While trolling the interweb as I do I came across this post from a respected ambulance dinosaur, I hope he wont mind me reposting it here,
“I once had to cut an old lady’s leg off whilst sitting in the middle of the road. Now this is a true story but oddly enough I have some difficulty sharing it with others. Instead of people leaning forward in their seats intent on “tell me more” I find people hurriedly try to pull the story up as if I am some poor stand up comic about to cross the line into worst taste territory. I make it worse of course since I usually add about now, “listen up, this is really funny.” The ambos reading this will be demanding right now “get back to the soon to be legless lady.” Everybody else will be cringing with a mix of abhorrent revulsion at the prospect of the story blended with that aghast feeling that this bloke telling it is running around without a diagnosis and proper medication.
You see that is my point. I’m not like everybody else anymore. The more stories I gather, the smaller my audience. Ambos see stuff, hear stuff, dare I say it, smell stuff that few others do. Our ‘normal’ becomes seriously reset to somewhere between ‘that’s not right dude’ and ‘WTF?’ It is very hard to come home to your nearest and dearest and say the reason I am late is because I had to cut some bloke down from swinging by his neck in the rafters of his garage and we had to wait an hour for the undertaker to come and cart off the body. Or the reason I am a bit quiet is because I had worked futilely on a little kid found face down in a swimming pool then break the bad news to the parents just home from work.
It is very hard to be an ambo and keep thinking like ‘normal’ people. What you need to debrief is not meant for the ears of the masses. Even the best partner can struggle. That’s why we take them out observing to gain some perspective. We need to be patient with them and help them to be understanding of us.
Perhaps that’s why we turn to other ambos with our black humour and our very not normal stories. We sit around a table in a coffee shop laughing and joking about things we have seen whilst being very wary of the two mums nearby knowing that if they accidentally overhear they will recoil in shock at our terrible lack of compassion. They don’t get we have to turn these events into something we can live with. We don’t have to filter or interpret or leave stuff out or perhaps leave out the whole story with our colleagues.
So we aren’t like everybody else. We have to find a way to deal with abnormal but still fit into the normal world. Everyone will find their own way of doing this. The fact that you have the battle to find your own way only makes you an ambo, not weak, or a failure or different. That is just your lot.
Anyway, the old lady and her leg. The damn ambos will be banging walls by now to get on with it. She tried to run across the road and beat a tram. This was a lady practically being measured up for a walking frame but she gave it a red hot crack anyway. No surprise she didn’t make it. The tram went straight over her leaving her underneath, unconscious. It is about now the non ambos press delete. There she is with the wheel of the tram lying on her leg just below the knee. Crushed to just a few sinews of muscle and tendon. She was dying from a multitude of injuries and the fire/rescue boss says we have to wait for lifting bags to arrive. Uh uh. Out come the shears, cut cut, out slides the lady. There were only a few strands of tissue left. No surgical amputation here. The leg was smashed its whole length.
Later that night I get home late from work, of course. Hurriedly dress and off to a friends place for dinner. You wouldn’t credit it but this chap there, prone to melodrama, is lying on the couch, the centre of attention. He has driven past the tram on his way home from work. He didn’t see the lady but he knows someone was under there. His imagination has him recoiling and regaling in horror. He is surrounded by friends supportive of his living nightmare. Finally someone turns to me and says “quick, tell him the person was okay. Make this terrible thing go away for him.”
See it is funny. Apparently I’m not like everybody else anymore.”
If you are interested in more of this mans musings then I comment this page to your good selves,