Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Recently I've written a couple of posts reflecting disappointment and frustration at the system that guides the job that I do. I love my job, I'd just like to be able to get on and do it. Sometimes I need a reminder that when all else fails, there's someone somewhere, not very far away, who will call on us and we will make all the difference. They'll be relieved, appreciative, sometimes thankful, even if they don't necessarily show it at the time.
Often all it takes is one call. One short-lasting event to remind me why it is I do what I do. Sometimes it's an entire shift. One of the things I most enjoy about my job is the fact that not only are no two days ever the same, but that the huge variety of calls we receive keeps me constantly on my toes. Every time I get just a little too laid back, something jumps out at me and reminds me that there's always something out there that I know nothing about, have never seen, and will really have to think about how to deal with.
Mostly I feel that it's the variety that keeps me here, but sometimes, when the variety is only of the unnecessary sort, the multiple gear changes leave a burnt out clutch.
Sometimes that clutch just needs changing, and all is back to (ab)normal.
And just when I needed it, the clutch that needed fixing was sent the mechanic that it needed. A recent shift, and being in the right place at the right time, brought the following:
I went from dealing with a child who's been on antibiotics for 2 hours and hasn't yet miraculously recovered from their sore throat, to comforting the relatives of a cancer patient who had just succumbed to their illness.
Then from a mild allergic reaction caused probably by new medication, to extricating two people trapped in the mangled remains of the family car.
And last job of the night, I was called to a patient threateningly at death's door, danger lurking both for her and her unborn twins. I was, along with the crew, still in the maternity unit finishing the paperwork as we heard those same babies, abruptly c-sectioned from their mother, cry for the very first time.
I wasn't all that far behind.
I went home that morning once again knowing why I do this job, and why I love it.
That night, I came back to work to be met by one of our managers.
"Do you remember a call you attended a few weeks back?" He went on to describe a call of which I had a vague recollection. It was routine. An unconscious diabetic, hypoglycaemic, sugars too low. We reversed it, he recovered, and stayed at home to be cared for by his family. I feared a complaint coming my way, although I couldn't figure out why. I told the manager that I remembered it, bizarrely more because I remembered the house, than the patient.
At that point, he opened up the back of his car and handed me a box.
"Here. These are from them for you. They gave me 12 bottles of wine, 4 for each of you that were there!"
Very much taken aback, I took my share of the box and, not being much of a wine drinker, later donated the wine to a worthy cause.
This isn't even close to the reason I do what I do.
But after the night before, it was just the icing on the cake.

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