Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Day in the Life

Heaven knows it's not my place to complain but I spent the greater part of last night as Bert Klaxon's pillow and I must say it was an experience I would neither recommend nor endeavour to repeat. Don't get me wrong, Bert's a nice enough guy in his own unique fashion, but he is powerfully redolent of that peculiar pipe tobacco he smokes and he tends to dribble profusely while he's sleeping, so I was left this morning with a Dunhill-flavoured damp patch the size of a tea plate. When he'd finished with me, he gave me a bit of a shake and folded me neatly, replacing me on the trolley bed ready for the next shift. I won't pretend it's a pleasant way to start the day.

By the time we arrived at our first call of the morning, I'd barely had time to dry at all, but the punter was mercifully gaga and in no state to notice. In no state, either, to control her bladder, so it was an early golden shower for yours truly. Well, perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but certainly more than a few drops made a successful bid for freedom from the captivity of her incontinence pants. As the more sensitive reader will appreciate, all I wanted to do after that was to curl up and sleep it off in a laundry bag. But no such luck, because I was duly re-folded and put straight back into service on a transfer from Whippet Ward.

If you've met Otto Grossminger, you'll sympathise immediately with my predicament. For those unfamiliar with him, I'll just say that Otto G simply oozes bodily fluids of every type and description from every pore and orifice known to medical science. He must be the most evil-smelling thing in England, bar nothing. And guess who had the pleasure of embracing his nether regions all the way to the King Charles Infirmary? Stuck in rush hour traffic, too.

Surely to glory, I thought, they'll have to bag me up after that little adventure. I am literally encrusted with . . . stuff . . . that cannot even be mentioned in polite conversation; gunge so rare it has yet to be named. No right-thinking ambulanceman could possibly put me within ten feet of a patient, let alone on top of one. I mean, I wouldn't have touched myself with a barge pole. It just goes to show how wrong you can be.

I guess it was just one of those days with one of those crews. They kept me at it for twelve hours solid without a break, from one leaking geriatric to the next vomiting vagrant. I tell you, I eventually got back to that ambulance station feeling as though even the Grossminger's underpants would turn their nose up at me. And rightly so.

And then what did they do? Did they finally seal me in a plastic bag to await a blissful laundering? Did they classify me as clinical waste and condemn me to the blessed and merciful release of incineration? Did they hell. They put me straight out with the night shift to go through it all again.

Infection control? Not on my watch, sunshine.