Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Paramedic practical

Well I have just returned from the one of the most stressful set of assessments that you would want to sit during an afternoon. There were two, one was a medical and the other a cardiac arrest scenario. I completed both and have found out that I have PASSED!!!! So now I have to attend an interview with the Training Manager, Training Officer and Hospital Consultant to see if I am a suitable candidate to complete the paramedic training course.

Fingers crossed!

YIPEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! :D

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Can't sleep

Well here I am, sitting in my dressing gown, Kal is in bed, fast asleep and I am wide awake, I can't sleep... I don't know if it was all the coffee, the nerves about my forthcoming paramedic exam (2nd part) or what, but I just can't manage to close my eyes.

I have felt this before, but tonight, no matter what I do I just end up looking at the ceiling of my room, Kal is there beside me, warm, cosy, all sleepy and there I am turning in bed fighting with the pillows feeling all alone. I don't want to disturb him as he is teaching in the morning maybe I am overtired. I finished nights on Friday morning and managed to get a good sleep I then met up with Kal and two other friends and went to laser quest then bowling, via pizza hut for something to eat. It was a lovely night I was driving so I didn't drink, everyone else was indulging and then it was an early rise this morning as I was teaching on the First Responder Course in Penicuik.

I arrived at 0845hrs in Penicuik with Kal in tow, more rough than I because of the mix of red wine and beer. The class finished at 1430hrs, popped over to my folks to visit then back to the flat for tea, eventually sat down at 2030hrs and watched some TV before making pudding at 2100hrs, coffee was flowing and now here I am at 0005hrs on Sunday morning wide awake and feeling totally fed up and probably slightly jealous that Kal can climb into bed and within 5 minutes of his head hitting the pillow is breathing heavily and off deeply in sleep!!!

Oh well may I will try a horlicks to see if that helps, but knowing my luck it wont!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Let your fingers do the tapping!

You should check this out, it is fun... Song Tapper, it is where you can find the name of that tune that is stuck in your head.

Now everyone knows that is a good idea!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

NIght shifts

Well I am working the full weekend nights this week and it has been a fairly eventful set of shifts so far.

Friday Night:

It started out quietly, with our first call being that of an anaphylactic female, she was treated with epinephrine, salbutamol and oxygen and transported to hospital for further care. Our next call was some 2 1/2hrs later, now this is unusual for a Friday night, but it sometimes happens.

The calls started to pick up and the night started getting busier, we were sent to stand by at one of the designated dispatch points and after being there for a whole 15 minutes we were winging our way to a reported hit and run on a busy street near by, 4 minutes later we are pulling up to be met by a group of excited people standing around a male who is lying on his back with facial (minor) injuries. The Police quickly arrive on mass and we quickly assess and treat the patient, placing him on a rescue board and securing his head with a rigid collar and head blocks, once he was secured he was taken into the back of the Ambulance and was examined further to see if he had any other injuries. This patient was lucky and he had relatively minor injuries. We transported him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary due to the mechanisms of his injury.

We were heading back after doing some 999 calls in Edinburgh and stopped to fuel up the Ambulance, as I was in paying for the fuel my colleague signalled that we had a call, this time it was a car that had left the road and rolled down an embankment landing on its roof with a report of 5 people trapped. When we arrived we were the second crew on scene and quickly found out from the fire service that there were only two trapped and a third patient in the back of one of the fire engines, my colleague went to check the person who was not trapped and I started to gather together all the necessary equipment for our trapped male patient.

Now picture the scene, dark slippery embankment with clio sized car on its roof, 8 firemen, myself and one paramedic all in the car with the two patients, it was like a Guinness book of records challenge for how many people you could get into one car... The male was eventually extricated from the car, placed onto a rescue board and with collar and straps etc all applied carried out and up the embankment to the warmth of our waiting Ambulance where we did a head to toe check to rule out any other obvious injuries.

The female was removed in much the same fashion and was taken to the other vehicle for a check over and she and the patient in the fire engine were re-united and both transported to hospital. Our patient was taken to the same hospital, I however did not travel, because the patient was requiring paramedic interventions en route (pain relief etc) I jumped on with the third vehicle which had arrived (bringing my replacement paramedic) and LS (paramedic) travelled with my colleague and patient.

Now by this stage it was 0545hrs and I was wet and muddy, once clearing on scene and updating the EMDC I was asked if we were able to do an urgent call or if we wanted our now long forgotten meal break.... as you can guess I plumped for the meal break so that I could get cleaned and warmed up.

Saturday Night:

This started out once again with us being sent out at the start of the shift for a diabetic male who had taken unwell whilst driving his car, when we arrived he was starting to respond to the chocolate that his father had given him, his blood sugars were still low so he was given an injection to raise his levels and we transported him to Livingston (St. John's Hospital) for further care.

Back on station for our vehicle check and once this is complete coffee!

The following calls were all relatively small in comparison to the night of car accidents, we did still manage to get a call that took us into Edinburgh and we were then captured for a couple of calls, one was a male found confused and wandering around in his underwear in the common stair well of his block of flats. We transported him to hospital to get him examined and to see if they could find out what had happened to him, as he was not showing any physical injuries.

We eventually got back on station at about 0400hrs and had our second break (tea and toast) and then got the chance to clean the outside of the vehicle and re stock for the day shift coming in. We were lucky that we did not get called out again and managed to finish on time this morning....

Oh well only one more to go then off until Tuesday NIGHTSHIFT!

Friday, January 13, 2006

What seat first?

This is the question I pose when working with a colleague for the first shift, it means what role am I fulfilling for the first part of the shift (work 12 hrs normally and therefore you change role halfway with your colleague to give them / get a break).

I asked that question today and was told, "You are in the back first" = I am in the attendant seat and have responsibility of the patient care. So it started well, kettle on after the vehicle being checked stocked and made ready for the road. Settled down in the reclining leather (ish) chairs and waiting on the phone to go... and waited and waited and waited.... zzzzz Ring ring! SMM, Nee Naw station (cheers Nee Naw for the noise!) It was the Police looking for information in regards to a call a few days ago, unfortunately I was not able to help but gave him the number of someone who could (The EMDC :) ). 1000hrs and the phone goes again, it is the EMDC Dispatcher booking us off for our meal break... porridge for both of us for our breakfast.... zzzzz 1130hrs Ring ring, Hi I have an urgent call (this is a call where a Doctor has been out (normally) to see the patient and has placed a time scale on them being into hospital for their care). Finished this call and cleared now in Edinburgh in the Western Triangle (You always get caught for a call when you clear at the Western General Hospital) and we are given the RTB = Return To Base Station, just as we are pulling out ... Do do doop! Another urgent call this time to go to Stirling Royal Hospital with a patient who is unwell and needs to be in hospital within 1hr.

We collect the patient, get her settled into the Ambulance and off to the hospital, upon arrival in the unit we are met with what looks like a scene from Casualty with patients lying all over on trolleys, sitting in chairs and relatives walking about, we are eventually spoken to by the nurse in charge of the bed in the hospital and she advised that our patient has a bed in a ward, now you would think this is good news and it is but not for us, we have to because of the lack of trolleys request permission from our EMDC to take the patient to the ward. This is not policy and when we advise the nurse of this she has a lot to say about the policy, we listen and then take our patient to the ward, explaining to the family what is happening.

We clear and are now returned to station for our second meal break (now 1530hrs), just as we pull up outside the station door Do do doop! An emergency call for a female who, when we arrive it turns out has been unwell for 4 months and decided that she did not want to wait any longer for her Doctor to refer her to hospital for an out-patient review of her chronic condition. We clear (now 1645hrs) and back for our second attempt of our second meal break.

Back in the station on the recliner again and just relaxing when (1800hrs) Ring ring.. Hi I have a fire call with persons reported inside.. Off we go again lights and sirens going, we arrive and park behind the 3 Fire engines and 2 police cars and make our way to the patient, who is a female not wanting to travel, we check her out and she still refuses to travel so we clear. Back in the vehicle we think 1830hrs and still a chance to finish on time, just as we get out of the village Do do doop, the same address that we have just been at, we call the EMDC to confirm if we are still to attend, they advise that a second patient has been found, so around the round about and back again.

When we arrive we are told that there is now a male with difficulty breathing, we check him and offer to take him to hospital for a further follow up and with this we also offer the original female patient the same again, this time she agrees so with two patients on-board we set off to the hospital. We eventually arrived back at station 45 minutes late and our colleagues were out in the spare, oh well hope they have a better quieter night!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I survived!

Well my first night back on after my accident and I managed to survive and not have a panic attack or prange the Ambulance. I was working with a female paramedic who, informed me at the start of my shift that I would be driving second half of the 12 hrs, which is what I had done on the shift when I had crashed. She was considerate enough to ask if this would be ok after we had checked the vehicle and had our cuppa.

I did have a few moments of ...."Oh my god I remember this bit... this is where..." and "Are the wheels sliding again?" but I am happy to say that I survived and hope that this will be the last time I feel like this when driving on the Motorway, but I am not sure if it will be......

This is what saved my life....

You can't see it that well, but this is the wire barrier that stopped me from shooting across into the other cariageway.

Wingardium Leviosa?!?!?

Wingardium Leviosa?!?!?
Originally uploaded by scotsmedicman.
This is the new moving and handling equipment, swish and flick!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Thanks for not hitting me....

That is the thoughts that were going through my head as I was being strapped to the spinal board yesterday morning, you may wonder why I was think this or even in fact why I was being strapped to a board, but it was because I was involved in a collision in my Ambulance returning back from a call as I lost control on the un-treated M9 motorway, spun 3 times on ice and collided with the crash barrier causing the passenger door to blow open and nearly ejecting my partner, who luckily was wearing his seat belt.

This all occurred at 0647hrs, 13 minutes before we were due to finish our night shift.

As we were sitting in the Ambulance we both called our respective “loved ones” to let them know what had happened, this was after we had placed a priority call to the EMDC informing them what had happened and that we were now facing on-coming traffic, in the outside lane of the motorway with only our roof blue lights working (Not very good considering the freezing fog gave you a visibility of 100 meters!)

The EMDC Dispatcher asked if anyone was injured and if we needed another Ambulance etc, we were both shook up and sore so we confirmed that this would be appropriate and that we urgently needed the Police to make the area safe. After several more phone and radio calls the cavalry arrived in the form of the Day shift at our station (I was never so glad to see the blue lights and flashing head lights of an Ambulance). They parked in the Fend-off position to protect us, put on all their outside lights to try and illuminate the scene and prevent any further vehicles nearly colliding with us. Whilst we were sitting waiting on the crew arriving we had witnessed 4 vehicles stomping along at high speed in our lane, heading straight for us and only noticing at the last moment that there was in fact a smashed up Ambulance facing them, they all managed to swerve to avoid us, both my shift partner and I had various moments of terror seeing this happening and we both discussed which would be safer, staying with the vehicle, belted in or getting onto either the hard shoulder or central reservation and taking the chance of being hit or aggravating any possible injuries further…. We decided to sit tight and pray for a quick response.

Once the first crew arrived, it was apparent that both of us were going to get the full treatment and would be collared and boarded as a precaution and because we were both complaining of neck / back and I had right shoulder pain. The second crew arrived and I was transferred to their vehicle for further care, whilst my colleague was secured to a spinal board, checked over and transported to Stirling Royal AE (Because we were facing that direction on the Motorway). I was given the same treatment, collar applied to my neck, placed on a board, blood pressure, ECG and Oxygen levels monitored, I even trusted my colleague who was attending to me to cannulate my arm and give me some stronger pain relief for my shoulder. I was taken on a strange journey to AE, when I say strange it felt strange because I was the patient, I was the one lying there being cared for and not being able to do anything but just lie there. When I arrived at AE I was undressed, examined and x-rays were taken, I had the AE Consultant looking after me, which was comforting, as I knew I was in very safe hands.

Throughout the entire process my Station Officer (Area Service Manager) was floating between me and my injured colleague seeing if we were ok and if we needed anyone contacted. My flat mate was the first to arrive as Kal had called her telling her what had happened and she offered to come to the AE until he arrived (Because the M9 was now completely closed and she could come via the back roads until Kal arrived by train). Kal arrived fairly soon after I had been assessed and was with me before I went for x-rays, My Station Officer went to my colleague to keep him company until his wife arrived. We were both given the all clear after our x-ray results had been checked and were discharged with information re ongoing care for neck / back pain.

I went home, via the station to collect my car, had a very long hot shower and a big mug of tea and went with Kal to Edinburgh to visit my folks, I dropped him off at his work (for which he was now 5 hours late) and spent the rest of the day with my parents being pampered and fed numerous cups of tea etc.

I met Kal after his work (for which he had stayed late to catch up on the stuff he should have done during his time in AE with me) and we had a lazy night in front of the TV with a Chinese take away and that is when it hit me, what had happened, what might have happened and how it could have turned out horribly different. I was glad to be safe in his arms, maybe a bit sore, but still safe….

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The vampire shifts...

Well I have been the lucky one and over the Christmas and New Year period I had the pleasure of working NIGHTS.

I know that I should be happy because I got to go up North to see Kal and his family and friends between the shifts finishing on Tuesday 27th Dec and starting again on Sat 31st of December, and I am, it was a very pleasant trip north, the food was good, the alcohol was even better but most of all the company was amazing. I come from a family where less is sometimes more... i.e. SMM Mum "How has your day been SMM?" Me "Oh ok busy with calls etc, managed to get finished on time so that is a bonus" SMM Mum "Oh that is good, so what's your plans for your days off?" and so it goes on. Kal and his family on the other had have discussions that go off on tangents and force your brain to actually work and it is wonderful seeing how they interact as a unit, the discussions, the body language, the knowing.... I find it challenging at times to keep up with the two or three conversations that are happening at once (Yes I know men can't multi-task very well...I am slightly better than most I think because I have to at work), but it is enjoyable, fulfilling and enthralling to be part of this and you are definitely made to feel welcome with your comments, but be prepared to explain why you think something, or clarify your answer to the questions that are being posed.

I always look forward to my time up there because of the atmosphere and the people along with the beauty of the place and especially because I get to spend lazy time with Kal.