“Yep. Admitted he had been a dick and had put the whole thing on, and was genuinely apologetic”
The officer was referring to a patient that, a couple of nights previous, had almost caused a mini riot and forced me to call for ambulance back up over an open mic, as Red 1 . . . for a pseudo fit!
A neighbour let us in to the patient’s flat and led us to where she was lying on the kitchen floor. The poor old girl had simply fallen and not been able to get up, and had subsequently been lying for over six hours.
Now, I don’t have much of a sense of smell. I put this down to constant exposure to horrible smells over time. And thus, when we stepped into the kitchen, the smell of faeces that hit me was like a ton of bricks to my senses.
My god! I thought. That really MUST smell bad if I can smell it.
And to make matters worse – that sneaking, creeping, terrible feeling of awareness started prickling at the back of my neck . . . .
We were going to have to clean her up!!!!
Working on a pre hospital emergency you can be forgiven certain etiquettes in standard procedures. Like intubating a patient whilst they’re on a filthy floor in a corner of a darkened room. But, as long as there is no ‘real’ harm done to the patient then it should be fine . . . shouldn’t it?
I opened the roller clamp on the IV Paracetamol and held the bottle above the patient’s head to watch the flow. But, instead of seeing the drips coming down, I saw the patient’s blood run vertically up the tube toward the bottle!
Ah . . . I thought, this is awkward . . .
Antecubital Fossa (ACF)
I was being ushered into the house by the patient’s immediate family. Their looks of grave concern was matched by their eagerness to get me to the patient as quickly as possible. This sort of behaviour generally makes up your global overview of what is going on and how serious the situation potentially could be.
I therefore decided not to make ice breaking jokes at this particular time and instead, took it as serious as the atmosphere dictated.
Inside were more family members, some of the older women crying. They all ushered me upstairs to where the patient lay on a bed, one hand clutched to his chest, the other wiping tears from his face.
The tower block loomed in front of me, like a gigantic mountain sized monolith. Due to a power cut, not a single light was on throughout the building. This just added to its dark and evil mystique. My eyes slowly moved up the floors searching for its peak. But against the dark London back drop, the building seemed to blend as one with the night sky.
Somewhere up on the 19th floor, someone had turned their ankle and was in “so much pain, they could not walk”. So, standing with my paramedic bag on my back and all the other essentials I always took into jobs, I prepared to enter the building.
“You going up there mate?” A young resident was leaving the building and had clocked me with all my kit. He was motioning up the building.
“Yep. Are the lifts working?”
“Ha! No chance mate. Nothing is. It’s all fucked yeh”
I looked up once again and did a quick calculation in my head. Within seconds I was sat back in the car calling up control. Sod that, walking up 19 floors with all that kit!
It was a late finish. Again. And as my student and I slowly headed back to station very little words were spoken. There was a numbness in the air that seemed to choke any delight that would normally be taken in witnessing such a beautiful sunrise over the city.
As we rounded a corner the blinding golden light of the climbing sun spread across us like a wave of warm tropical surf. Turning on the radio to break the awkward silence, Bob Marley’s song, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” sprung into life.
And, as the dawning of the new day poured its beginnings across the waking city I reflected painfully on the job we’d just done . . .