Time to Grow Up…


Well, it’s been a while but what better reason is there to come back to blogging than the birth of a son?

On August 27th, 2014 at 0324am my son, Arthur Atticus Thompson, was born by emergency caesarean section. I remember the moment vividly.

My wife had been in labour for thirty-one hours and although she had her heart set on a natural birth, it was the consultant’s decision that enough was enough and our baby was to come out whether he wanted to or not.

The wife had struggled through every minute of those thirty-one hours. Contractions began at 2am on the Monday morning. By 2pm she was in so much pain we contacted the hospital to discuss coming in. Naturally, as contractions were only about eight minutes apart at this time, the hospital staff were not keen on having us turn up. Come, they said, but if you’re not ready then we’ll send you straight home.

We live an hour’s drive from the hospital so we were always planning to start travelling in the direction of the hospital early, although we had hoped to wait until contractions got down to about 6 minutes apart. An interesting thing about the timing of contractions – I didn’t know this but the apps that you can download for your phone, the ones (and we used several) that the wife and I were using, time your contractions from the beginning of one contraction until the beginning of the next. This is not how out hospital does it. Instead, they count from the end of one contraction to beginning of the next. The wife and I were twenty hours in to her labour and we never saw her contractions get closer than eight minute apart until we discovered that little gem. As it turns out, her contractions were actually four minutes apart and had been for some time.

The midwives knew I was recording the contractions and so took my word (or the apps word) for it every time I updated them as to our progress. It was only when a student midwife walked in and commented that she thought the contractions were closer to three minutes apart that things started to get a bit exciting.

Enter the Registrar – the senior doctor on shift. The wife was assessed again and found to be only two centimetres dilated. Ideally, they like for the mother to be ten centimetres dilated and to be having three to four contractions every ten minutes. It was suggested at this time that we should go home.

I took a short break at this point and telephoned my mother-in-law to update her on the wife’s progress. My ear grew hot as her threats to murder me should we be discharged blistered my eardrum. I actually had to hold the phone away and I could still hear her. Caesarean sections, it would appear, run in the family and both mother-in-law and sister-in-law had already been through exactly what I was now seeing with my wife.

I walked back in to see the Registrar begin her discharge speech, saying how it would be beneficial and promote more rest for mother if she was at home and not taking up a bed in hospital.

The wife became frantic at this point. Whilst under the care of the hospital staff she had been on Entonox (or gas and air) constantly and the thought of being discharged without any pain relief was terrifying for her.

Now I can understand both sides of this argument. The wife is not progressing; therefore the hospital staff can do nothing. Yet, we have no pain relief out side of hospital and we live an hour away. That’s a two hour round trip if we are ejected. I did the only thing I could do which was to look stern and say nothing. I did not want to get into an argument with the staff, as doing so would mark us as ‘difficult’ and likely improve the odds of being discharged. Instead, I said nothing, looked at the registrar with my sternest ‘I disagree yet won’t voice this,’ face, and allowed my wife to seal the deal with a well-timed howl of pain. The midwives attended at once and remarked that a two hour round trip with no pain relief might be a bit harsh. Credit due, the Registrar considered her underlings opinions and then offered an epidural. This, I knew, was good news. An epidural, once given, must be monitored; hence I knew we would be staying.

An epidural is a truly horrific thing to watch. I observed the kindly anaesthetist insert a foot of metal (okay, slight exaggeration) into my wife’s spine, with a smile. To say I felt light on my feet would not do that feeling justice. I definitely swayed, not because I am unfamiliar with the procedure (I am a paramedic and see some pretty gruesome stuff), but because the wife had no say in the matter. She was either so intoxicated on gas or blinded by pain that making a decision for herself was simply not possible. The anaesthetist explained the possible side effects and risks (one of which included spinal cord damage) and asked me to sign on the dotted line. A howl of pain from my wife produced the most frantic and unintelligible signatures I have ever produced.

My God, what a drug! The pain virtually vanished after about twenty minutes and my wife was returned to me once more as one who is able to hold a conversation and is, more over, recognisable one more as my wife. Watching her cling to an Entonox cylinder, half in half out of bed, dribbling and screaming is not something I ever want to see again.

Part of having an epidural is that the patient must be monitored, or more specifically, the baby must be monitored. The wife was hooked up to a machine called a CTG, or Cardiotocogram, which allowed the staff to monitor both foetal heart rate and also the length, duration and frequency of the wife’s contractions.

It quickly became apparent that something was not quite right. The duration of my wife’s contractions were lasting up to ten minutes and rolling straight from one into another. A normal contraction might last up to a minute, sometimes two and you would normally have a little gap in between which would allow both mother and baby and chance to recover before the next assault. Small wonder then that my wife had been in so much pain for so long.

Once more the registrar was called and once more it was discovered that, despite the intense contraction activity, the wife had not dilated further than 4cm. It was some improvement but the Registrar was not happy and made the obvious decision to pass the case up the chain of brains.

Enter the Consultant, who as I said, was not messing around. Baby will be delivered tonight, she said, by c-section. Enough is enough, she said with finality and that was that. She scribbled some notes on our care record and handed over to the registrar. I go now to prep theatre, she said as she left.

It was something of a relief to be honest. We could have struggled on in the hope that my wife would dilate a little more but I think it would have been in vain and potentially dangerous for both wife and child.

Furthermore, Arthur is a big boy. I cannot imagine that my wife would have pushed him out without causing some serious undercarriage damage. Sometimes I wonder if she would have survived at all. My wife is quite petite. Perhaps then, this is nature’s way of saying that children should not have been an option for us. Arthur is an IVF baby. I wonder if the reason we were not blessed with a natural conception is because my wife would not have survived to deliver without the intervention of modern medicine. I guess we’ll never know.

To say I’m proud of my wife is not enough. I was by her side every minute and although I can never understand what she really went through, she will never understand what I went through either. To see someone you love in so much pain, to worry if they will even live, is a most sobering and terrifying experience. I may be over playing things a bit but at the time, during those long hours of listening to her cry, I can only say how it felt to me.

The wife and I have discussed our time in hospital and agree that although it was hard, we received excellent care and there will be more than a few thank you cards leaving here in the morning. The bottom line however is that we are pleased with the end result.

Arthur is worth it.

For her he is worth the three days of pain. For me he is worth the intense feelings of uncertainty and fear as she laboured so hard, struggled for so long for a natural birth that ultimately did not happen.

We love our boy very much. I may well remember every detail of the struggle to bring him into this world, from the initial IVF consultation to wanking in a cupboard, the anxiety of waiting for the test to show positive, the initial three months of hormonal imbalance, the labour, the birth, and now sleepless nights, shitty nappies and dodging projectile bowel movements but I would not change a thing.

He’s here and it’s great.

Perspective


April! That was the last time I posted about anything and you know what? I’m really not surprised.

I hold a full time job as a paramedic (Although I work as an on-call police medic), I live on a working farm and my wife is thirty weeks pregnant with our first born. Oh, and we have a fourteen week old puppy.

That’s a lot isn’t it? I read that all back to myself and I think it’s bloody loads. Too much maybe for one person to deal with but you just have to suck it up and soldier on. My wife and I always busy. Always. It never used to be this way. It used to be that she was always busy. I was never busy. My free time used to involve playing xbox or PC games. I may have watched the odd movie or perhaps even had an odd afternoon to spend doing nothing more than abusing myself in which ever way I saw fit. Not now. I don’t blame the wife. She’s just a worker, a hard worker… and she she makes me feel lazy if I’m not working too.

Oh, one more thing. Being as I live on a working farm, there is one more little thing I forgot that may actually take up a little of my time…

Harvest is coming.

 

Image

 

I small disclaimer. I don’t grow pumpkins, but I thought this was funny and illustrated my point nicely.

Okay, so we’ve established that life is busy. That’s fine. I’m not miserable. No bloody time to be! So what do I actually do with my spare time? Well, I write. I have a few pieces I’m working on that I hope will impress a few editors but you know what, that’s no easy task. Neither is typing while drinking whiskey. I do hope you’ll forgive my grammar and any other mistakes. If not, have a whiskey and you’ll understand my drivel fine.

You know what? I digress a lot. I meant to explain something insightful and in truth, I’ve completely forgotten what I meant to say. It was probably something unimportant like how things change when a baby is on the way. Something about how before I’d waste my days playing games and abusing myself but now… well things have changed. I have to prepare for First Born’s arrival. I must work, set an example, provide.

Okay, enough’s enough. I’ve often found that long posts discourage readers. Something about attention span I think, I can’t really remember because I wasn’t paying attention that day at school.

Right then, cheerio!

M 🙂

Another day in the office.


So today I am on shift and so far I have spent the entire day at home.

I am on call.

In fifteen minutes time my shift will end and I’ll clock off meaning that the past twelve hours have seen me do sod all.

Okay that’s not strictly accurate. I have tackled the immense pile of washing up in the kitchen, rendering it down to nothing but a stubborn stain on a pan. Said pan is now soaking and will be dealt with once I have finished with this post. I have also completed the majority of this month’s Open University assignment, watched three episodes of ‘Luther’ and racked up a few more wins for my team on Fifa 13.

I’ll be on shift again tomorrow, and although that will be a Saturday shift and guaranteed to be, ahem, busier, I’m hoping to be home for at least a few hours. The wife’s planned our annual ‘family scoff’ tomorrow whereby we all gather at my mother-in-laws to ‘scoff’ as much food as possible before playing cards or board games.

It’ll be fun, it always is but I can’t deny that I wouldn’t mind be called out at least once. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get a call, I get paid either way, but if I am called then I can claim for fuel used. My current car can do approx 700 miles to a full tank which costs me about seventy English pounds. Now, I claim about £15 for a 60 mile round trip. I only need five call outs, or 300 miles to make my money back for fuel. Not bad eh?

Yes I know the cars taking a hammering on mileage but when you consider that to most people money spent on fuel is dead money – they’ll never see it again, then it’s not that bad. I put that money that I claim back for mileage into a separate account which I save specifically for car repairs/servicing etc.
I’m lucky. I know that. I’ve fallen on my feet in a job that is for the most part pretty straight forward. It has its moments of course, and a fuck up in this line of work could see me imprisoned but if I keep a clear head and follow the rules then hopefully that will never happen.

Having spent the last few years in a job where I was returning home tired, angry and generally despondent, it was right to jump ship and search for something new. It was entirely possible of course that leaving everything I had come to know and depend upon could of backfired, but like I said, I’ve been lucky.

Even if I hadn’t fallen on my feet, I still think it was the right thing to do in jumping ship. I couldn’t bare the thought of working the same job for another ten years, then looking back and wondering what happened to those years.

I’d advise anyone who is waking up in the morning and thinking about ways to avoid going in for the day to have a long hard think about how they want to spend the next ten years.

I did.

Thieves, robbers and mechanics.


By God I was in a fluster the other day although to be honest it was my own fault. A victim of my own inability to organise my life. I did what many do, I assume, and put off checking when my actual MOT was due. I must have glanced at last years certificate at some earlier point, probably when I bought the car, and just forgot when it was due. I got the month right, this month, but my guess was out by about two weeks.

The bugger expires in a few days time. It’s not the end of the world though. I have a motorbike I could take but a quick check of the weather reveals its going to be a  dreary, wet and blustery few days over the weekend. I love my bike, but I don’t like being cold and wet.

Anyway, after a frantic fart, a bit of hopping up and down and half hour of apoplectic emptiness I finally got up off my arse and decided to ring around to try to book an MOT. I didn’t have to spend too long on the phone however. Fortunately the first garage had a vacancy for that very afternoon. I thanked them, perhaps prematurely now I come to think of it, hung up and jumped in the car.

The garage is quite literally ten minutes away from my home and so I was pulling up outside their premises before the lady who took my booking had even finished her cup of tea.

The chief spanner appeared from behind the desk as if from nowhere and took my keys.

‘Anything wrong with her that you know of?’ he asked.

I resisted the urge to look over my shoulder, unsure if I had accidentally brought my wife with me.

‘Nothing at all. Should be straight in and out I imagine,’ I said.

He gave an odd smile that was more of a sneer as I remember it and a wink that didn’t include him actually winking, as though he was going to but thought better of it. I suspect he is one of those poor unfortunates whose face contorts to reflect every emotion that passes through the owner, if only for a millisecond at a time. I find individuals such as this disturbing. It’s like they are changing their mind before your very eyes and are too brazen to hide it like normal people.

‘Take a seat over there. I take it your waiting?’

I nodded and waved the book I had brought with me. ‘Brought a book, though I doubt I’ll get much read.’

‘May as well have a coffee too then while you wait.’

I admit, all was going swimmingly well at this point and if it hadn’t been for my earlier near rage induced stroke I might have had a truly uneventful day up until that point. Alas, fate is ever-present and looking back I can see now the almighty boot being cocked back ready for delivering a kick to my anus that would both hurt deep within and spill my wallet’s contents straight into the chief spanner’s coffers.

Alarm bells began to ring, mildly at first, when I had been sitting waiting for nearly forty minutes. I could see no other cars being worked upon and so stood up to take a look through a kind of internal window. Have you ever been to a restaurant wherein you can be seated and see the kitchen staff at work preparing your meal? I can only assume that someone in the automotive industry thinks this is a good idea because this garage had installed a clear partition that allowed those waiting to watch the spanners at work.

I shouldn’t have stood up to watch really. I could have saved my sphincter it’s initial quiver of expectant rogering had I stayed put and read my book.

In the garage MOT bay I could see my car and in front of it was chief spanner pointing at two minion spanners and then back at my car. The two minions were also pointing at the car and occasionally scratching a head or an arse. Then, almost as one, they all turned and looked at me. Chief spanner waved, that odd half wink, laugh sneer expression appearing once more.

I could think of nothing else to do and so in a moment of awkwardness I waved back and then went and sat down again, a bead of sweat squeezing itself out upon my brow.

Chief spanner appeared a short while later. It’s easy for me to say this in retrospect but I swear there was a kind of victory in those cold dead eyes of his.

‘Bad news I’m afraid, Mr. Thompson.’

‘Oh really? You’ve not the right tool to perform your tests?’

He laughed, I laughed, trying not to mutter ‘bastard’ between my clenched teeth.

‘Your near-side headlight washer is kaput for a start and so that’s an automatic failure right there.’

‘You’re kidding!’

‘Fraid not, Sir. Headlight washers came in to the test in April. Lots of people fail on this one so I wouldn’t be too concerned,’ he grinned.

‘Well I am concerned. I need my car for Saturday. Can this washer thing be fixed?’

‘Fixed? No, not fixed. It must be replaced.’

‘Well, can you replace it?’

He sucked in though his teeth with a slow shake of his head. ‘We can yes, trouble is we don’t stock that part. I’ll have to order it in.

I said nothing, just blinked.

‘While we wait for that we can work on the other problem though,’ he added.

More blinking,

‘Your plates are illegal.’

‘My license plates?’

‘Are illegal, yes, fortunately we can make some up here.’

‘Those plates were put on in 2008. They’ve been on for every MOT for the past five years and no one has ever said a word about them. Why now?’

‘Well, my lads are exacting. I demand it of them. They’re completely up to date with VOSA regs. Could be the previous garages you took it too didn’t have our same standards.’

More blinking.

‘How long have you owned the vehicle, Sir?’ he asked.

‘About five months or so,’ I said, resigned to fact that my wallet was about to be raped.

‘Ah, could be then that the previous owner had some other plates that he put on for the MOT. Yours says TT at the end doesn’t it?’

I nodded.

‘Yeah, see that’s not allowed. Bit poncy too. You don’t want that do you? No, let us change it here. It’ll be legal then and look half decent.’

Slow blinking now. Twinges in the corner of my right eye signal the arrival of my rage tick.

‘Can you please fix my car,’ I say simply.

‘Oh sure. Sure we can.’

‘By Saturday?’

That awful sound of air being sucked in between his pursed lips signal to me that he’s really enjoying himself. My violent fist clenches. Seriously, in comparison to my other fist, my right always clenches when I’m angry so I refer to it as the violent one.

‘Could be, could be. Depends if I can get the part in. Then there’s the time it takes to fit too.’ He looked out through the internal window at my car. ‘Takes a while to get at the area too. Taking the bumper of an Audi takes nearly an hour on its own.’

My mind is screaming I think you’re full of shit, but I say nothing, blink and simply nod.

So, I drove home in a bit of a state I have to say, twitching, my violent fist clenching the steering wheel to make that rubbery juddering sound.

I had the car back in early the next day. It turns out they could get the part in, thank God, but it wouldn’t be until late morning and so they provided me with a courtesy car. A bloody knackered Ford KA with about as much presence as a sun-baked turd. I drove it away from the garage convinced I could hear chief spanner sniggering even when I was a mile away.

I didn’t get much change from £200 in the end and was once again nearly rendered apoplectic, if such a condition can still be said to exist in this day and age, when they handed me the bill.

Were it not for my calming mantra, I feel sure an ambulance may have been called.

My mantra, which I run though my mind whenever I am angry goes something like this.

Can you do anything about this situation you have found yourself in? Yes? Then why are you worried?

No? Then why are you worried? If there is nothing that can be done then what is the point of the worry?

I do believe this infallible and excellent logic is attributed to the fourteenth Dalai-Lama, (Tenzin Gyatso?) who must surely be a touched with some degree of inner peace that can only come with knowing something of a grander design. Oh well, that is one for pondering another day.

Until next time,

M 🙂

Here we go…


Well, the time has come. Marching Time to be specific.

Having just agreed and sent back my contract there’s nothing else to do but sit back and wait for the book to hit the market.

I thought waiting to hear back from the editors was stressful, but you know what? It really wasn’t. Not in comparison to a new fear which has risen up unannounced like a silent fart. You see, I’ve never really had a review before. Sure, I’ve had editors give praise (Not all the time. One actually scoffed in my face once. Scoffed!) from time to time but I’ve never had an honest to god review from a member of the anonymous public. It’s really quite frightening. Seriously, my poor bowels are working overtime. I keep blaming the dog but even the wife’s beginning to cast suspicious glances in my direction.

Alas, it’s out of my hands now. All that can be done is to wait and hide any stones.

I wonder if all writer folk have this fear? I mean, I keeping thinking back to the stories I’ve sent in and I know there are scenes I perhaps could have changed, rewritten or even omitted. Yet this is writing. If I change something then I’m actually writing a completely different story. Maybe one day I can do a director’s cut thingy if I’m really unhappy about something. In truth I’m not feeling to bad about what I’ve sent in. I’m never 100% happy anyway and so maybe this is a feeling I’m just going to have to suck up and learn to live with. Poor dog though. Really, he doesn’t deserve to have my wind blamed on him.

Scratch that. The dog has left the building. He’s actually just got up and left. It’s just me and a suspicious wife now.

Woe is me.

M.

All work and no play…


So you’ll recall me saying that today is a work day? I have been on call since 6am this morning and do you know how many calls I received asking for my services?

None.

I have sat on my fat arse counting my teeth with my tongue for most of the day.

Okay no. That’s not strictly true. Today I have:

Done the dishes.

Swept the floors.

Cut the grass.

Watched the Bourne Legacy (Pretty good but preferred the previous three).

Watched two episodes of Game of Thrones season 2.

Made a lasagne. (Not microwaved. I actually made it.)

Ate a lasagne. (Interestingly WordPress spells Lasagne with an ‘a’ on the end instead of an ‘e’.)

Took the cat to the vets.

Bought a motorcycle. (If you’re interested it’s a Triumph Bonneville T100. In black.)

Tinkered with the broken boiler.

Contacted heating engineer to complain about broken boiler.

Went for a 3k run.

Its gone 6pm now so I’m officially off duty. To celebrate I thought I’d try the beverage Port. Never had it before but I’ve heard its awesome.

Right then. I best go and open that bottle and have a lay down. Its been a long hard day after all.

M 🙂

Life on call


I work full time, although if you asked my friends (or even my wife) they would scoff at the mention of the word “work”. Particularly if it’s uttered from my mouth.

I’m a paramedic but I don’t work on an ambulance. I used to though. I did that for ten years until the call for a change grew too strong and I was compelled to answer.

I now work for a private company that offers forensic and medical services to the police. Basically, everyone is entitled to see a medical professional in police custody. That’s where I come in. They call, I answer and I make my way down the custody suite, assess, medicate, refer if need be and then I leave. I work a four-on, four-off pattern with each shift lasting twelve hours and yes nights are included.

The thing that grips most people’s shit about my job is that I respond from home. I live about thirty miles away from the nearest custody. I don’t have to be there at the start of my shift either. I just need to be near a phone and within one hour’s commuting distance. This means that when I finally get called, even if it’s dead on 6am, I will spend the first hour of my shift driving to work. Not bad eh? Only eleven hours to go. It takes me anywhere between half and hour and one hour to assess a single patient so if they only have one for me to see then I might only be in the custody suite for that period of time after which I am free to leave. Where do I go? I can go wherever I want, providing of course that I remain in contact and within one hour’s driving distance.

Yesterday I spent an hour test riding a motorcycle and another three quarters of an hour browsing their clothing lines.

This morning I have been up since six am, have consumed about six mugs of tea, had breakfast and watched the Bourne Legacy. My phone is set to divert so the house phone will ring if I get a call so I’m free to wander around the house without constantly checking my mobile for missed calls or to see if I have signal.

But… it’s not all good.

Mine is a lonely existence. Being the only medic on call at any one time, I don’t see anyone. Sure I see the police, but they live in their world and I am acutely aware of the fact that I am not part of it. I am a resource to be called in, nothing more. I speak with plenty of people on the phone during medical consultations or note sharing with other agencies but I never really see anyone. If I’m home then all is well. I spend my time writing, watching movies or wasting time on the internet. Once I leave the house though it’s a different story. I know I’m driving into a kind of void. A world full of people but absent of human interaction. I’ll stop by my parents house from time to time, even tried my brothers once but they work regular hours so they are rarely in.

Anyway, that’s enough of that. I’ve just remembered the other perk of this on-call life. Well, my wife sees it as a perk (I don’t).

She: ‘If you’re not called out and you’re at home, why don’t you do the house work?’

Me: ‘Really? I’m at work though. Kind of.’

She: ‘You can still do it! It’ll be like getting paid to clean.’

*sigh*

So, I have a mountain of dishes to climb, a few rooms to sweep or vacuum and anything else my beloved has put on my ‘list of things to get done when I’m skiving’. Nice.

Best I get to it then.

M J

The End of a Hard One


It’s been hard, so bloody hard… and long. But at the end of the long hard week things are steadily getting back into a normal routine. On a lighter note I have a new chair. Would you like to see a picture of my new chair?

Behold! My writing chair. Always wanted one of these. Its a treat for your ass.

Damn odd week this one. On the one hand things have been going swimmingly well with the publication of my first short story (and payment!) and its feedback. Yet, on the other hand I have been astoundingly busy to the point that this is the first chance I’ve had for some ‘me time’. Some people get pissed up, go out and see friends or just chill out when they get the time. I write. I write because I enjoy it immensely and it’s my way of chilling out.

Although busy, this week has been great for ideas. Perhaps having a break is good for the mind? For example, last night I hosted a BBQ for some friends who have been helping out down at the farm. Whilst getting steadily beer’d up the conversation swung widely between topics and herein was a virtual quarry of awesome. I must have looked a little disinterested as I tapped away like a mad man on my phone but no, my mind and ears were both feverishly mining ideas. Honestly, at times I felt as though I’d walked into a plot mine crammed full of brilliant material. Okay admittedly I was as drunk as a skunk by the end of the night but on re-reading some of the ideas I jotted down I can honestly say I’m pleased. I’m literally burning to start planning one of them. No, no sharing just yet I’m afraid.

Project Time appears to be on hold at the moment. Not sure why. I have two stories in with that mob and to be honest I would have thought we’d be close to publication by now. Maybe we are but no one is offering any news yet so I guess I’ll just have to be patient.

In movie news I watched Cloud Atlas this week and loved it. I’m a sucker for atmospheric sound tracks and this film has that in spades. Obviously I downloaded the album shortly afterward and added a few choice songs to my writing playlist. Speaking of which, that playlist now has some thirty songs on it which just repeat in one big loop. You’d think I’d be sick of some of them by now but nope. Every single one still inspires me now. Music, the writers best friend and partner in crime with that other great acquaintance – wine. Wine crime? Can I get a lol? Oh come on. That was pretty good.

Right, I’m off to commit some wine crime right now by finishing a bottle I started last night.

Later.

M J

Bleeding Fingers


Today I have mostly been writing and editing old stories. It’s been a bloody long day but come the end I will have submitted three stories to various markets making my total now doing the rounds, six!

I know at least one of them has already been accepted. I suppose I should put a little sampler up on here at some point but I’ll check with the editor first. A paragraph can’t hurt surely?

My novel is also grumbling along. That’s a beast of a project. I’ve never attempted one before though so maybe it will get easier with time? Who knows? I have the first half roughly planned out and also a good idea of what happens in the end but as I said, it’s a beast. Just finishing the damn thing will be a hell of an achievement.

Today has been a good day. I cannot deny that simple fact. I worked a night shift last night in police custody and was out all bloody night. I did a little over 180 miles in total scooting between the various custody suites but hey, that’s a story for another day. I’m just pleased I’ve got so much done on no sleep.

Come to think of it, I really should check and see what exactly I have submitted and to who. In my sleep addled state I could have made some blinding errors of judgment. Sod it, too late now anyway.

Right, this was just a quick update so, off with you. Get back to your own desk and write something yourself.

M J

Ups and Downs


This has been a truly bizarre month. Emotionally speaking I’ve been all over the place. This is what happens when you spend a lot of time pondering your place in the grand scheme of things or, where you would like that place to be.

For the last ten years I have been working with the ambulance service and have been qualified as a paramedic for around six or seven. The job has changed immensely to the point that I no longer recognize my role anymore. If you ask Joe on the street what a paramedic does he’ll probably tell you a paramedic saves lives. A paramedic goes to nasty car crashes to un-mangle people or appears out of the blue to resuscitate a dying loved one. I used to believe all that too and although these things do happen, it’s not very often and on the odd occasion I do get called to things like this there is rarely anything that can be done. Here we come to the heart of the matter. I find I’m asking myself ‘What good am I actually doing?’ more and more often. Sure, plenty of people are pleased to see me when I roll up to their house after they called 999 but, why wouldn’t they be? I get there super fast, listen with sympathy to their plight and then proceed to offer any help I can. Broadly speaking, I can categorize virtually any callout I go to and pigeon hole it into one of three automated responses. These are:

  1. I pick someone up off the floor that wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get up themselves. Chances are there is a big strapping relative nearby who could have done this himself but won’t. People are too afraid of moving someone for fear of aggravating any perceived injury. In reality it takes me just five seconds to assess if injury is present. I do this using a very sophisticated method of assessment that goes something like this. ‘Hi, so have you got any pain?’ If they’re not injured, I lift them. If they are and it needs more than a plaster, it’s off to hospital.
  2. I arrive to find the patient does not need an ambulance, never did and is either bemused as to why I am there or, more likely, is over the moon that someone has rushed to their aid for such a trivial thing. I will spend the next hour trying to refer this patient to the correct service.
  3. The patient/relative deliberately called 999 because the problem needs immediate attention. This type of call equates to about one in four. More often than not, we cannot treat this patient’s condition at home and so transport them to hospital. Rarely, the patient is very unwell/dying and there’s not a not a lot we can do anyway. Why not? Well, there are two reasons for that too.
  • The patient has been involved in a traumatic accident. Invariably, their survival depends on the degree of injury and has nothing to do with the skill of the paramedic. We might buy time, but that’s about it. Fate is inexorable.
  • They are unwell/dying because of the culmination of a lifetime of poor decision making. The morbidly obese, the sedentary sloth, the lifelong smoker, alcoholic, drug abuser etc. Included in this group are those who never had the opportunity to make poor decisions – those born with chronic conditions, or their genetic predisposition renders them a ticking time bomb.

This is a generalization of course but for the most part I believe it hold true. My point is that there is rarely a day when I feel I am making a difference because quite simply, fate or the patient’s life up until that point, won’t let me.

So, that’s why I’m leaving. I’m going to remain on bank and maintain my registration but it’s time to call it a day. Life is too short to spend a chunk of it miserable. Anyone who has ever had depression can tell you that. Sometimes you have to do what makes you happy. Money is not everything so long as you have enough to keep the wolf from the door.

Think of it this way. There will come a time when you look back at your life and examine what you’ve achieved. What do you want to look back on? Will it be the life of a man/woman who spent a significant chunk of their life miserable? Or will be one where you smile at those decisions that took you somewhere else and allowed you to live a more enjoyable life?

And remember, if you did take the leap and try something else, what is the absolute worst that can happen? Ask yourself that, and make your decision. I hope you’ll find that even if the worst were to happen, it won’t compare to a life half lived.