Saturday, September 16, 2006

The "Q" Word

There's been a bit of a lack of posts, because I haven't really been to many blog-worthy jobs.

As has been mentioned before on here and other blogs, there is one word that is usually banned from ambulance messrooms, as it is almost guaranteed to make the phone ring with a job. The word is "quiet", and is often referred to as "The Q word".

The station I work out of now must be one of the quietest in the service (there, I said it), and I prefer to be busier than we often are - after all, there is only so much day time TV a person can take. Having said that, our station does have it's moments. Take today for example.

We started at 7am, checked the equipment on the ambulance and topped up one or two items. Then it was breakfast time - Weetabix and coffee for me, and toast for my crewmate.
Then we sat and watched the news. At 8am, the crew for the second ambulance that runs out of our station came on duty.
Then we watched the history channel.

This sort of thing can go on for hours. I've actually managed to complete a shift at this station without going out at all.

It looked like being another quiet shift and I was wondering how much more sitting around watching TV I could take when the phone finally went with a job just after 10am. As we started first, we were first out. The MDT (computer) screen in the ambulance told us we were going to an 11 year old boy who'd fallen awkwardly while playing football and hurt his back. It also said he couldn't feel his legs.
We arrived to find two first aiders next to the boy, who was sitting up, with one first aider holding a hand to the boy's back, but nobody holding the head to keep it still. It turned out he'd fallen onto his coccyx right at the bottom of his spine, which turned out to be minor bruising, and the boy could feel his legs, move them normally.

I don't know who the first aiders were - they weren't St John or Red Cross, but if any first aiders are reading this - if you suspect a back or neck injury, leave the patient in the position you've found them, but take hold of the head and keep it so that the neck is in a straight line with the back.

After that, another football injury. This time a dislocated shoulder which happened as the patient was taking a throw-in. He'd dislocated it 6 times before, so the joint was already weak, which begged the question why take the throw in knowing it may cause his shoulder to pop out?
We took him to hospital. At the request of the doctor, I took hold of the patient, and lifted him upwards and backwards in his chair, while the doctor tried to manipulate the shoulder back into place. After five minutes of tug-of-war between me and the doctor, with the patient in the middle, I'd felt the shoulder move, but it still hadn't gone back in. The doctor tried another method - she gave him a bottle of water to hold in the hand of the affected side. That did the trick, and the shoulder suddenly just dropped back into place.

Next an unconscious man that wasn't, but he wasn't well, so we took him to hospital.

Then a disabled man who couldn't get himself off the toilet, so we lifted him back into his wheelchair just as his daughter arrived. He wasn't injured so we didn't take him to hospital, leaving him in the care of his daughter.

And finally....

A 62 year old man who'd fallen between eight and ten feet off a ladder. He had a back injury, a large lump on his head, a bit of concussion, but no other obvious injury. We immobilised him on the scoop stretcher, and blued him into hospital. I'll write about this job in a bit more detail at a later date, as I think it deserves a post of its own.

It still counts as a reasonably quiet day, but I'm pleased to have finished and be home, and we'll be back in tomorrow to do it all again...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how those slow days can be. It's an interesting profession where you sit around waiting for someone to get ill or hurt! But, in the end, we just want to help people, which is a pretty good justification.

5:54 pm  

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