Stepping into the office with an envelope in my hand, I was about to take one of the biggest steps in almost a decade.
"Need my signature on an application form, do you?"
It was an obvious question for my boss to ask considering the fact that once again, the coveted places on the air ambulance had been advertised. That, and the fact that he had no idea of my real motives.
"Not quite!" I answered, handing him one of the copies of the letter. He looked down at the piece of paper, the cheap and nasty stuff that the ambulance service has started to use recently in yet another cost-cutting exercise. The confusion on his face said it all.
"You're sure about this are you?"
"Can we do anything to change your mind?"
"Not unless you're packing the LAS into a suitcase and sending it with me."
Handing in my notice was a great deal more traumatic than I had ever anticipated. I have loved my job. If not every minute of it, certainly as a career, as a way of life, I have loved it. But the time had come for a change that MrsInsomniac and I had been planning for some time. I'll write more about the change we're making in another post.
I've already had my final shift. It was initially scheduled to be a lonely solo shift on a rapid response unit, but luck had it that there was a student who needed a few extra hours out and about, so she joined me, hoping that my reputation for attracting "real" jobs would prove itself in reality. It didn't, but it gave us time to talk. Time for me to pass on a little of my questionable wisdom and for her to ask questions, question my answers and answer my challenges too.
Towards the end of the shift, she threw me a curve-ball.
"If you had to sum up your career in four words, how would you do it?"
"Four words? I'm not sure I can. Am I allowed five?"
"You can have five. It's my leaving present."
It took me some time. We attended another call, handed another patient to yet another crew and still my mind's rusty cogs whined and creaked to come up with some cohesive thought. Eventually, in a dull flash of panicked inspiration, I had it.
"Tried to make a difference." It really does some it all up.
It speaks of the patients who had no-one else to care for them, it speaks of the families suddenly bereaved, it speaks of the babies brought into the world.
It speaks of the children who were left battered and bruised by their very own flesh and blood, and others who were nothing if not heroes to their families.
It speaks of the people who just needed to hear a voice tell them that help is at hand, and it speaks of those pleading for help for their loved ones.
I hope it speaks of the students I worked with, studied with, taught and learned from.
I hope it speaks of the people who read this blog, those in the know and those who hope that they will become more in the know by reading it.
I tried. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed, but I tried. In most cases, I'll never really know.
My move takes me away from the London Ambulance Service, but not away from the world of the ambulance. The blog will continue (considering the accolade it has just received, it couldn't really not). For some time it'll be based on the scribbled notes that already sit in my diary, and soon stories will be told from new notes, new patients, whilst looking out over new horizons.
And if nothing else works out, I'm still proud of who I've become, what I've achieved, and the experience that I've gained. I'm proud of this blog. I'm proud to call some of the best ambulance staff out there my friends. And I'm still proud of those five words.