It's been a strange weekend to tell the truth.
I wish I could summise exactly how I feel at the moment, but I don't think I would even know where to begin. I may reach a point by the end of the post where I manage to explain my feelings, but I'm writing this as the words roll out of my head, through my hands and onto the keyboard. This is not a planned post - just straight up.
As I mentioned before, I was observing this weekend with the ambulance service. Due to other observers being out this weekend also, I went out on the FRU with a paramedic and started the day with a maternataxi call. Everything was fine and dandy - the ambulance arrived at the same time we did, and we left the expectant mother in their capable hands.
A couple more jobs, several cups of tea and a snooze in a chair later, and we get called off station to a 'female not breathing'. Age unknown, no other details. In this particular vehicle the satellite navigation screen had been stolen by some unscrupulous chav, so I was flicking through the A-Z trying to find the address. Thankfully this didn't slow us down, as we both knew the general area.
Arrival at the scene meets us with a hysterical father crying and screaming. I've never seen a man cry this way, and I knew something was desperately wrong. Tom Reynolds has discussed this in depth on his blog, and upon hearing the way that man cried in anguish, I guess I knew that the patient was a child. I'm generally a pro-active observer, and will do as I'm told if it will help, so I grabbed the monitor from the back of the car and followed the paramedic into the house. Lying in the middle of the floor was a 9 week old baby undergoing CPR from her mother. I can only presume that mum was still on the phone with the emergency call taker.
At this point I was a cold callous heartless cow. It didn't occur to me that this was a baby, or someone's child - it was just a patient in cardiac arrest. This was where my feelings were different to those of the attending paramedic.
Thankfully the ambulance was immediately behind us, as it had also been on station and left just after we did. It was decided that the tactical abandonment of the FRU was required, and we all piled into the back of the ambulance. The parents followed in the car, and everything that could be done was done. Having to do chest compressions on a baby feels perverse because the body is so small when you stand over it.
I felt like such a spare part - especially as I was being asked to do things and I just didn't know what I was doing. I'm not yet medically trained, so I don't know what some things are, or where certain things are kept. I just felt like a complete arsehole.
At this point I think the realisation dawned on me that this wasn't going to be a happy ending. Cardiac output was regained at the hospital, but the outlook was bleak for this poor soul. I understand what is meant by an anguished scream, as you could tell when the parents had arrived at the hospital by the primal sound emitted through the doors of resus. I really felt for the family, but selfishly I just felt shit for not being able to help properly. I felt guilty that I may have hindered the paramedics by not knowing my stuff. I honestly still don't know how I feel.
In true Merys style I stayed in last night and polished off several bottles of magners. This did manage to hinder my getting up this morning, and I felt like something had crawled inside my mouth and died for most of the day.
This post hasn't made me feel any better - in fact I would say I feel especially shite now for talking about it. This post may not stay on the blog for long, depending on how I feel this time tomorrow. I have the feeling that this patient will haunt me forever, no matter whether I become a paramedic or a doctor.
I'm very tired and starting to lose momentum and balance, so I'm going to call it a day before I fall down. Off to bed for a long sleep I reckon - just in time to get up for another week of thrilling lectures this week. Not sure how much I will be able to concentrate on