I like to post an ambulance story from time to time ~ I have done a number of these over the years and have a lot untold. I loved my work before I retired from the service over 5 years ago. Principally I was involved with Patient Transfer duties, taking dialysis patients to and from hospital three times a week for a four hourly session on a dialysis machine, the only thing keeping them alive as their kidneys were no longer functioning.
Also, I worked as a two man crew, or should I say two person crew because I worked with lady personnel sometimes. This work sometimes involved driving and sometimes attending stretcher patients, sometimes carry chair transfer or wheelchair or just helping them into the ambulance. When I started I quickly learned to relate to patients and to make them feel at ease, to amuse them, make them laugh, be sympathetic when required, and do whatever to make them more comfortable. I remember on day one of my employment a senior paramedic was flabbergasted at my ability to talk to patients, remarking that he knew qualified paramedics who were not able to do that.
I got to know John very well and for three years I ferried him to and fro to hospital for dialysis. He was the nicest elderly man one could ever wish to meet ~ he was always cheerful and never complained and always thanked me for the journey. It was really a pleasure attending him. He had difficulty walking, so the nurses and I always transferred him into his wheelchair which I wheeled up the ambulance ramp, securing it to the floor mountings before we set off. He shared the long journey with 5 other patients living over a wide area to the south of Bristol. The journey was often very picturesque during warm summer evenings when the sun was beginning to set set over the sea ~ try to imagine just how beautiful that was. We could see for miles and miles and we could just make out the Welsh coast 12 miles away across the shimmering sea, looking across the Severn Estuary ~ a delightful sight, punctuated by rays of light coming out of fluffy white clouds against the commanding backdrop of an angry red sky.
One day I was shocked to learn from a colleague, who drives emergency vehicles that John had had a bad fall at home one night and had to be rushed to hospital as an emergency. Sandy was on duty and was shocked to see it was John. She would have been driving on blues, weaving in and out of the traffic with blue lights flashing and siren, when required. She knew John very well too and she and her colleague got him safely to Accident and Emergency, but we learned later that John had sustained a fractured hip.
During the course of the week a colleague and I were assigned to transport John from a hospital in Bristol to another hospital 25 miles away for surgery. We arrived at his bedside and although he recognised Steve and I, we saw he was very distressed. With the assistance of two very nice nurses the four of us managed to PAT slide him on a Patient Slide Board onto a stretcher and wheeled him into the ambulance.
John was in agony and we tried our best to make his journey as smooth and pain free as we could, arriving at the hospital less than an hour later. We wheeled him to the ward and with the help of two nurses PAT slid him into bed, which was much more state of the art than this illustration shows ~ higher and with safety sides, plus electrically controlled controlled moving mattress in various positions to assist patient comfort. You can imagine the stretcher moved alongside at a greater height and the patient rolled with four of us at each corner moving him as gently as we could towards us, sliding the board under him and then rolling him back gently onto the board and sliding him onto the bed. Alas John was very distressed as we did this transfer, even though both his legs were strapped together using the good one as a brace to reduce movement of the injured one ~ but we had to do it.
We stayed a while talking to him and making sure he was all right and he seemed much more comfortable so we left him.
Next day we were sickened to hear that he had died during the night before they even had a chance to consider operating ~ apparently the severe shock of the fracture plus the subsequent stress had caused him to have a fatal heart attack so he did not have a chance although they tried hard to get him back.
A week later I called to see his wife to express my sincere condolences. She said he had slipped when trying to transfer from his wheelchair to his arm chair and had fallen awkwardly and thought she had heard the break. She appreciated me calling, which was the least I could do because we had got to know each other very well over the years.
We always miss a lost one although renal patients generally do not survive for much longer than five years. It was always sad in such situations but in spite of the sadness sometimes I really do miss that job, which I loved. I felt free, useful, and free to be able to help people, almost hourly. Beside that I got a real buzz out of it.
Patient/ambulance person/ nursing staff relationships sometimes get quite close with the emotion of it all and occasionally sometimes rather unusual things happen, as I will tell you next week, when a lady patient, after just a 25 mile journey told me she had fallen in love with me . . . . . . .
. . . . . . now ladies, that pricked your ears up didn't it? . . . . but true . . . . be patient ~ you will have to wait for the story . . . . . . . . a whole week . . . . lol
I am honoured to receive a Post Of The Week award from Hilary at The Smitten Image ~ 27 February 2015