I'm a fairly easy going guy.
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.