Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review: Lysa Walder - 999

Beginning of last month I was fortunate enough to get an observer shift with the London Ambulance Service. And fortune didn't stop there, it pointed me in the direction of the Rapid Response Vehicle of Lysa Walder.

Lysa is not only a paramedic with extended skills (ECP - Emergency Care Practitioner), no, she is also an author. Read on...

- ~ -

Structure & Style
The book is an amalgamation of short stories, each chapter its own little focus on a job that Lysa has gone through. This allows you to read a story here and there and bit by bit. Or,  you could just keep on reading and let the stories engulf you until the last page appears. I chose the second option.
I found the writing style to be informative not only in a way of "let me tell you a story", but also along the lines of "this is job, this is how I do it, give it a go!"

The book has some great little nuggets of life on its pages. The stories range from quirky to sad, from smelly to mad. 
The book is divided up into multiple themes, so you always pick it up and read something appropriate to your mood, be it hilarious, strange or just plain wrong.
What struck me was the lack of negativity. Us ambo folks can be a real good bunch of whingers: not enough money, not enough skills, the ambulances are too small, the patients are annoying, my right toe has an itchy twitch....none of that to be found here. Which is a refreshing change. 
There is not much clinical knowledge to be learnt from this book, but that is not what it had been written for.
Yes, the emotional side of the book is fairly prominent, but that is not a bad thing. It is a direct reflection of the job - having to be scooped up by an ambulance crew is never without it's own little private hell endured by the patient.

In one word: Positive.
In a couple more words: A slice of life out on the road, neatly presented, written well with a glowing positive attitude. One gripe though: it could be a little longer.
What I can say from a professional point of view, is that I would have loved to have this book 9 months ago before I actually hit the road.

All in all? I'd say: Buy it. Get a copy. You want to know what our work is like? Take a parrot peek from Lysas shoulder. Considering joining the profession? Come on an observer shift in your mind. Newbie at the job? Grab a piece of the experience pie that Lysa has on offer. Already in the job? Have a read what Life is Like in London. Already working for the LAS? Support good book from a great colleague (on amazon here. Aussie Buyers HERE)

'Nuff said.