Twice recently I have had reason to be grateful to the men and women of the ambulance service.
First my wife, who is old enough but clearly lacks the horse sense to know better, decided to be the Zara Phillips of the SAGA generation. Unfortunately she soon found that the hardest thing about learning to ride is the ground. Her brief equestrian career ended when she literally came back to earth with a bump. The ambulance and its crew were on the scene remarkably quickly. In addition to their medical skills, they had taken the course on paramedic patter. "So you're fae Aiberdeen then? We'll soon have you feeling neigh bad."
And so it went on. As cherished jeans were cut off one asked, "Do you know the most common lie told by a paramedic? Don't worry we're cutting them up the seams." To add insult to injury, as they closed the ambulance doors they apologised for all the "leg pulling and lame jokes."
Further indebtedness to ambulance personnel arose a couple of days later en route to visit the unseated horsewoman in hospital. A middle-aged gentleman, weaving his way home from a convivial afternoon in a local hostelry, performed a perfect balletic movement, pirouetting Nureyev – like into the road, striking his head, thereby rendering him even more senseless. After dialling 999, hubris kicked in and I foolishly decided to apply the first aid gleaned from the first series of Holby City. As I moved the casualty into the recovery position I noticed that he had experienced an unfortunate Janet Jackson- type wardrobe malfunction in the trouser department. Should I abandon the Good Samaritan bit and belatedly pass by on the other side? By this time a small crowd had gathered. However the sight of the public member led to a collective retreat by members of the public. Nevertheless, they continued to show considerable interest in how I would deal with the matter, which most certainly was not in hand.
Anxiously, I awaited the ambulance. Not a moment too soon, a distant siren heralded its arrival together with an all-female crew. Latex gloves were soon put to effective use accompanied by a business like, "We'll put that away for a start." By this time the casualty had regained semi – consciousness. "What's your name?" asked one of the ambulance ladies. There was, of course, an awful inevitability about the response, "Willie."
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