A few months back I was made aware of rettungsfachpersonal.de – a high quality German speaking forum for paramedics and those interested in topics about and around paramedicine. Their user meeting was coming up in May, and I might be interested in coming down to Switzerland for a few days. Well….why not?
The meet up was spread over three days. The first day was more of a get to know each other day between paramedics and some emergency physicians from all over Germany, Switzerland, one from Papua New Guinea and yours truly from London. The interesting thing when meeting people in real life after knowing them only from a forum, is the need to establish a link between their online user name and their real name (and their face). Having been quite new to the forum I just had to get to know everybody, end of story. Nothing better than a good old fashioned barbecue then!
Set in a scout style wooden hut in the swiss alps (you’d have to be about 1.50m (4’11”) to walk around comfortably in the bedrooms), it was back to the basics: five minute drive to the next tiny village, luckily we had running water and electricity. But no comforts of a luxury hotel – wash up yourself, make your own room (i.e. bring your own sleeping bag for the 8 person sleeping room with bunk beds). I didn’t mind it, nothing wrong with making do with the bare necessities…we’re often enough used to it at work after all! Even the (very) near by (restless) cows with their bells around their necks all too soon became a background noise that I could easily zone out from.
The afternoon, the evening and the night progressed. Food was heaped on to the flames, drinks (kept cold in a trough) were distributed generously (but not too generously). Stories, systems, scenarios and studies were exchanged. Ideas and concepts were conceived, discussed, formed, changed and adapted.
After surviving a night bunched together with various snoring colleagues of various snoring intensities and various snoring intervals (with varying snoring rhythms and notes, including but not limited to: staccato, legato, samba, jive, E flat minor and G sharp), the late morning breakfast was just what was needed to wake us up for the afternoon, our visit of the Paramedic Service in the Swiss City of Bern, the Sanitätspolizei Bern…