Don’t Make Me Angry
It’s a schools rugby game. Not a small one either, the final in the local schools league, which means everyone is taking it that much more seriously.
We’re over by the side, well out-of-the-way, but close enough that we can see and hear what’s happening on the pitch. The windows are all rolled down, and we’re just lounging in the cab of the ambulance, enjoying the sun and chatting about everything and anything. In short, it’s shaping up as another Q word duty.
A loud yell. A thud, two bodies against the floor, and a groan from the crowd. Silence. Must have been a nasty tackle. We watch, waiting for the players to get up. One does. He’s a little scraped up, but nothing that’ll stop him playing. He looks down at his dazed competitor, offering a hand. And freezing, his face dropping. The crowd goes silent again, and then, through the breeze, “Medic!”
I slip through into the back of the truck while my crewmate jogs out to the pitch. Grabbing the gases and the response bag, I scoot out of the back of the vehicle and walk over. I’ve got all the kit, but there’s no need to rush. My crewmate is in charge of this one, and he doesn’t look that flustered. He certainly has yelled anything at me yet.
I can see from two meters off that our rugby player is in pain. A lot of pain. From a meter off I can see why. His shoulder is most definitely out-of-place. I look to my crewmate as I drop the kit down. “What do you need?”
“We’re not going to get anything done here. I think shuffle to the back of the vehicle and check things out in the peace and quiet.”
We both look at him craning around, looking at everything that is going on and the crowd forming around him.
“Probably not.” We say together, and grin awkwardly. We’ve been working together a while now, we know each other too well.
“Right, so entonox, scoop, cot? Nah, scratch that, we can scoop him straight into the back, will be better on his shoulder.” I eye up the terrain, nothing particularly challenging. “So straps, anything else?”
“Sounds good. Though, perhaps some crowd control?” The last bit is quiet, for my ears only.
I look around at what looks like both entire teams craning to see what is going on. “I’ll see what I can do.” I stand up and start in a reasonable tone: “Alright guys, let’s have some space to work please.” A couple of people shuffle back, but it appears that a dislocation is just too interesting to leave. “Seriously guys, you aren’t helping. Give us some room.”
Slowly everyone backs off, far enough at least to let me get out and bring the kit back.
Someone who looks distinctly like a coach steps in front of me, deliberately blocking my path. “What’s going on?”
I ignore the obvious answer of we’re treating someone, going instead for “I’m just getting some equipment, then we’ll get our friend back there moved into our vehicle.”
“How long’s this going to take?”
“As long as it takes. We need to be sure we don’t do any more damage.”
“Can’t you just put it back in and walk him off? We have a game to finish here.”
“Only if you fancy explaining to his parents why he will never use his arm again. Besides, you have three other pitches you can use, if you’re in a hurry.” I know that I’m skating the edge of being rude, but you’re annoying me and I have a patient to look after. He looks grumpy. “Look, the sooner you let me get this kit, the sooner we’ll be out of your way.” I don’t think that’s an appreciated comment, but at least he does move.
A brisk walk to the ambulance, a brief argument with the scoop stretcher, and then I’m on my way back with magic pain killing gas in one hand and jack of all trades lifting equipment in the other. And yet again I’m facing a crowd, and this time I’ve got minimal patience left. “GUYS!” A single syllable projected across the entire field. Even I’m a little stunned by the silence that rolls back. “Move OUT of my way. Give us room so that we can do our job.” Youth Leader training kicks in. Act assuming compliance. I step forward purposefully and the crowd spreads out, dispersing before my eyes. Recognise good behaviour. “Thank you guys.”
My crewmate looks at me, eyes wide and jaw lowered.
“Close your mouth, you’ll catch something.” The residual annoyance makes it a little more of a snap than I intended, but I soften it with a grin.
Our patient manages a strained laugh through the pain as my crewmates’ mouth snaps shut with a click. He takes the entonox from me, apparently grateful for something to do to cover the confusion, and I start explaining the lift and shift process to our patient. Once his pain has gone away a little (and he’s high enough not to care about what’s left), we scoop and scoot, and the rest of the job is a fairly routine transport.
As we’re packing up at the hospital, my crewmate looks at me over the cot we’re re-making. “Are you okay? You sounded pretty annoyed back there with the crowd.”
I shrug. “That was just lack of patience. You’ll know when I’m angry.” He looks at me questioningly, and I just smile.