A Guardian Angel.

‘Do you want me to call an ambulance?’

‘No. Honestly it’s fine. I will be fine. Honest.’

‘Are you sure? Your hand was just on fire.’

‘Oh…good point, but no, I don’t want to waste their time you know? They are probably really busy.’

‘Lexy. Your hand was just On. Fire! I am calling an ambulance!’

I don’t remember much after that but apparently I projectile vomited all over the kitchen, before ‘kind of’ folding all in on myself like one of those wavy moments from Scooby doo and falling head first in to the oven.

Unfortunately, bouncing off a metal kitchen appliance on the way down to meet the grimy lino meant that not only had I managed to unceremoniously catch my hand on fire while making dinner but I had also inadvertently cracked my skull open which resulted in quite severe cooking related concussion.

This is why I now refuse to cook.

When I woke up/came around 2 people dressed from head to toe in green and yellow, one of them who’s name was John, I remember, were tending to my hand and the smell of sick and burning flesh made me vomit again.

I then apologized for wasting their time, before passing out again, but not before catching a glimpse of the bloke I had been cooking dinner for, high tailing it out of the door at the speed of a bullet, never to be seen again.

Worst. First. Date. Ever.

And I didn’t even get any Gas and Air.

On a non-descript Wednesday evening on the fifth day of May in the year of 1996, my life journey with Salford Royal Ambulance service commenced.

By ’Journey.’ I do not mean I work for the ambulance service, oh no!

I’m crap in an emergency to be honest, so even if I did want to work for the ambulance service, which I would love to, I wouldn’t be able to.

I tend to just freeze you see, and kind of just stare off in to the distance, in highly tense situations.

That’s why I hate it when I am alone with my two year old and he purposely starts to choke (so inconsiderate to my crapness!) or decides to climb and then jump off a 90ft tree or something (I WAS watching him! I was immobilized!) and also why I refuse to drive on the M6 in rush hour.

I would however like the perks of working for the ambulance service.

Mainly the never-ending supply of gas and air, I love gas and air. It’s seriously the only reason I am considering labour again.

Honest.

Anyway. Moving on.

My burnt wrist had only just recovered from a skin graft when my best friend was forced in to action, on my behalf.

‘999 what is your emergency please?’

‘My best friend just fell off a tram stop.’

‘A tram stop?’

‘Yes. A tram stop.’

‘A tram stop?’

‘Yeah. She was trying to impress this guy stood next to us and fake laughed to try and get his attention. Thing is, she didn’t realise the edge was right behind her and she took a giant step back as she flicked her hair. She hasn’t been squashed by a tram or anything…. Yet…’

‘Is she lay on the track?’

‘No she has kind of…Slithered out of the way of potential oncoming trams.’

‘Has she been drinking?’

‘I know you are probably expecting me to say yes right now. But no, she hasn’t! ’

The ambulance people were called Elizabeth and John, They weren’t convinced I wasn’t drunk. But really, I wasn’t! I was just in agony, and right before I vomited all over them, they told me my wrist was definitely broken. As it turned out I had minor concussion and had broken my wrist in 3 places!

Worst. Way. To. Try. And. Impress. A. Guy. Ever.

And also? I still didn’t get any gas and air.

Four months later I was visiting my dad, having chosen to head for a nice, relaxig holiday in Spain, to get over my accident, and with my hand still in a cast and 19 pins holding my life together, I pressed the outside gate buzzer to let my dad in.

He had been out shopping to get us ice cream.

He waved down at me holding a Cornetto from the top of the hill, put the car in to gear and then proceeded to drive down the hill towards me at full speed.

‘What are you doing?’ I screamed in shock, only just managing to jump out of the way.

His face was deeply panicked as he glanced at me in horror, a memory I will never forget, as the jeep careened past me at 60 MPH and glided, like a falling tank may glide, off a deep ravine.

I remember turning to watch and clutching my heart as it seemed to just hang in mid air, stopped in time for a split second, before rolling downwards and out of sight, carrying my beautiful dad with it.

It was a couple of seconds before I sprang in to action and realised the person who was hysterically screaming, was in fact, me.

‘Helicopteros Sanitarios, como os puede ayudar?’

‘It’s my dad!! He has driven off a cliff!’

‘Wait… what?’

‘My dad just drove off a cliff! We need a helicopter! The breaks must have failed and he just drove over the edge! I saw the whole thing. Oh my god… his face!!! You have to come. YOU HAVE TO COME NOW!!! There is no way you will get an ambulance up this mountain; we need the helicopter, PLEASE COME! I can’t help him; I have pins in my arm! Oh my god! Please come! I think I am going to be sick!’

‘Your dad drove off a cliff?’

‘Yes!’

‘Is he ok? Wait… why do you have pins in your arm? Are you injured too?’

‘Forget about me! I am always injured! It’s my dad! I can’t see him!!! Oh my god, the car is at the bottom! It rolled over and over and again! Please come!’

‘How high is the cliff?’

‘It’s about 160 feet!’

‘We are on our way!’

The ambulance people were called Antonio, Sergio and Raul. They saved my dad’s life in the back of that helicopter. Twice.

They said they couldn’t believe he wasn’t dead.

They said he must have a guardian angel.

I extended my stay so I could look after him.

With one hand.

Worst. Relaxing. Holiday. Ever.

And no. I STILL didn’t get any gas and air.

2 months after returning from Spain, having had my wrist removed from a cast, I decided I was fat, and it was about time I did something about it.

‘999 what is your emergency?’

‘A girl in the gym has passed out. There is blood everywhere.’

‘What has happened?’

‘She doesn’t want an ambulance but she definitely needs one! She was running on the treadmill, I saw the whole thing.’

‘What is the nature of her injury?’

‘She just stopped running!! I think she fainted! The treadmill fired her off the back of it like a rag doll and she flew head first at the bike I was riding!! I think she has given me whiplash!’

The ambulance people were called Anne Marie and John. Worryingly John addressed me by my first name before I had even removed the ice pack from my face.

‘I knew it would be you.’ He stated, his eyes dancing. ‘Please don’t be sick on me this time!’

I didn’t respond. I was too busy digging a hole to Australia.

Two black eyes, a broken nose and a broken jaw resulted in me losing quite a bit of weight actually.

It’s hard to eat chocolate with your mouth wired together.

I never stepped foot in that gym again.

And no. I STILL DIDN’T GET ANY GAS AND AIR!

It wasn’t long after that, that I stopped leaving the house all together, much to the relief of my now boyfriend.

Well, he was relieved… until I got pregnant.

Have you ever wondered what happens when the most accident-prone person on the planet gets pregnant?

‘999 what is your emergency?’

‘My girlfriend thinks her waters have gone. She had a turkey sandwich for lunch and she has been vomiting. Also she says please don’t send John, I don’t know what that means?!’

The ambulance lady was lovely as she dropped me off at the maternity unit and the midwife explained in front of her, that I had just peed due to relaxed pelvic floor and strenuous vomiting.

‘999 what is your emergency?’

‘My girlfriend thinks her waters have gone. She hasn’t been sick this time and it is her due date. We were going to drive to the hospital but she says she is in agony and I can’t drive!’

The ambulance man (GOD DAMN JOHN!) was very understanding when he dropped me off at the maternity unit and the midwife explained, ONCE AGAIN, I wasn’t in labour but had ONCE AGAIN, just peed due to a relaxed pelvic floor which had probably been aggravated by strenuous sex. (We were trying to induce labour!!!)

I vowed never to call an ambulance again. Or at the VERY least move to the Outer HEBREDIES.

Pregnancy? It turns out, is not so magical, and also? It completely steals your dignity. Not that I had much to cling on to! But still!

Not only did exploding in to the world of motherhood leave me with weak pelvic muscles (that may be an understatement) but unfortunately for all of us involved, it also brought with it a most unexpected and horrific illness, by the name of Post Natal Depression.

‘999 what is your emergency?’

‘My girlfriend has taken an overdose. Please hurry up. Please hurry up..’

‘Is she breathing?’

‘Barely. Please hurry up.’

‘Ok. Stay calm. We are on our way.’

‘Oh my god, please hurry up! She is dying. She isn’t breathing. Please hurry up! Oh my god. No no no! Please hurry up. SEND JOHN!’

I do not know the names of the paramedics who saved my life. I do not know if John turned up or not and if I was sick on him again and I do not remember anything for weeks after that.

But I do know this.

The paramedics saved my life in the hallway of my house.

‘999 Emergency what is the purpose of your call?’

I would like to say thank you for cooling my fingers, for holding my wrist together, for saving my dad’s life, for not jumping back when I puked on you and for never making me feel like I was wasting your time. But mostly I would like to thank you for saving my life.

My 2 year old would also like to thank you for saving his mummy and his granddad.

And now his Grandma, who you brought in to hospital, but who is yet to come out.

What you do? Is inspiring.

Thank you.

Now.

Send me some freaking gas and air!

I clearly deserve it.

*This post was first published in August 2012 on Trying my Patients, Ella’s blog. To read her fabulous blog, jam packed with stories as a paramedic, a blog which i am addicted to – visit here  – Ella’s blog. 

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6 Comments on “A Guardian Angel.

  1. As someone whose brother has been a paramedic for nearly 25 years this post means a lot to me. To know their work is so appreciated is overwhelmingly reassuring considering some of the awful sitations he’s been in. They are a magic facility who are priceless.

  2. Came straight from Ella’s blog to yours – to repeat the comment I left there, whilst you may be a walking disaster you are also a bloody brilliant writer and I am new follower.

  3. Wow – what a post. I was holding my breath for half of it at least! By the way, I think it says a lot for where you are now that you are thanking them for saving your life. Must mean that you value it 😉

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