26 September 2010

Oh! Oh! Oh!

The difference between an emergency and an idiot.

I’m married to a paramedic. Apart from the obvious benefits of having an extremely hunky husband (are you reading this, honey? I’m saying nice things about you) with a steady job which requires a reasonably sexy uniform (are you reading this Mum? Are you ok with your son-in-law being sexy?), there is the pride I feel knowing that hubbo is performing a vital service to the public and helping people in need, every time he pops off to work.

Everyone knows what being a paramedic involves, right? We’ve all seen ER and All Saints and Third Watch, so we know that the job is non-stop action and emergency, pushing the heroes of our community to their physical limits to save the lives of desperate and dying individuals. Right.

In reality, I’d say that the rate of work that hubbo does that actually involves saving a life, or any other kind of real emergency, is about one job in ten. Those are the jobs where he treats victims of a car accident, patches up sporting injuries or rushes people with chest pain to hospital. Those are the jobs that are worth making melodramatic telly shows about.

But then there are the duds. The drunks. The doofuses*. These are the people who wouldn’t know an emergency if it landed in their lap. Your tax dollars are paying for highly-trained primary care specialists to deal with the following:

Them what done stupid things to themselves
  • Heroin ovderdoses. Many patients brought back from the brink of death are more concerned about wasting a hit than living to complain about it. Sometimes twice in a single shift.
  • Methamphetamine cases. It’s not enough for these folks to get all aggressive and invincible; they’ve gotta hurt themselves too.
  • The gentleman who managed to impale himself bottom-wise onto his car’s gearstick, before passing out.
  • The gentleman with a birth fetish who got a little too realistic. Dolls aren’t meant to go up there, sweetie. And as you’re now aware, they sure as hell aren’t meant to come out again.

 Them what drank too much

  • The many tiddly folk who walk in front of cars, crack their heads on concrete and punch the ambos who come to help them out.
  • The young man who wandered into someone’s yard and fell asleep in the middle of winter.
  • The young lady who decided to end an argument using a steak knife and her husband’s torso. 
Them what jump to conclusions

  • The caring but panicky folk who call an ambulance because they spotted a homeless person asleep on a bench; an overworked truckie asleep in his cab; or a group of adventurous teens smoking ciggies in the sand dunes.

 Them what don’t know taxis 
  • The gentleman who had the 'flu for four days.
  • The mother of the girl with a cut lip who requested a plastic surgeon. 
  • The young folk stuck in the city after the pub closes.

 Them what don’t really get it

  •  The lovely senior gentleman with dandruff.
  •  The lonely senior lady who needed to change a lightbulb.
  •  The parents of the tummy-bug-afflicted teenage girl who accidentally poohed on the floor.
  •  The family whose small terrier was having a seizure.

 Repeat offenders 
  • The lady who likes visiting a friend who lives near the hospital, who will claim to have chest pain because she knows ambulance protocols necessitate her transport.
  • The gentleman who accidentally decorated his foot with an angle grinder, was treated, returned home, and then accidentally decorated his other foot with an angle grinder.
I understand that one person’s version of an emergency may be different to another’s. But let’s try and keep the ambulance service running efficiently by following these simple guidelines:
1. If you’re currently using heroin, ‘ice’ or alcohol habitually or to excess, stop. Today.
2. If, in the absence of chest pain or head injury, you can walk, talk and breathe normally and get yourself to a medical care facility, by all means do so.
3. If you know any seniors or people with a physical or mental condition that prevents them from taking care of themselves, help them to get help before it becomes an emergency.



  1. angle grinder - ouch!

  2. Sharon5:56 pm

    Do you think he maybe thought it was an "Ankle Grinder?" Just sayin' !

  3. Phnarr.
    Monseiur Ankle Grinder barely grazed the skin, really. And used masking tape for a bandage. His biggest problem was of the learnin' variety.

  4. I still tell the Doll Baby Guy story regularly. The response-face of listeners makes me feel alive.

  5. And I too shall incorporate Doll Baby guy into my repertoire. And possibly the teenage floor-poo too, because it has poo in it.

    Big ups to Stocko. My little sis Sam and her husband Chris met in ambo school. It's a tough job, alright. It takes a lot of compassion and smarts to handle losers, assholes and, um, Matthew Newton.

  6. Handling Matthew Newton. *shudder*

  7. In Switzerland if you have chest pains and you go to the Emergency Room they ask you if you ate fondue that day. And there's no Matthew Newton. Isn't that great?