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Ambulance: Hope

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
The complex of buildings appears to have been built some time between when asbestos was the latest in safety and avocado green was the height of chic. An impossible maze of apartments, dotted around hidden, narrow side streets all with the same name, or no name, and a numbering system that bears no resemblance to today's recognised linear system. Buildings numbered in the hundreds sit in between buildings number four and six. The GPS always gives up and leaves us with either local knowledge or none. 

We call dispatch, ask them to link us up with the caller with a hope that they can give us directions. It seems like a simple call - a faint - but my gut tells me otherwise. The voice that comes on the other end of the phone is calm, so perhaps my gut is wrong. She gives us exact directions - to a completely different street - and tells us that someone will meet us outside. 

I see them running down the stairs as we enter the dead-end street, three pairs of legs rushing full pelt, one of them skipping the last few steps and landing in a heap at the bottom of the...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Back On The Road

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
My last post on here, some nine months ago, reads now as both a warning and a reminder. I was
warning myself, not aware enough at the time that the elephant in the room that I'm ignoring was precisely the thing that should have been uppermost on my mind. It took a couple more months and one critical incident to finally make me heed that warning. Although when I did, it was through necessity, not choice.

The fog floated across the highway, a surprise, unwelcome visitor on what had begun as a clear winter's morning. We were heading back to the station after the first call of the day, a patient with the body of the ninety year old she was, but a mind still that of a teenager. She spent the entire journey to hospital warning us never to get old, because "Your legs will want to dance, but you brain will tell them they can't even stand." We were still discussing her presence of mind and praying for the same level of sanity at that age, when our thoughts were shattered by a call from the control room.

"Find the first place you can to turn around and head...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Perhaps It's Just Me

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
"Is it really possible to have a career in EMS and be emotionally unaffected by the things we see?"

This is the question I posed on Twitter a few days ago. Many seemed to think that it's an impossible task, that, after all, we're human too. However, there were some who seemed to think it possible. To work through a career and remain untouched. Unharmed.

It seems I have joined an ambulance service where macho-ism, for all its pros and cons,  appears paramount, or at the very least, a lot more visible. Whereas in my previous place of work the male-female ratio was split almost straight down the middle, my new place of work is staffed mainly by males. Perhaps that lends itself to a culture of bravado. Perhaps having more females around allows for everyone to be braver with their emotions, whereas having fewer means that those left must be impressed. Perhaps I'm imagining it or over-analysing it. Or perhaps, as I'm beginning to suspect, it's just me.

Other thoughts have taken root. Paramedic burnout seems faster here. Turnaround is high. New...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Behind Closed Doors

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
Midnight. The normally quiet residential street is a hive of activity, as busy and bustling as a midday marketplace. People have gathered from all over; neighbours, friends, relatives, all standing outside trying to make sense of the unfolding drama. We can see it all, hear it all from the bedroom, each of us taking turns to peek out to the street a dozen floors below as we rotate over and over again, each of us briefly the centre of the chaos, standing pumping his heart, then taking a break, a breath of fresh air and a glimpse out the window. 

The bedroom is tiny, the furniture within taking up the vast majority of the space, leaving us with very little room to work, yet somehow we all fit in. Through the closed door we can hear the sounds from the lounge. It too is packed full of people, some who heard the initial shrieks and screams for help, some who received the panicked phone-call. Some were further along the communication tree, receiving word as the news branched out exponentially. 

We know how much this means, how much is riding on our...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Behind Closed Doors

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
Midnight. The normally quiet residential street is a hive of activity, as busy and bustling as a midday marketplace. People have gathered from all over; neighbours, friends, relatives, all standing outside trying to make sense of the unfolding drama. We can see it all, hear it all from the bedroom, each of us taking turns to peek out to the street a dozen floors below as we rotate over and over again, each of us briefly the centre of the chaos, standing pumping his heart, then taking a break, a breath of fresh air and a glimpse out the window. 

The bedroom is tiny, the furniture within taking up the vast majority of the space, leaving us with very little room to work, yet somehow we all fit in. Through the closed door we can hear the sounds from the lounge. It too is packed full of people, some who heard the initial shrieks and screams for help, some who received the panicked phone-call. Some were further along the communication tree, receiving word as the news branched out exponentially. 

We know how much this means, how much is riding on our...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: War and EMS

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
This is a post I have written, deleted and rewritten several times. It is a risky post, as it has the
potential to delve into political wranglings that I do not wish to enter. Nevertheless, I want to write about a side to EMS that very few have seen.

Those of you who have followed this blog for any time, will know that just over two years ago, I left the relatively safe shores of the UK and headed to continue my life and my career in Israel. Just the name of this country evokes images in people's minds that I cannot control. Some for better, some for worse. Living here is a complex mix of normality and insanity, of the usual and the unusual, of war and peace. Few places in the world stir up as much feeling as Israel does. There are lovers and haters, there are the passionate and reserved, but there are very few who have no feelings one way or the other when it comes to Israel. That, despite the fact that too few could point it out on a map or describe its size. (Look on a world map for the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea in between Egypt, Jordan,...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Nine Years Ago Today

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
London, 7/7/2005.

I remember, 9 years ago today, that it was my first day off after thirteen shifts in a row. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, driving my car to the garage for its annual MOT test. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, walking the mile or so home to be greeted by a yell from upstairs telling me that there'd been "Some sort of power surge on the London Underground." 

I remember, 9 years ago today, of a shiver going down my spine and me yelling back "That's no power surge, that's terrorism. Just wait ten minutes for the official news." 

I remember, 9 years ago today, of running upstairs, putting on the uniform and boots that I'd thought were going to have a day's rest. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, of calling the garage, explaining, apologising, telling them I need the car back and that I'd rebook the test. 

I remember, 9 years ago today, running back to the garage, finding that they'd done the test, refused to charge me for it, and the manager saying "I hope it really is just a power surge." 

I remember, 9 years ago today, that London was...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Trust

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
There are several posts, in fact dozens of them, sitting in the drafts folder, waiting to see the light of day. At times, I sit at the keyboard and, just like the ad for Yellow Pages used to say, let my fingers do the walking. Or, as in this case, talking. I wrote most of this post over two years ago, but wasn't ready to share it. Everything within it is still true today. 

There are times where I don't write the posts, don't compose the stories, they just magic themselves from memory to fingertips, skipping out any thought processes along the way. Sometimes, the opposite is true. There is a tale I wish to tell, if only I could find the way; if only confidentiality issues, or lack of descriptive skill, or plain and simple fear weren't preventing me from doing so. For me, writing is often a type of therapy, giving voice to the sights and sounds that sometimes torment or trouble or even tickle my thoughts.

I've never been one to talk about how I feel. I find it uncomfortable and always worry that the skeletons I keep hidden behind lock and key will be too much of...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Honour

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
There is no honour in a so-called "honour killing." 

These horrendous pieces of news reach our eyes and ears all too often, streaming in from media the world over, yet for as many of these horrendous news items that make it to the front pages, there are so many others stories that never see the light of day. The trauma affects only those closely connected to the victim and the world can't share the pain, even if only for a brief, fleeting moment of reading a hastily clicked-away internet screen. 

I know these cases exist. I have seen them, or at least their results. A woman lies dead in the street. A man she chose to live her life with was found not far away. Their families, disapproving of their relationship, made an unholy union in order to sever theirs. Calm is restored. At least until the next victim in the cycle finds themselves at the wrong end of a knife or gun or blunt instrument; harbingers of doom; revokers of life; restorers of so-called honour. 

The cycle continued. One death led to another, each family seeking the upper hand, the glory. There would...

Continues, Read More...


Ambulance: Evidence

Written by RSS Poster InsomniacMedic
She's wearing a long black coat, fake fur around the collar, like she's wearing a fox for a necklace. And although the sun has already set, sunglasses rest on her head; gaudy, silvery arms that hold on to giant darkened lenses. One of the lenses is shattered but still intact, as though a spider had built its web all the way across. Her handbag, with its plaited rope handle still loosely around her arm, has spilled its contents across the pavement. Lipstick, coins, old receipts and chewing gum are sprawled across the ground much like their fallen owner. 

On the outskirts of the scene, it's like trying to empty flood-waters out of a sinking ship with a teaspoon. Two police officers fight back the threatening crowd, as a third attempts to tie the blue and white tape across the only access that doesn't involve climbing a fence. Each time he ties one end, someone tears down the other. It takes the threat of a taser before the massed mob take a hesitant step back and as they do, back-up arrives, giving the police more of a chance.

We're in the middle. Surrounded...

Continues, Read More...




Latest InsomniacMedic Stories

Hope
Back On The Road
Perhaps It's Just Me
Behind Closed Doors
Behind Closed Doors

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Emergency Shorts:
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