As a 999 Ambulance call taker, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of my time on the naughty step these days. And it’s pretty much always for the same reason. Honesty. Too much honesty. (They call it sarcasm, but I beg to differ.)
Take a recent caller for example. He was intoxicated, in a field and complaining of abdominal pain.
After extensive questioning of his symptoms – punctuated liberally by his swearing at me for not just sending “a f***ing ambulance” – I advised him that he needed to contact his GP within a couple of hours.
Surprisingly, this did not go down well with the patient who declared that “If I die, I’m going to f***ing sue you!” I merely pointed out that he’d have problems suing me if he was dead.
It turns out, I’m not supposed to point out such things. It’s not “professional”. Maybe not but it was bloody satisfying!
However, it did make me wonder.
Have I become grouchy in my old age? Or has a large section of the general population turned into a bunch of complete drips?
When I broke my arm as a kid, I was bundled into Mum’s Mini Clubman and taken to A&E. And that was only because it was a very strange shape, otherwise it’d would have been a case of, “see if it still hurts in the morning”.
It would never have occurred to her to call an ambulance. But not these days. Hell no. If little Arabella has fallen over in the garden and hurt her wrist, 999 appears to be the first option! They pay their taxes. (Some of them…) It’s their right!
I have a number of theories why, mind you.
The biggest one being this magical belief that you’ll be seen quicker if you go in by ambulance. Of all the tentative, polite little campaigns the NHS run, please God can they run one bloody big one to dispel this magical myth! It doesn’t even need to be pretty. Just a bunch of great big signs dotted around the country and outside every A&E.
“YOU WILL NOT BE SEEN QUICKER JUST BECAUSE YOU ARRIVE IN A BIG YELLOW TRUCK!”
I also wonder if paying for parking has also had an affect. Why pay what could be serious amounts of money while you sit in A&E for an unknown amount of hours when you can just get someone to pick you up later. And of course, there’s the fact that the big yellow taxi is free…
Saying all that, the one thing guaranteed to immediately put me in full honesty mode, has to be the ‘voice.’ The ‘voice’ comes in a variety of options. There’s the pathetic, weak “I’m in so much pain with my swollen finger” voice.
So racked with pain that they can barely whimper out the address of this most major of emergencies. Then there’s the “I CAN’T BREATH!” bellow. Always shouted at full volume by someone who is convinced they are struggling desperately for every breath. But my particular favourite is – sorry guys – the ‘There’s A Man in Pain Here!’ voice.
Usually to be heard wailing in the background while some poor partner tries to relay the details of their grievous trauma over the noise. Saying that, I do have an exception for that one. Kidney Stones. Guys, you can scream as much as you need to, with my complete and total sympathy.
But is it me? Or has it always been like that, only as I get older, my patience has got shorter. Either way, I’m now bring my own cushion for the naughty step. I might as well be comfortable while I’m there…
Written by one of the many admins of Emergency Services Humour who is also a regular blogger in our fortnightly eMagazine ’S__ts & Giggles’ which you can sign up to by visiting our Facebook page and clicking on the ‘sign up’ button or by visiting: ShitsAndGiggles.Online
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