Here’s a novel thought……
What if this became a shared blog between me and my good lady (also a paramedic). At times when my creative juices (or memory) are lacking then Mrs 999 can step in and give you some of her tales as well. Seems a frightfully good idea to me, so lets give it a try!
Scared of the Dark
I think I must be one of the few who actually enjoy working my night shifts. Not only do I enjoy the type of “customers” who tend to choose to call 999 at 2am in the morning, but the big bonus for me is the wonderful sleep that I get the following day (As long as Mr Medic999 keeps the kids quiet!!) and the fact that my body clock seems to appreciate getting up at 3pm to go to work rather than 5.30am.
In all truth I am scared witless of the dark, I have been since I was a little girl and the fear keeps raising its ugly head from time to time at work. One memorable episode I can remember occurred a couple of years ago, and I still get the shivers and butterfly’s thinking about it as I sit at the computer writing this.
My partner and I were sent to a local “nature park” at 2am on a Sunday morning for an:
“Unknown male/Back injury/Unkown location but in the …..nature park”
We questioned the location with control and were informed that the patient was intoxicated and was unsure of his exact location but was somewhere in the park area. He was unable to move due to his back injury.
Great…..I had never actually been in this park, was unsure of this layout and wasnt too keen on wandering around at stupid o`clock in the morning trying to find a needle in a haystack. The park was also know as a bit of a haven for drug users and other unscrupulous types. Hopefully he would be crying out or at least singing a drunken lullaby to help us find him!
Arriving at the job my stomach was doing little flips, and I couldn’t help but imagine some horrific fate that lay in wait for me and my crew mate. I took a deep breath, remembered what a professional I was, grabbed the biggest torch off the ambulance (much better than my pen torch) and headed off into the great dark abyss with my mate.
The path was barley visible as it was covered with undergrowth, but we made our way along best as we could calling out along the way, hoping for some response……
Mrs999: ” Hello, is there anybody there?”
Mrs999: ” Hello, if you can hear us, please make a sound!”
All of a sudden, a slow faint voice, barely audible is heard. We couldn’t figure out from what direction it was coming from, or really what was even said. Reality check!!…….Sod this for a laugh…..Back to the ambulance.
Rule number 1 – ensure your own safety. Walking around a known place frequented by drug users in the middle of the night by torchlight – Not the best idea in the world.
Back in the ambulance, doors locked! The patient has been injured for about 30mins now and the temperature is droping quite significantly. If he really cannot move then there is a real chance of hypothermia on a night like this. He needs to be found fairly quickly so lets look at options:
- Get control to ring his mobile back and listen for a ring tone – No answer, phone switched off!
- Request the police helicopter to fly over and scan the area using their thermal imaging camera – Helicopter unavailable!
- Request more ambulance crews to help look for him – No chance, its 2am on a Sunday morning. The clubs in the town centre are starting to kick out!
- Request police on the ground to assist with looking for him – Police will dispatch someone as soon as possible.
An hour passes, we are still in the cab of the ambulance waiting for our assistance, eventually a police van turns up and I jump out to tell the officer what is going on. I take one look and jump straight back into the cab – doors locked!
2 big German shepard’s have been let out of the back of the van and are now coming towards the ambulance.
Fear number 2 for me – Big Dogs!
Although not as bad as my fear of the Dark, it doesn’t really help the current situation, especially when my mate goes and tells the dog handler how I am cowering in the cab and the dog handler then thinks it would be funny to set the dogs onto jumping up at the side window in a “playful manner!”
Anyway, I pull myself together once the dogs are on their leads, and get prepared to confront both of my fears at once….then salvation…..No, the patient didn’t come walking out of the park, but nearly as good, the dog handler informs us that it will be best for us to wait in the ambulance as apparently our scent and movement will hinder the dogs in searching for the patient. Woooooo Hoooooo!!!!
Off they go into the darkness whilst we sit in our nice warm cab waiting for him to come back then walk us into the patient.
30 mins pass and still no news. Oh God, maybe the police officer and his dog have been abducted by aliens or been horribly murdered? Get a grip!
Its now been nearly 2 hours and still no sign of the patient. I’m now getting really quite concerned about the patient and what his condition will now be like. Eventually out of the dark comes the sound of the pitter patter of BIG dogs feet and one policeman.
“Cant find anything, if he was in the park, they would have found him. He mustn’t be in there!”
We get the patients mobile phone number from control and pass it to the police man who does a trace which provides the patients name and address. We listen in as officers arrive at his address and knock on the door………HES AT HOME…..IN BED!!!!
We had spent the best part of 3 hours looking for him and waiting for the police to look for him and all the time, he had gotten himself up and made his way home to bed! He couldn’t remember ringing 999, he said his back wasn’t that bad and all he wanted to do was go back to bed!
How many resources were wasted? What other emergencies could we have dealt with instead of sitting in a park?
At least he wasn’t hypothermic or dead though!
As I look back on the job, I now have a bit of a giggle. Ironically,not at the patient, who I could not describe with pleasant and professional terms, but instead at myself. I think I have hardened over the subsequent years. I still dont like the dark too much, but i have learned to appreciate the wonderful persuasive abilities of a police dog in certain situations.