999: True stories of my life as a Paramedic
In August 2008 I published my first book, ’999′. In it I detail some of the memorable stories from the last 14 years of my life as a paramedic. Working for the ambulance service is one of those professions that captures the imagination; in my experience people always appear to be very interested in it. Initially it seems that people’s perceptions are that we spend most of our working days lurching from one trauma to the next, selflessly saving life and limb. In fact the truth is that the vast majority of people who call 999 don’t actually warrant a double crewed ambulance at all; it is simply following the path of least resistance in their time of need. We knock on the door and they trot out to the ambulance – chatting about the weather or the latest football results. For many of those patients who have struggled to bypass the GP’s receptionist or the maze of relatively new health care providers – including MIUs, WICs, UCCs, Polyclinics and internet resources such as NHS Direct – dialing a reassuringly familiar number – 999 – is infinitely easier. Easier in fact than ordering a take-away pizza – and we usually arrive quicker too! Despite all this, on occasions it can still be a surprisingly interesting way to earn a living for those of us who chose the profession. We get a peek into people’s lives not normally afforded to others – and some of them live very unusual lives indeed! Predominantly I wrote the book because I really wanted to sum up the real ‘feel’ of the job that my colleagues and I do.
When it comes to writing a book, contrary to popular belief, the stories of trauma and death are not necessarily the most interesting to tell; although they are the ones that immediately spring to mind. It is the stories that are just a little bit different or funny even when they don’t involve death or drama that should jump out. These are the stories that one hopes will come more readily to mind when one starts to write a book. However, when I started to write the book I promptly got a terminal case of writer’s block; I became convinced that in all my days I had never actually done a newsworthy story at all. I was stumped and couldn’t think of anything to write about. So, I chatted to friends and colleagues and asked them;
“What jobs have we done together or have I told you about that have stuck in your mind?”
Luckily they came through and I am eternally grateful to them because their memories served them infinitely better than mine; as they prompted me with their recollections, thankfully the chapters began to grow steadily in number.
So our job, for all its faults, is the one we have chosen to do, night and day, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and we rumble on and do it as best we can, all the time hoping that we won’t get assaulted, suffer any verbal abuse, have to lift anyone exceptionally overweight and will get off on time at the end of the shift.
The book is, I hope a positive reflection of our work and my colleagues because negative reporting runs riot and our good work can and often does go unnoticed most of the time.
In January 2009 I wrote a short article entitled “Cause and effect: the reasons why I wrote my first book“. It includes a few more of the factors that influenced me to write the book.
Katie the Paramedic
My new book, Katie the Paramedic, is a fiction book for 4 to 10 year olds.
Katie had grown up in the circus. She travelled all around the world with her family and friends meeting new and interesting people. Katie learned lots of wonderful and exciting tricks during her time in the circus.
When she was old enough she decided to run away from the circus and become a paramedic with the ambulance service because she wanted to help people – especially children who were ill or hurt.
Sometimes, while being a paramedic her circus skills came in very useful in some surprising and interesting situations…………