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Saturday, 7 March 2015

AMBULANCE STORY ~ LED BY A BLIND MAN



Most of my work within the ambulance service centred around ferrying renal patients to and from hospital for kidney dialysis. Without 4 hours on special kidney machines 3 times a week these patients would not live much longer than a week. So we are fortunate to live in modern times where this technology is available.

Wherever possible a kidney transplant may be available, the ultimate holy grail, donated by a very kind person wishing to enable someone to live a normal life by donating organs in the event of them having a fatal accident. I am so happy that two of my former patients are now able to live complete and normal lives after receiving these priceless gifts ~ a kidney donation for each of my friends ~ wonderful.   I have said the meds can have any part of my body when the time comes, provided it is functional of course.

My story this week centres around a 90 year old patient, John, who lived 30 miles away inland from a coastal hospital, where he attended dialysis 3 times a week.

John had lost the use of both legs and the nurses used a hoist to get him in and out of bed into his wheelchair, where I pushed him up a ramp into our Pope Mobile ambulance transport, idea for those journeys. 



Safely secured onto wheelchair mounting fixtures onto the floor of the vehicle I was able to ferry him back to a nursing home where he lived with his wife, also a resident. The first time I met John we immediately hit it off and he loved it when he heard I was playing classical music on the journey.  I was not entirely sure of the route, although I did have my SatNav with me.  He said he would guide me along the route so I listened to his directions with the music in the background.  I remember he was particularly taken with Mendelssohn's 3rd Symphony, also a favourite of mine. 

Little did I know it but he was completely blind, it was not visibly obvious he was, yet somehow he knew exactly where we were at every point of the journey.  It was truly astonishing because he made remarks like, "In 200 yards there is a turn to the right coming, give way to vehicles coming to your left once you have made the turn", and "The road veers sharply to the left soon and it is quite a tight bend and quite a steep hill follows." That sort of thing ~ all the way.

It was not long before I realised he was completely blind and I expressed my astonishment that he knew exactly where we were all the time.  He said he knew that area like the back of his hand and that he could tell by the bumps and camber of the road and the bends and hills and road speed and what gear I was in, even the cats eyes striking the tyres.  He had a mental road map of the journey as we progressed and yard by yard he knew where we were.

He said that we were approaching the nursing home and explained exactly where the entrance was and where to park.

I got him out of the wheelchair and he thanked me for the lovely music and I said I would play it for him every time.  We got quite friendly and each time I brought him home I wheeled him to his room and had a chat to him and his wife, who always greeted us with a cup of tea and a cake.  The nursing staff were very friendly too and I got to know them quite well.

I remember on warm summer evenings, after I had delivered John safely, the journey back was truly lovely, across country and through Wells, a small Cathedral city in Somerset, and the views across the valleys were truly breathtaking against a striking red sunset ~ glad to be alive indeed. 

John got transferred to another hospital so we lost touch ~ I suspect both he and his wife have passed now.

I often think about my former patients. I consider myself most fortunate to have that job, caring and being with people ~ beats the pants off office work any day of the week, in my book.

Next time ~ I could not find where a patient lived and they were unable to tell me . . . HELP



40 comments:

  1. You sure have made a lot of friends through your profession and no doubt, you were a bright spot in their day. Hope you have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks Laurie ~ yes I met some really great people, nurses,colleagues and patients . . . :)

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  2. Marvellous! The brain is remarkable in it's ability to heighten other senses when one is lost..still amazing!
    Jane x

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    1. Yes it is fantastic how the brain does compensate . . . :) x

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  3. How interesting that he knew the way like that! But it doesn't surprise me really. I went to college with a guy that was completely blind. He used his stick and walked all over the village without getting lost. He knew how many steps to each turn and could go completely alone where ever he needed to. I'd walk with him sometimes and chat and he knew all of us just by the sound of our voice. After walking and talking just once and telling him my name, the next time I saw him I said, "Hi, Brian" and he said, "Hi, Betsy!" I couldn't believe it! We had about 1500 students at the time and he knew most of us just by our voice. Incredible.

    Sounds like a lovely route you had to drive with John....just a little perk for you driving home, too, with the sunset! Not to mention the tea and cakes always waiting everywhere! haha....how could any ambulance driver be on a diet? lol....

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    1. What a fascinating story about your college friend ~ just shows how fantastic our brains are . . .
      Yes, it was great journeying through such pleasant surroundings on a clear, warm and sunny evening . . :)

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  4. I dream a lot and find that I dream about people I thought were long forgotten. May be the drugs, but it is pleasant to remember past times. Your memories of your patient are nice. He sounds like a wonderful person. Spending time with my dad this past year as we wait for the cancer to take him from us has given me a different perspective on life. He is enjoying a remission of sorts right now. In October we were told we did not have months, but here we are in March and he is still going strong. I know how I will remember him and I often wonder how my family will remember me.

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    1. Very sorry Kathy about your father ~ life is very sad sometimes . .
      Of course your family will remember you when the time comes ~ many years from now, eh!
      Great to see you Kathy ~ I always remember that line when you fell off your horse< Kathy's Klothesline in my Horse Race and were all pegged up and hung out to dry . . . lol
      Take care ~ Eddie x.

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  5. I'm happy to know you, Eddie. I'm sure you've got beautiful memories, but I'm also sure your friends will never ever forget their journeys with you.

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    1. Very happy to know too too, Blue . . . :)

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    2. How are you today, Eddie? Did you have a bit of sunshine?

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    3. Hi Blue . . . just been at your place for a while writing a poem . .
      A little sun today but looking forward to warmer weather . . . :)

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    4. I knew I wasn't the only one. :)

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  6. You certainly had a very interesting life. Sorry, HAVING an interesting life; you haven't gone yet! When I go I know all my organs will go to help people, because they are very well preserved in whisky so they should be OK.

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    1. I'll settle for having . . . (not had) . . . lol
      I don't think my organs will be very marketable when I've finished with them, or they have finished with me . . lol . . :)

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  7. How lovely to share this time with John... and his wife. Dialysis is an amazing invention, but it must be such a challenge dealing with it so often. So all the better when you have an "Eddie" driver to make the trip smooth... and musical!

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    1. Yes and all the others . . yes dialysis is wonderful but nothing like our fantastic kidneys functioning 24/7 and far more efficiently, and 2 of them. Compared, kidney patients are always a little ill at the best . . . and look pale . . .

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  8. You seem to be having such a meaningful journey through life. Touching people's hearts, and having them touch yours in return. Not many people experience these types of encounters.

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    1. Thanks Michelle ~ in a way I was/am privileged to experience this hands on experience. Before I joined the ambulance service life was rather hum drum . . :)

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  9. Hi Eddie - a heart warming story .. someone who accepted his fate with grace, who took on the other skills we've lost sight of over our evolutionary life ... fascinating ... he could be a bird, honing its way back to its summer breeding grounds.

    Cheers - lovely story .. Hilary

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    1. Thank you Hilary ~ yes he sure had a homing instinct . . . :)

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  10. Just stopping by to say hello and wishing you well. Loved this story Eddie, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hi Bernie ~ wonderful to hear from you ~ will write soon and hope you are well . . . x

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  11. Eddie,

    You are such a lovely person and I love this story. Thank you so much for sharing, and thanks, as well, for the k ind and encouraging comments you leave on my posts. Your friendship is greatly appreciated.

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    1. Thanks Linda ~ you are very kind and I am honoured to be your friend . . . :)

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    2. Likewise, Eddie, and I am so glad you enjoyed the bull prank so much. :)

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    3. Likewise, Eddie, and I am so glad you enjoyed the bull prank so much. :)

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    4. Just my kind of humour I guess . . . not sure whether i would prefer to be the bull or the matador . . :)

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  12. Enjoyed reading your story Eddie.

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    1. Thanks Mary ~ nice to see you here . . . :)

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  13. What a beautiful story. When a person's sole weekly outing is to get kidney dialysis, it's nice to know that they can have human interaction with someone who cares.

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    1. Thank you Stephanie ~ a nice thing for you to say . . . :)

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  14. Wow, amazing how he knew exactly where to go. But I guess our mind tunes into other senses when we lose one.

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    1. Cheers Pat ~ yes that was pretty amazing he could do that . . :)

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  15. I love these stories. You bring your passengers to life for us. In that way they're remembered by people that they've never even known.. though they're real life, full colour personalities to us. Thanks for that.

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    1. Thanks Hilary ~ strange really that these stories are just coming back to me after a few years ~ I am working on some more . . . they are vivid in my memory . . . :)

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  16. I always enjoy your stories about your adventures with your patients.

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    1. Thanks 'Sham' ~ very encouraging ~ guess I should write some more stories them.
      Thank you and for everybody who supports my writing . . . means a lot to me . . :)

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  17. Thus far, I've been blessed beyond anything I deserve. I've never had an ambulance ride (and, considering my habits, I'm rather astounded at that.) If I ever need one, though, I surely hope I have someone such as yourself, Eddie. God bless you!

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    1. Thanks Jim ~ I imagine we would get along great in the ambulance and I think if anything you would be entertaining me . . .haha . . :)

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