Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Working Holiday

Not working, but a holiday with a lot of ambulance involvement. Only in dot form, as I am sitting in the Library in Flinders Lane, and need to get some things done later.

  • Met with my first on road tutor and great mate
  • Met with Taz, from
  • Met with some paramedics from Paddington Station, who were kind enough to show us around
  • Grabbed some dumplings for dinner last night, had to share a table as it was so full. Turns out is was a ED nurse from one of the local hospital. Random Cool :-)
  • Going on an observer shift with a Melbourne crew tomorrow
  • ACAP SPA conference Friday
...and living in a hostel is a little different, I am reminded. My locker seems to have come directly from the Rotterdam drug seizing authority. I opened it yesterday and nearly started flying around the room in a green haze, such was the pungent stench of Marihuana. I am now worried my clothes will soak up all the THC particles, and I will reek of weed on my flight home. Police will arrest me, lock me up and perform a deep and thorough full body cavity search.

Oh, and I wanted to share the view from my room:

PS: Girl in Green, where art thou? No escaping said you were coming to the conference!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


No, don't mention the world cup....please....

I just stumbled upon a colleague from Wiesbaden, close to where I used to live in Germany.

Anyway, he has written up two great little posts how the Ambulance Service works over there:

EMS in Germany
EMS in Germany, Part II

Having operated in both countries, I could add a few more experiences and differences from my perspective. But I won't. I'm on nights tonight, and I'm going to sleep now.

Otherwise I will be an Insomniacmedic (thanks for the link!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

a transfer

Teenager, transfer from little hospital to big hospital. Big hurt -> Morphine -> No hurt.

At little hospital, I have one hand on the rails of the bed. Our patient starts stroking my gloved hand with one finger, with a big grin.


We arrive at big hospital. Patient looks up, points at me, and says:
"You're cool. I like you" *massive grin*

To which I reply:
"Nah, nobody thinks I'm cool. That's just the morphine."

To which our patient turns to his mother:
"MUUUUM!!! Can you get me some Morphine for home please? "

Thursday, June 17, 2010


This semester is done and dusted.


Right, what will I do in my few weeks of Uni break? Let my mind run free, and take a plan to Sydney to see some people (and hopefully the almighty TAZ if he has some spare time...). Then it's down to Melbourne for the ACAP SPA Conference (beware, three different links).

So: If you are in Sydney or Melbourne, reading this, and feel like catching up with a toorist from da west - gi'us a shout!

And when I have returned, it will be time for this baby to spring back in to action...

- the lean mean green machine -

Monday, June 7, 2010

my job

~ - ~

Recently, I was at  Ambulance HQ for some further training. I had my uniform on, whilst getting out the car a fellow got out of his car next to me. "You guys do an excellent job!" he stated, adding a few more compliments to the monologue. All I could stammer was "Ah, its an easygoing job, cheers, good fun, nice to meet you, thanks, good bye". Talk about an inadequate answer….

I felt silly after that. There he was, Joe Blow, thanking me, Yours Truly. Saying thanks on behalf of the public to my profession. And i wipe it away, play it down as if it were some kind of game, not worthy of mentioning.


Not long ago, a colleague unfortunately had the 'pleasure' of seeing the other side of the Emergency Department - as a patient. During treatment and assessment, the doctor walked up to my colleague and stated "I couldn't do your job".

Sure, our workspace may be a little volatile at times, strewn with uncertainty. Sometimes outnumbered, sometimes running out of hands. There we stand, in front of whoever called us for whatever reason. We stand in their world, but have to tell them that they now have to play by our rules. Need a hand? Call another crew, wait 5-50 minutes. Patient lying awkwardly in the bathroom? It might be awkward getting him or her out. Hasn't flushed the toilet? Might be a little smelly. Didn't quite hit the toilet bowl? Makes extrication easier, as the floor is already slippery.

But it beats having to go to work five out of seven days to an office, seeing the same people again and again, and sitting on yer bum staring at a screen.

Chances are, I couldn't do your job either.


"You must see some horrible things"

"Yes, and I'm looking at one right now"

In all honesty, most situations are abstracted for treatment (and survival). Patients become dehumanised, are a bundle of symptoms just waiting to be treated; and if they can talk, you try out a bad joke to test their sense of humour (and you can then reenter the real world again). Most situations are horrible for the people involved - mostly because people panic and common sense (if they ever had any) flies out of the window; or in a minor amount of cases, because someone is quite sick or even dead.

But it is the patients emergency. At the end of the day I don't know them. Their pain is visible to me, I can usually imagine that If it were me in the same situation I would be equally sad/distraught/griefstricken. But I'm not. I walk out of that job and that's that job emotionally done. The only memories are professional ones.


"Thank You"

"Your Welcome". No other reply necessary. Sweet, Sincere and Simple.


"You boys are heroes"

No we're not.

"Arm das Land das Helden noetig hat - Unlucky the nation that needs heroes"
(Galilei, in B. Brechts "Das Leben des Galileo).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Recently, I cleaned up the bedside table at the ambulance station. It was full of readers digest and various womens magazines from the past 20 years, mixed with a single epaullette, a lightglobe and a lone raisin.

And a book: "Picking up Girls", by Ira Alterman, published in 1982. Just right for some down time on a night shift.

Browsing the index, the chapter "How to get out of a girls house during a one night stand" caught my eye. Flip to page 55, there are some great words of wisdom:

"Someone, somewhere has left there car lights on. I'm going to find them and turn them off"
"I'm so happy I could run around the block. Here, let me show you!"

- - - End of public service announcement - - -