…continuation from part I…
We are sent to out to standby at one of the fire stations, one of the ‘serviced’ standby points. I has an annexe for a crew on stand by: couch, recliner, tv, kitchen corner. Unfortunately, the corridor to the toilet is creepy and eerily dark, which meant I had to engage stealth mode as I crept towards the loo door, wary of any supernatural powers that may be stalking my person. A single sound would have cut my journey short, resulting in wetting myself in sheer horror, thus eliminating the actual need to go to the toilet anymore. Not a good look.
Luckily nothing attacked me, and after done deed I safely returned back to the safe glow of the telly.
A great thing about meeting and shadowing a blogger like Kal is that you get to know the person before meeting them. A few times when Kal started to tell me something, I was able to continue the sentence for him. At first a little creepy maybe when a person you have never met from 15000 kilometres across the globe knows a fair bit about your life, but then Kal realised he had shared those particular tidbits online at some time in the past.
A call for abdominal pain comes in. My first experience with Nitrous Oxide, and I msut say, I am suitably impressed. Not intense nasal burning stench, no headaches, just a (bulky) bottle and a grateful pateint. It worked a treat. Seems a much better solution than Methoxyflurane, common in services throughout Australia (Any of you outside of Australia heard of Methoxyflurane? Yes, that stuff that is banned in the US by the FDA…).
From there on, repeat performance. Crew arrives, patient is taken over, we clear. As we don’t have a particular area to cover (well, apart from the whole of Edinburgh), no part of the map is sacred. From suburbia we are sent to the heart of the city for a person lying in the streets. It’s great being driven round the central city area, preceding the shift I had been stomping around there for a couple of days and actually got to know it fairly well.
The royal mile is dark, damp and desolate at two in the morning. The occasional lost soul we come across scurrys off the road to seek safety from the onslaught of the great green and yellow checkered diesel roaring monster, lashing out in to every corner of darkness with it’s cutting bright blue beacons. EMS is a great way to get to see a different side of the city on holiday.
Whilst Kal navigates the some small and twisted alleyways, I contemplate my heritage – I have Scottish blood in me from four generations ago. Having it in me is one thing, little did I know that I was about to get it on me. We arrive to see a male lying in the middle of the road, bleeding from his head. Kal manoeuvres the car to block the road – the last thing we need is a car running over us! Our minds are going through the various possibilities. Assault? Hit and run? We request police assistance, and I go to stabilise his head, whilst Kal grabs a collar and some dressings. Turns out our friend had been drinking, fell over and cracked his head open…we are told that his friends abandoned him (great friends) and that he wanted to go home. All in a very merry (and inebriated) manner. A few minutes later the ambulance arrives (and the police, who are no longer needed), and via a backboard we get him on the the stretcher.
Scenarios like this make me think. Where I work, all emergency responses are via double crewed paramedic ambulances, witnessing the single response concept is new to me. I ask Kal what he would have done if he had have been on his own? “Stabilised his neck until backup arrives”. One pair of hands can be seriously ineffective in some situations. Many thoughts about safety and efficacy cross my mind. This is confirmed when we are sent to our next job, where we are sent to a house that Kal has been to before, a place that left a bad taste in his mouth. A dodgy place with dodgy people…not somewhere you want to attend without police. Luckily we are stood down.
We have a little spare time, and drive round to the digitals. Another cool thing about this shift is that I get to meet the people he frequently mentions in his blog. Here we are, popping by to grab something and ended up staying for a (cut short thanks to the next call) drink and chat. Later on, I meet Kal’s flatmate bambam avec cat.
Our next job reveals a small town moment, when the son in law of our next patient arrives on scene, and turns out to be the owner of the paramedics favourite fish and chip shop. Proves you can never get away from people you know, there is always some degree of connection!
And as if to prove a point, the next patients TV size was inversely proportional to the living circumstances. This seems to be true everywhere you go, in the western world at least. We are attending to an unpleasant person in an unpleasant house surrounded by an unpleasant family at an unpleasant hour of the morning. One of those places where you want to scrape your boots on the way out. But they have a massive TV…stay classy Edinburgh!
Another Stand Down later, and the shift slowly comes to an end. We catch up on some sleep at the fire station, and I don’t need to go to the toilet until daylight scares all the monsters away. It’s time to head back to the central depot to hand the vehicle over to the day crew, and say thanks and bye to the Scottish Ambulance Service. Kal drops me off on the way home, where my weary eyes can only navigate me towards my room.
At the hostel people are waking up for the day.
I head to bed, with some great new experiences fresh in my mind.