Thursday, 27 May 2010

#29 Dear Paramedics at the accident on Old Birley Street today

#29 Dear Paramedics at the accident on Old Birley Street today,

It was a strange thing to sit in a cafe and have lunch, and then walk out into the sunshine to see a car collide into the side of another and send it crash-tumbling down the road towards me. You must see this kind of thing all the time, a person crawling out of a car and dropping to the ground, hyperventilating, moaning in pain. Or maybe you don't see this because you arrive later when there is a small crowd of people stood around the man, while I try and keep him calm and still, and work out how hurt he is, and other people are on the phone, or asking who saw what, and collecting names and talking to the other driver who knows it is his fault. You are so calm, the way you drive up and walk over with your medical bag, and ask who and what and how, and start to examine, even when the man gets a little aggressive because he's in pain, confused, concussed perhaps. You take it one check at a time, one question at a time, and ask me to hold his head while you examine his spine, fit a collar, speak to the other paramedics just arrived to tell them what injuries there are, and the man says he can't feel his arm and down one side, and the police arrive and the crowd gets bigger, and you still have to do your job while everyone else is worrying and stressing and in shock. Paramedics, I think you are brilliant, all the trauma you have to deal with, the stess, the injuries you must see, and then you are heading off to the hospital and the next job which might not be as bad or might be worse, you don't know until you pull up and get out and take in the scene, the wrecked car, the people who are crying/not crying, walking/not walking, bleeding/not bleeding. We don't realise until you are there and we need you, and it is a big relief when the siren gets closer and louder, and you can take over from the daft woman in the purple cardigan who is trying to be helpful but would be useless if you didn't arrive,

In great admiration
A xx


Sarah said...

I agree in general, though there was a paramedic in the room while I was giving birth - she'd come to observe because it's the sort of thing she faces all the time - and I could have seriously done without it. Especially at the end, when I was being sewn up, and the midwife was giving her a step-by-step lesson in Degrees of Tearing in Childbirth. I had to stop the chatter when the paramedic had her head in my fanny and asked 'And what degree of tear is this one?'

Anonymous said...

Ugh Sarah I hear that one! (The words, we have only ever had 3 instances of 3rd degree at this hospital in 25 years came back to haunt me as I racked up number 4 for them...)

Annie my lovely I can't think of anyone I would rather have scoop me up at an incident like that - your kind hands, soothing tones, genuine warmth; the fact that you simply did it rather than look around wondering who else would says just what a blessing you were at that moment for that person. The paramedics are amazing but they also relay on people being superhuman until they arrive. I hope you are ok, it must have been a hell of a shock for you too xx

annie clarkson said...

Oh, you two lovely women, I can't even imagine...

Thank you Sally, ha I'm not sure I was superhuman, I told the police his name was Gary, and turns out it was something completely different. I was alright, it just reminds you of how suddenly life can change for people, and how very lucky we are... x