Sunday, October 29, 2006

How refreshing

Signal 1 call to a suburban doctor's surgery for "chest pain". Found the patient in a quiet room, with somebody looking after him, on oxygen, a 12 lead ECG completed, cannulated with pain relief and nitrates being given. And to cap it all off, there was a doctor in attendance who was calm, gave a good handover and didn't appear impatient to go running off to attend to the crowd in the waiting room. I was stunned.

Sigh, so young and so jaded already....

This really restored my faith that there actually are some quality doctors out there who are working in their patient's best interests. I mean of course they are out there, but we so often seem to go to the dud ones. Anyway, I was chuffed and thanked the doc repeatedly. Maybe I overdid it, but if she thought I was a tool, she did a good job of hiding it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A real winner

We met a deadset winner today. A hero. A legend. The kind of guy any of us would love to have as a neighbour. After drinking biblical amounts of Woodstock cans all day - oh for those who aren't familiar with this particular special brand of pre-mixed spirits in a can, all I can say is get out there buy yourself a box of 'em and sit there on a plastic milk crate drinking the lot until you too become a champion. Tip: You can also use some of the cardboard carton to make the overturned milk crate more comfortable to sit on.

Anyway, I digress. Our winner soon started a verbal debate with the neighbours and then when he'd drunk enough to put Mikhail Gorbachev on his ear, he jumped in his car to drive up and down, and up and down the street showing his prowess at doing burnouts. The tyres eventually flamed out and he crashed into a fence - it had nothing to do with his well-hidden and unsung talents as a racing car driver, I guess there must have been some oil on the road.

Not yet done, he then started a fight with the people whose fence he'd hit. But true heroes don't give up that easily. Our champion also suddenly announced that he was a martial arts expert and wanted to demonstrate his talents on the police when they arrived. He got rugby-tackled and a lovely set of steel bracelets for his efforts. Finally he abused and spat at all the emergency services people who came to sort out the mess, demanding a victory cigarette from anyone in earshot. If I was a winner like him, I would probably want my victory cigarette too.

As he was chauffeur driven away in the back of the Police van I was buoyed by the fact he was still calling out to his fans and giving us directions. I thought it was a nice gesture that even though he was a hero, he hadn't forgotten about us, the little people. The wannabe heroes.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The startle reflex

I was lying on the couch at about 4am this morning. It was peaceful at the branch except for the faint white noise from the air-conditioner. Anyway, I got to thinking about how we get so used to seeing bizarre stuff, so overstimulated, that if someone’s head opened up in the back of an ambulance and the Queen floated out riding a bicycle, we’d probably not bat an eyelid and instead write it down on the case sheet in that matter-of-fact way; “04:02 am: Patient’s head spontaneously opened revealing small Royal figure on 2 wheeled vehicle. Patient displaying no apparent ill effects”.

On the one hand we are desensitised by the job, and not easily surprised - and on the other hand the slightest beep from a mobile phone, an MDT or a SelCall and your heart is racing and you are wide awake (mostly). I was recently standing behind someone in the post office when their pager went off and it had the same physical reaction on me as if I was at work. That constant stimulation of the fight-or-flight reflex just can’t be good for you.

Actually I just remembered about the rather enthusiastic young ambulance student who turned up at the branch with an Ambulance siren as the ringtone on her mobile phone. By lunchtime on her first day I think someone quietly took her aside and made some suggestions, before she was lynched by the crews at branch.