It was the last of 5 night shifts; the end of a 60 hour week; the countdown to a whole day and a half off! Typically, at my most tired, I am treated to the most horrendous of shifts. It was constant from start to finish. Every single job took something out of me, be it having to carry someone down the stairs or having to work outside in the rain; it was just exhausting. We did jobs with the police, were verbally abused by the very people we were there to help, had to wear our stab vests and never got a second to ourselves. We were given no break and had no hot food. The 3am lull was torturous and all that kept me going was the promise of my bed. It had been a long time coming. I had averaged 3 hours sleep a night all week and was running on fumes. Every job we did was one closer to home time. Every time I heard that annoying, inane, stupid, ear offending, piercing, relentless tone of our radio going off with a new job it was one assault on my ear drum closer to freedom!
It was 5:30am and THAT noise went off for the last time. A 25 year old unconscious in the street. It was miles out of area and would mean going to a hospital miles away from our ambulance station, but I didn’t care, it was the last job. Once we pressed ‘on scene’ that was it! All we had to do was deal with this guy and get the fuck out of dodge! In all his glory he was lying topless on the pavement. The circle of shame on his jeans for the world to see was glorious! We checked him over, loaded him up and off we went to hospital. Another victim had succumbed to excess alcohol and another valuable hospital bed was going to be wasted for a few hours! We dropped him and two of his cronies to A & E and left. We made it back to station and signed off only 40 minutes late. Now the 25 minute drive home was all that stood between me and SLEEEEEEEP!
My eyes were heavy, I felt myself drifting off at traffic lights. Had I finished on time I would have missed the rush hour traffic; as we were late off, I hit the best of it! It was OK though, because every set of traffic lights I made it through was one closer to home. 4 miles... 3 miles... 2 miles... 1 mile... 1/2 mile... 400 yards... 300 yards... 200 yards... 100 yards... 50 yards... turn into my road... 30 yards... 20 yards... 10 yards... HOME! You beauty! I opened my front door, kicked off my boots halfway up the stairs, went into my room and closed the blackout blind. Shirt off, trousers off, PJs on, light off and fall back on to the bed. Perfection! That lovely feeling of a cold pillow on my head was sublime. I closed my eyes...
What’s that?!... it’s the annoying... inane... stupid... ear offending... piercing... relentless tone of a radio going off!
I sat up, rummaged through my trousers and there was my radio. On the screen:
“42 year old female, difficulty in breathing”
Light on, PJ’s off, jeans on, top on, out of my bedroom, boots on, out the house back in the car and off to work.
55 minutes later I arrived at work. Handed the radio in. Got back in my car. 45 minutes later I pulled up outside my house. I opened my front door, kicked off my boots halfway up the stairs, went into my room, top off, jeans off, PJs on, light off and fall back on to the bed.
It was 10:14am. You couldn’t make it up.