I’m dragged out of my warm, comfortable dream by the phone. I grab it and answer as chirpily as I can, blinking the sleep from my eyes. The lava lamp I leave on when I’m on shift is casting a gentle red glow over everything. It’s a red call – “Nan down“. An old lady’s fallen out of bed at the nearby nursing home. In seconds, I’m on my feet throwing my uniform on. I glance at the clock – 0358. I groan inwardly and grab my mobile, heading downstairs grabbing my fleece and shoes as I go. I’m starting the car and driving off in under a minute.

It’s quiet at the nursing home. We’re led to a room somewhere in the building- the place is a rabbit warren. “She’s very violent.” someone says. Joy. I head in and start talking to her. She looks confused and doesn’t register my questions. I’m just starting to gather the details when the crew arrive. Her right leg is obviously shorter than the left and rotated outwards – classic symptoms of a broken femur.

While we’re helping, the phone rings. It’s control – are we available? We take the details of another call – 6 year old child with breathing difficulties.

I’m more awake for this one and head across town. I get there as the ambulance is pulling up and jump out to assist. When we get inside it’s painfully obvious that this poor boy is having a severe asthma attack. The crew get some Salbutamol going with a nebuliser mask with oxygen. His respiratory rate is at 32 breaths per minute, and his oxygen saturation is down to 83% – both indicators that this kid is very ill. Packing their kit up quickly, the boy is swept up into the arms of a paramedic and taken out to the ambulance. Minutes later, we watch as the ambulance heads off to hospital, blue lights flashing.

I head back to my car and toddle off home, knowing that by the morning, these calls will seem like dreams to me. I just hope I get a decent lie in after this.

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