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 . . .
My breathing quickened and shallowed. I was aware that I was becoming sweaty and that my arms and legs were feeling like lead weights. Tingles began to creep from the ends of my fingers through my hands and slowly up my arms.
Slumping further into the chair, I desperately tried to keep my head up but waves of nausea began to take control.
“You sure you’re alright Binder? You really don’t look well you know. I think we should get you to lie down”
“I’m fine . . . honest . . . ” I lied.
And before I could give myself in to a good old fashioned fainting, the HART* guys picked me up and ‘assisted’ me to the mess room sofa where I lay for the next half hour slowly recovering.
An hour after taking my first round of Post Exposure Prophylaxis medicine and I was reduced to a gibbering wreck whereby my “life” had just been saved by HART. Oh, the humanity.
Pic courtesy of @LAS_HART
Do you ever look at some folk and wonder how they do it? How they get positive recognition for something done over the rest of us. How they always seem to be in the right place at the right time? Like, there really is an element of genetic luck to peoples’ success?
And does anyone then wonder bitterly (like me) why it is they don’t!? I mean, if ever there was the opposite to the hero type mentioned above, then I am certainly it. I am the man with the anti-Midas touch. Murphy’s Law incarnate. An anti-hero at best.
Three examples immediately come to mind for this, some I have “touched” upon on previous posts. The last of which happened not too long ago and completely sums up my whole existence.