I was on Dial-a-Ride duty today and I drove one of my favourite passengers for his weekly hospital consultancy/appointment. We arrived a little early to drop Don at the hospital and there was just time to show him one of my favourite views, overlooking the Avon Valley, just outside Bath. It was a lovely afternoon. The River Avon runs along the valley, just out of site and so does a busy railway line and main road.
I had just picked up an elderly lady from one of the hospitals in Bath to transfer her to another hospital in Bristol for treatment. She was very distressed and not well at all but I could manage to transfer her from her wheelchair into a seat. She was very anxious about her health and well-being and was very depressed and almost in tears.
We got talking and I was able to make a connection and she told me the bottom had dropped out of her life, she had lost her husband a few years ago, her children saw her very infrequently and now her health was failing. She had almost convinced herself that there was nothing left to live for.
She cheered up a little while we talked as I drove and I said because it was such a glorious day we would take the scenic route to Bristol. I said I had time to show her a view which I liked very much and we pulled over and I lined the vehicle so she could see through the door. I remember it was a warm summer's day and I sat with her and said, "Just look at that! ~ you see, there are still a lot of good things left to enjoy!".
Her face lit up and she smiled and told me I was so kind and said she was so happy to share our conversation and the view. We stayed there for a full 15 minutes and I said that the view is lovely all the way along the valley.
When we pulled into the Bristol hospital she seemed like a different person. Her mind was taken off her troubles and at least she had found something to cheer her, albeit just for the afternoon.
This is why I loved the ambulance work so much, to touch someone, make a connection, and make them happier and how long did it take? ~ just 15 minutes.
I don't know what happened to this lady, maybe she has moved on by now, but I often think about instances of magic like this, and many others.
The icing on the cake today for me was that while I was waiting for Don, I met some of my ex Ambulance Colleagues and it was great to chat with them over old times. There may be a possibility of me working again in the service in a smaller capacity ~ I would love this.