We’re at a street party. Not a lot’s happening, so you’ve come to see the ambulance car. It’s something new, something different, and most importantly has blue lights, bright colours and a siren. In short, it is exciting! You come bounding up, resigned parents in tow.
You go suddenly shy when you reach me, hiding behind your daddy and peering from the side if his legs. He looks at me and shrugs. ‘What can you do?’
I crouch down next to you, and smile, saying “Hello!”. You smile, a little, uncertain. “Do you want to see my ambulance?”
You peer up at Daddy, and he nods, and so you do.
“Come on then.” I put out a hand, flicking a look at Daddy to make sure he doesn’t mind, and you take my fingers. I can feel my partner’s eyes boring me in the back of my neck. I’m closely pushing what I am technically allowed to do under child protection regs, but I have parental permission and you can always leave if you want, so its fine.
We wander around the vehicle, having a peer at everything and anything. I put the lights on. That gets a grin. You have a look in the cab, sit in the driver’s seat. You’re having great fun, and when we’re done you go skipping over to Daddy.
Well, you try to. You get about half way when you trip over your shoe lace. Daddy, my colleague and I all lurch over to catch you, but we’re all too far away. Bump. You look up and give us all a stunned look, not least because you’ve now got three people, two in bright yellow and green, looming over your head. There is a bit of a lip wobble, but no tears yet.
Daddy and I crouch down and Daddy asks “Are you okay?” You give a small nod, still a bit stunned. He takes your hands and pull your back to your feet. Your sleeve slips, and I spot an abrasion all along your lower arm.
“Shall I do something about that?” I nod at the graze, and Daddy replies “Please.”
Together, we lead you back over to the car, and Daddy lifts you in the treatment area (aka the boot…). As I rummage through my kit, digging out saline, swabs and dressings, you peer over my shoulder, and I talk you through everything I’m doing. Daddy baulks when I mention the saline I’m going to clean your wound with. “He’ll never let you put that on it.”
Now I know saline is salt water, but the concentration is so low the most people don’t notice. “I’m afraid I don’t have anything else. How about we give it a go and see how we get on.” Daddy shrugs, obviously saying ‘on your head be it’. To you, “This may hurt a little, so I need you to be really brave. Can you do that for me?” You nod, gone all shy again.
Carefully, I clean your grazes. I’m trying to get clothing fibres out of them, and I know from personal experience that this is most unpleasant. I have my hand support your arm, and you don’t even flinch. I see a little grimace from time to time, but otherwise you do really well. I am definitely impressed. I’ve had adults fidget and fuss more about this than you.
We’re done in minutes, and your up and about and dashing around as soon as you’ve hopped down from the car. We spend a few minutes doing paperwork, and then we’re finished and you and your parents are off again.
I do love working with kids.