As I was getting ready for work this morning, I was going through my steps for getting out the house on time and without waking the kids, when I started to actually think about what I was doing and taking note of what I was thinking about, which made me realise that I pretty much have the same routine each and every morning when I come to work.
Now that in itself isn’t that surprising is it? After all, I have written on this blog in the past about my OCD and how that keeps raising its head every now and then.
No, what I found surprising, when I actually consciously made the effort to realise where my mind was going, is the mental routine that I have before I get out of the door and also on the way to the station.
As well as all the usual stuff such as tip toeing downstairs and dashing for the alarm panel so that the little one doesn’t wake; cleaning my teeth, getting washed and wetting my hair in the kitchen sink (so that I don’t have to turn the upstairs bathroom light on), and absolutely not playing any music or putting the radio or TV on; I find my mind wandering.
Now this may sound a little weird but I am sure that some of you will go through similar things, even if you don’t realise it (or at least I hope you do so that I don’t seem like a complete freak!)
As I am putting on my uniform, I find that my mind set starts to change. I start to think over the last few days of work, even if the last few days were a couple of weeks ago. What jobs did I do? How well did I do them? Is there anything that I learned from those jobs, god or bad that I can take into this upcoming shift? How can I be better than I was yesterday?
I put my trousers on and tuck my T-shirt in. My belt goes on as well as my radio clip and my multi-tool. As I fill my right hand trouser leg pocket with my guidelines book, I remind myself that I need to refresh myself on certain drugs and dosages. It always now reminds me of Justin’s post ‘Dose that kid’ and how much he reminded me of my responsibility to keep up to date and not rely on pocket books to make my life easier for me.
As I put my gloves and tourniquet in my other pocket, I think about how things are changing with cannulation. How recently, the amount of cannulas I am putting in has decreased so much since I have moved away from thinking that a certain condition requires a cannula because the ‘book’ says so, to
“Does this patient actually need a cannula? Do I need to give an IV medication or am I likely to need IV access en route to hospital?”
If the answer to those questions is a no, then they don’t get a cannula, sometimes to the annoyance of the A&E department.
I bend over and start to tie my boots, and this morning I get a slight feeling of how the day is going to be. I am not a psychic by any stretch of the imagination, although I do believe that certain people have special gifts, but sometimes I get a feeling of excitement about the day, and other days I get a feeling of nervousness, almost as if I know that I am going to get a bad job.
Sometimes this feeling can be so strong that it is quite unsettling, and even more worrying, more often than not, it comes true (although I am sure that is just plain co-incidence)
Once my boots are on, it’s time for the after shave and a quick look in the mirror. Not because I am vain, but because I have a responsibility to my patients, their families and my service to look professional and even smell professional.
As I leave the house, I have a quick look up to the upstairs bedrooms, curtains closed, and feel content that my family are still sleeping soundly. I feel thankful that I am going out of the house to help people and am not sitting in the house waiting for help to arrive. I feel grateful that I am in a position that enables me to have such an impact on so many people’s lives, but also feel pressured to ensure that I am everything that they should hope for as I walk through their doors.
On the way to work in the car, I think about what piece of equipment I need to get out of the car or the ambulance and re-familiarise myself with. It’s been a while since I last used the KED or the traction splint.
Then for the last 5 minutes of the drive in, the iPod goes on and I sing at the top of my voice until I pull into the station.
I lock my car and walk across the station yard, quickly looking to see what vehicles are on station, then I open the door to my station and my day begins.
I walk in and say good morning to everyone, then I head into the office and collect my things and realise that right there and then, I am doing the job that I was put on this planet for.
Its a wonderful feeling, and it has never changed in the 10 years that I have been in this profession.
But I always secretly hope that this day isn’t going to be the day that I finally complete my check list of ‘bad jobs’ to get. There is still one on that list that hasn’t been ticked yet, and I will be very happy to make it to the end of my career with that list uncompleted.
But for now, its into the rapid response car and out onto the streets!