January 29th, 2007

Ambitions

Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

When I started the job as a mere teenager I had three ambitions. That’s apart from the standard ones like helping those less able to help themselves & giving something back to society, you know, the bullshit they expect you to come out with to the chief constable on your passing out parade (they don’t have these any more, do they?). 

Firstly, I wanted to drive fast cars, or at least drive normal cars fast. I wanted to save someone’s life and I wanted to deliver a baby.

I managed the first after a few years & got my police advanced driver qualifications which I’ve had for over half my career to date. [OLD SWEAT MODE]I did it in the days when an advanced course was an advanced course and not like now when they hand passes out with the rations. [/OLD SWEAT MODE] There really is nothing like the adrenalin of a high speed job. I’ll miss that the most when I take up my new post.

I managed the second, sort of.

I was parked up at the edge of the town centre on a sunny Saturday morning. There was a sudden panicked knock on my patrol car window. A chap had evidently collapsed in the street not 100yards from where I was parked.

I couldn’t find a pulse or any trace of breathing. A crowd had gathered. I started mouth-to-mouth.

I didn’t have a mouthguard at the time and as the first breath worked its way down his tubes I could hear a sickly, liquidy gargling type of noise from deep within his throat. I pulled away from his face to take a second breath when I got a nice blow-back effect as the vomit which had gathered in his oesophegus made for the path of least resistance which happened to be straight into my mouth.

My immediate reaction was ‘fuck this for a game of soldiers, let the bastard die’. I mean, there are lengths you will go to and no further. Chewing on another man’s vomit is probably beyond those limits.

So his lips are all covered in sand-coloured puke, I’m kneeling amongst a crowd of about 25 people all expecting me to perform some kind of miracle akin to raising Lazarus & not a single doctor or nurse among them.

So I did what anyone after a certificate from the Society for the Preservation of Life would do; I wiped the residue of vomit from my face with the back of my hand, turned him on his side and fished out the rest of the puke with my fingers, rolled onto his back again, wiped his face with my hanky which I laid out over his mouth – hey, I know it was of no bloody use whatsoever in the prevention of the oral transfer of spew but it made me feel better – and carried on mouth to mouth alternating with chest compressions (no, nobody volunteered to assist).

When you are in such a situation as I now found myself two things happen. Firstly, you find yourself strangely wondering why you hadn’t put in for annual leave or sick leave, or any leave and secondly you transfer into a parallel space-time continuum. This is one in which time is stretched. An ambulance, which takes 6 minutes to arrive, feels like it’s actually taking 25 minutes.

A few minutes of mouth-to-mouth and chest pumping is somewhat tiring on the system. I don’t feel that knackered after sex, mind you, sex obviously doesn’t usually last as long as 6 minutes.

The ambo eventually arrived & after the administration of electric shock treatment & oxygen the paramedic tells me that I’ll probably survive & I release the crew to work on my prostrate friend.

They worked on him for a good 40 minutes in the back of the ambo. They were there so long I was surprised nobody had jacked it up and had the wheels away. I don’t think I’ve seen an ambo crew working on someone for so long at the roadside. Apparently I’d done some good as, to my delight, they got him going and we shot off to the local A & E on blues and twos.

He lived.

For another 36 hours. But at least it was enough time for me to locate his family and bring them to the hospital so they could say goodbye.

I think most police officers go through their careers never having to do mouth-to-mouth and all that malarkey. By some strange quirk of fate I’ve done it 3 times. The other two didn’t make it as far as an ambulance and the wife was present during the second attempt I made to revive her husband who’d had a heart attack at the wheel.

So that leaves delivering a baby.

I guess I’ll have to forgo that ambition, unless I can persuade one of the girls in the control room to oblige…

 

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One comment

  1. Dave says:

    It’s interesting how we (coppers) often devalue ‘saving a life’…or don’t at least acknowledge that we did when we performed the task. I convinced a guy not to stab himself with a butcher knife when he was ready to do it and threatening himself — would that be considered as saving his life? I dunno, I guess so. Things we do on the job often seems to be so common that we don’t think of how serious that situation was in reality.

    Good stuff on the cpr, not an easy thing to do.

    January 30th, 2007 at 00:17

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