Oct 08 2012

My other car’s a Cinquecento.

But I only take that out on special occasions.


Oct 05 2012



Cos the moment before the swing goes is the business…

Oct 05 2012


Because its pretty. And when else can you get to use the word “cupola”?


Oct 01 2012

Turn, turn, turn.


I'm a fairly easy going guy.






Outwardly serene


It takes a fair bit to rile me, to scratch this smiley patina and expose the hungover howler monkey within. But one word will do it, one word is my hair trigger, the blue touch paper on my supa-fly TNT, mutha-fucker.

The public insist on using it to describe patients who aren't responding normally.

“He's taking a turn, son…”. In my experience patients who are taking turns have been convulsing.

Or smacked off their chops.

Or having a haemhorragic CVA.

They might be acting funny because they're drunk.

Or they might be dead.


The word means precisely nothing, and yet it still gets passed to us -“Pt having funny turn – making strange noises.”

What kind of strange noises? People who are choking on their vomit make strange noises, but then, so did Sade and nobody ever crashed HER in for an emergency CT.


(I haven't checked this out. If Sade has ever needed an emergency CT, I'm going to look like a proper heartless cunt. I'm not going to check though, because my interest in incorporating an 80s pop culture reference into a point of humour about brain injuries is too great. This is my cross, and for you I bear it.)

I accept that callers can't be expected to give medical chapter and verse, but surely the call handlers are allowed to intercept this loathsomely vague phrase?

They do it for other jobs, we don't get sent to “Some boy's chibbed this cunt a fuckin' sair yin, like, an' there's blood pishing aw ower ma new suite.”


Although, to be fair, there have been occasions when I've felt that the call handlers probably could do with editing the complaint somewhat.

I have in the past been despatched to “male, really, really, really drunk.” and on one memorably hilarious occasion “male assaulted by whores and junkies”. The latter was changed rapidly, I'm assuming by a more experienced member of control staff who saw it come up and said “You cant send a crew to THAT!”


A turn can be the last minutes of your life, or left at home with a call to the GP in the morning.

Will I be hoovering vomit from your lungs, or putting you back to bed with a Rich Tea?

If I'm honest the reason I hate the word so vehemently is because it disarms me; it gives no indication of what gear I need to take or be in while approaching the job.

And that makes me uncomfy.



Sep 20 2012



We're trialling a mechanical CPR device. Imagine an ironing board that you lie the patient on and it does chest compressions for you.

We tried it on resusci annies, then we tried it on full size dummies.

And then we took it to the fire college and hauled their 80kg rescue dummies up and down a six storey training tower, all soot and stairs and haunted leaning furniture, while the machine hammered on their sternums a hundred times a minute.

People always complain that we don't test gear “where you'll use it, in a high flat, or down a stairwell.”


We tested it.


Then, three days ago, I hauled ass to a cardiac arrest and strapped it across the chest of a woman who we all suspected wouldn't make it out of the house, let alone to hospital.

And it cramped and squeezed her chest and poured blood into her heart muscle which began to twitch and then beat as normal.

And that heartbeat produced enough blood pressure to push oxygen to her respiratory centres and she started breathing spontaneously.

And instead of leaving a corpse on the landing for the mortuary workers to zip into a black bag and bump down the stairs?

We took a very sick mother, wife and sister to hospital and called her family to come say goodbye.




Sep 07 2012


So, I'm at at the Queen's Garden Party (as a medic, not a guest, though it's a rather lovely opener to any story) when Jax sneezes.

“Oooh. Bless me.”

“You can't solicit blessings…” begins Sarge “Either people will bless you or not, but you can't go round demanding it.”

Jax looks at Sarge like he's mental.

She's got a point.


But it gets me thinking.

We all know the drill. Someone sneezes and it's considered polite to say “Bless you” or, if you're terribly posh, “God bless you.”


We all know the probably apocryphal origins of the custom, that during the Black Death, a sneeze was one of the earlier symptoms, and to be caught sneezing in public was to alert others to the fact that you were probably about to die in a fireworks cascade of pustules and boils and rats piss (I haven't studied bubonic plague very much…that'll have to do). So people started blessing each other, in the hopes that the Big Yin would drop a urinal block or two in the Thames to negate the nastier effects of old Rattus Norvegus tinkling in the Evian.


I can't help thinking a bottle of Dettol and a green scrubby might have been more effective.


Still, we're left with this ridiculous legacy of invoking a deity whenever someone's nasal airways are irritated and they expel mucus and air at high speed to remove said irritation. Not only is it a custom, it's practically etiquette – people like Jax get upset if you don't offer them the blessings of the almighty just because they haven't taken an anti-histamine this morning.

The thing is, when you fart, or burp, or cough, it's up to YOU to say “Excuse me”, because we recognise that those involuntary actions your body makes have no place in polite company. Largely because they're the sounds associated with expelling something that it doesn't need anymore and have no place lolloping around in polite company.

For some reason sneezing is exempt, like a flatmate who's offended because you pointed out their pubes on your soap, sneezes demand that everyone else makes it all better in the interests of keeping the offending party sweet.


So in the interests of removing this daft anachronisism and avoiding any risk of offence by the summoning of a Judeo-Christian god with a box of Kleenex, I'm advocating a new system which still acknowledges the sneeze and yet is up to date and unlikely to offend.

It simply requires you to point at the sneezer and shout “You sneezed!”

Before you dismiss it, it's marginally less ludicrous than requiring the gods to attend to your sinus drip. I hope they have more important matters to attend to than your snottery beak.

Failing that, if you're still up for pulling celestial beings into your bodily expulsions, I've devised a whole new range of sayings.

For instance, when you've excused yourself from the dinner table to use the bathroom, from now on I think it should be only gracious, on your return, to tell your fellow diners – “Peace be upon you, I shat.”

Also, please feel free to use the following lines in polite company.

“By the grace of Shiva, your tummy is rumbling.”

“May the Buddha smile upon your productive cough.”

“Apollo's flight, true and straight, guide your wee to the porcelain.”

“Pray the angels sing in the key of your queef.”

Obviously, being a etiquette trail blazer can be a lonely business, so I'm going to need you guys to all start using these with immediate effect. Report back, readers.

Today is the first day of a wonderful new era of partnership between farting and heaven.



Sep 05 2012

Kept in suspense.

A touring theatre company asked for a paramedic in the wings for each performance, one of their actors was to be suspended by his ankles for some time and they were nervous the top of his head would blow off.

Each night, after shift end, the day shift team leader would make their way to the theatre and stand in the back stage for an hour, listening to tech cues and watching the scene we were required for.

By the time I caught the whole show as a punter I could mouth along with the actors in our bit.


Aug 08 2012

ALS course


Which, it transpires, stands for “Assorted Lovely Scones”.

Doctors get the best free munchies.

Jul 16 2012

Obligatory accommodation shot.

On our last night, I look down the length of the bunk house.

“Jesus…this place is a shit-hole.”


James looks up from his bedroll.

“In our defence…it was when we moved in, too.”


Fair point.


Jul 15 2012

Revenge:best served cold with semi skimmed milk.

They laughed at me when I won coco pops. They laughed when I squirrelled them away in my pack.


And on the last day? When breakfast was dead hash browns and “deep fried cooked egg” (I still don't know).

When the locals had started herding the camels back along the nearby roads, confident that some nutter rally driver wouldn't plough through the middle of them?

I had coco pops.


And I was even nice enough to share.


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