Monday, 27 June 2011

It's A Long Way...

"You want me to go where??" I ask Control.  "But, that's miles away, through all the Sunday traffic. Where's the helicopter?"  They tell me, and I wince: not quite next door to me, but, with a prevailing wind I could probably spit on the rotors from where I was sitting, comfortably ensconced with the family and a good Disney film on the box.

Off to the car (now I'll never know what happens in the film) and off I go.  As I turn on the engine, my fuel guage gently reminds me that I meant to fill up the last time I was out, but thought I would wait until the next time.  Hmmm, may be a problem.  My car eats fuel the way I drive it.  Well, at least I have my wallet in the car, so that I won't be completely stranded.

The traffic isn't as bad as I thought it would be: it is far worse.  I spend most of the journey on the wrong side of the road, as cars come hurtling towards me, then swerve around me at the last moment.

Up ahead, I can see the lights of the ambulance, fire tender and police.  Nearly there.  The traffic has slowed to a crawl, not unsurprisingly, this close to the accident, and I drum my fingers impatiently on the steering wheel, changing the tone of my sirens every few moments, trying to persuade the drivers to give me just a few more inches.

My mobile rings: it's Ambulance Control, standing me down.  The patient was initially very agitated, but has settled down, and the crew are happy to transport him to hospital.  I suggest that they wait a few minutes, considering they have made me miss my film, and I roll on scene.

He is in the back of the ambulance, having been cut out of his car.  His daughter, sitting next to him, tells me he had gone all vacant, just before colliding with the car in front.  She is unharmed, just very shaky, and he is calm and coherent.  He remembers what happened with a clarity I don't often get from patients.  He remembers driving his daughter to a friend, when, all of a sudden, he couldn't speak.  Then, he remembers his right hand dropping to his lap, lifeless, and his right foot become heavy and glued to the accelerator.  He recalls pulling the steering wheel over to the left, hard, so that, when he struck the vehicle in front, it was with his side of the car, not his daughter's. 

I look at his drooping face, his lopsided attempt at a smile, and hear his slurred speech.  He asks me if he has had a stroke, and I nod.  He sighs.  It's going to be a very long journey for him...

Next Venture

When I wrote about the BUPA 10K run, I mentioned that there was something else on the horizon, and that I would let you know soon.  Well, here it is.  Those eagle-eyed Readers will already have noticed that I have been doing a lot of cycling recently.  Also, the panel on the right now says "Training for the Brands Hatch Cyclothon."  Yes, yours truly, along with MiniRRD and 2 others, will be cycling round Brands Hatch for 8 gruelling hours!!

I love cycling, far more than I like running.  I decided I needed a new bike, especially if I was going to be doing this Cyclothon.  I went to my local bike shop and bought one.  Bear in mind that I know precious little about bikes.  I wanted to ride home on it, so off I went.

1 minute later, the back tyre was flat.  I walked back to the shop, and they put in a valve.  The fact that it didn't have one originally did cross my mind, but hey, anyone can make a mistake!!  I decided to ride home again.

2 minutes later, the back tyre was flat.  I walked back to the shop, where they refunded my money.

I went to a proper shop, where they know what they are doing.  I test rode 3 or 4 bikes, and found the perfect bike for me.  It's a red one!!  I decided not to ride it home, as we live a good 10 miles away...

Later that evening, like an impatient schoolboy ("can I ride my bike now?  Oh please, oh please!!) I waited for the rain to stop, then went for a ride on my brand new (red) bike.

1 minute later I fell off.  I scraped my left elbow really bad, and my knuckles on my right hand.  Undeterred, I got back on and carried on my journey, blood dripping off my elbow and my hand.

20 minutes later I got a puncture.  And then it started raining.  And then my elbow started hurting.  I called MrsRRD, and she came and collected me.

I'm really looking forward to my Cyclothon...

Monday, 20 June 2011


You may have noticed I haven't written for a while.  There is a good reason for this.  I have been to a job so difficult, one of the hardest I have done in my 10 years as a pre-hospital care doctor, and yet one so unique that to write about it in any way would breach the confidentiality that is so important to all.  The family, with whom I spent such a long time at the hospital, don't want anyone to know about what really happened at the house, and, to be honest, I don't blame them.

So, where do I go with this?  How do I move forward, writing about the "simple" jobs, those that don't touch my heart as this one has?  I'm not sure, to be honest.  I worry that the images of what I have seen will seep through into my posts about the "ordinary", as they have been seeping into my waking and sleeping thoughts.  MrsRRD, as always, has been a tower of strength; understanding what only she can.  And, holding my children, one at a time or all together, is a balm around my heart.

And, if this is how I feel, what must the family be feeling?  I cannot begin to comprehend how any family can rebuild after such an event as this.  And yet rebuild they must.  They have to go about their daily lives; school, work, shopping, living, even though their lives have been shattered.

I know this all seems so cryptic to you, dear Constant Reader.  Thank you for reading, thank you for letting me offload to you, in the only way I can.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Alice's Bucket List

Just go and have a look at this brave young lady's blog.  Make sure you have some tissues ready!!

Excuse me, but it has suddenly got very dusty in here...