of staff came into view…with a tray…holding a cup of tea and a couple of empty glasses! The sister went purple…then red…then blue…then a sort of incandescent shade of pink! I thought her head was going to explode but she remained tight lipped and bit her tongue as she tried to formulate words to express her dismay. I quickly stepped in and using a combination of pointing to eyes and mouth and drawing pictures in the air I sent the member of staff back to fetch the patients false teeth and reading glasses.                 


I was really trying very hard not to piss myself laughing!





13 Responses to Actions Rather Than Words…!

  1. Arwen Lune says:

    This made me grin and go “aww” all at the same time… here the poor night staff member thought to be helpful!

    I’m a new reader, by the way. Have read your backlog and enjoyed it a lot. Be sure to give us regular updates about SWAB – I laughed my head off when I was reading about it.


  2. uphilldowndale says:

    Made me laugh out loud, not a problem except I was in the university library at the time

  3. Kingmagic says:

    SWAB are away on exercise at the moment but are due back shortly.

  4. ha ha ha it sounds like something straight out of an Ealing comedy!!! heh priceless

  5. Fabulous.
    Did you drink the tea? I would have done.

  6. Iain MacBain says:

    Made me laugh and I like to laugh.

  7. This was actually quite funny…sounds like something straight out of Fawlty Towers. Were I there, I’d have expected the sister to slap the member of staff like a crazed Basil Fawlty 😛

    And the nursing staff saved her sputum for you? How thoughtful of them. Way better than some nursing homes where the staff couldn’t care less if granny kicked the bucket or not.

  8. Kim says:

    made ma laugh, how did you keep it together?!

  9. Lucy says:

    Love it.

    There should be a special diagnosis for healthcare providers entitled “Speechless through dumbfoundedness”. It would encompass a brief period of eye rolling and oral movements with no sound; be followed by the ability only to use fractured and incomplete words before a torrential outpouring of verbosity and including a selection of expletives and the phrases “Honest to God” and “You would think…” Recovery will normally be possible but post traumatic relapses are likely to occur on nightshift and on staff nights out when the sufferer will feel the need to relive the whole experience to an appreciative audience of similarly affected individuals who have their own tales to tell.

    Or is this just the outings I go on…..


  10. kingmagic says:

    I did feel sorry for the care home staff member as it was an honest mistake and he was only trying to do his best.

    I like this particular care home as the staff do seem to care and know their residents well.

    I,ve noticed more nursing/care homes taking on staff from Poland, Romania etc. and most are good english speakers but having mastery of a second language does not mean that they will have a mastery of common sense.

    I held it together until I got outside and then laughed my socks off and told my crewmate who struggled to keep the vehicle on the correct side of the road all the way to the hospital. All I could hear was the sound of sniggering and chortling from the cab.

  11. uphilldowndale says:

    So often the patient feels ‘naked’ with out their teeth in.
    I remember one patient insisting he had his ‘best teeth, the white ‘uns.’ In before he was willing to be taken out to the waiting ambulance.
    The paramedic went off to the bathroom to find them and reappeared with three dental plates,
    ‘Which would you like? He asked ‘top, middle or bottom’
    It raised a gummy smile in the old boy; the brightest whitest one were selected, and off he went, a happy and dignified man,

  12. gjmoomin says:

    Love it! I’m one of those sisters and some days its unbelievable how many smile or growl moments one can have in a 12 hr shift, both from residents and staff. How the hell do you think we cope with the job otherwise. Only just linked to you from the paramedics diary. I’ll be back…..

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