January 7th - Why sleep when you can drive?

This Blog Post was originally published on adagia.org.

After the accident (https://adagia.org/content/4005) my paramedic night shift continued to be hellish and without much sleep. A few minutes after we finished cleaning the car I moved into one of the sleeping rooms and sent out a few email s (https://adagia.org/content/3999) and wrote the linked article.

It wasn't long until we got called to another emergency. A person wanted to kill themself and so we were alarmed by the police to transport them to the nearest psychology hospital. As there aren't many of them around one direction took a good one and a half hours to get there.

As such emergencies are the responsibility of the police, we are merely a taxi company in such cases. The patient boarded our car and so was one policeman which escorted our drive. The colleague of the policeman was driving behind me so he doesn't have to use public transport to get back home.

The patient wasn't aggressive in any way so the transport went relatively smoothly and without interruption. After we arrived at the hospital the policemen and the patient entered it while we waited. It isn't unnormal to wait for a patient in case he or she gets a quick treatment and is thus transported back home in a matter of a few minutes.

Normally psychiatric patients stay at the hospital, especially if they might be harmful to themselves or others. Not this time.

After probably half an hour all three (policemen and patient) exited the building again and I knew we would have to drive the patient back home. If the patient can convince the doctors at the hospital that the suicidal thoughts faded and that they weren't in immediate danger anymore it can happen that they can go home without spending a night at the hospital.

As I've said the patient was relatively easy to handle and was joking the whole drive with my codriver and the policeman in the back of my ambulance vehicle so it didn't really surprise me that we had to take them back.

Since there wasn't immediate danger anymore the police car left the hospital space and we left shortly after, as our patient wanted to smoke a cigarette.

At about 2 am we arrived back at our home base. I was now really tired and went to bed as fast as I could. Soon after I took off my boots and pants the radio was signalling another mission. Out of bed, into pants, into boots and off to the car in the garage.

After a short drive, we arrived at a thermal bath, well the hotel attached to it. The patient was having severe stomach cramps and shivering without fever. A quick check of the vital signs, nothing serious to worry about (a little low blood pressure 106/80 but that was all) so a typical load and go.

As the pain, the patient was enduring was severe I decided to drive back with emergency signals. Although there isn't much traffic at that time of the day, the blinking blue lights prevent animals (mainly rabbits and deers; Styria the green heart of Austria because of its endless forests) from jumping onto the road (well, at least sometimes).

I was back in bed around 3:30 am. The shift was going to end at 5 am and I had zero hours of sleep. Luckily there wasn't another emergency afterwards and I managed to sleep at least an hour.

I got up at 4:55 and brought the radio and business mobile down into the garage and into the car and drove off home. Quickly getting rid of my uniform I jumped into my bed with only underwear reaming at about 5:30 am.

At 8:45 I got up again to prepare for work. What a great night of sleep. I remember now why I don't do paramedic shifts in the middle of the week. :)

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