Carmelo Alongi

Carmelo Alongi is a student who has just started his training at University with the London Ambulance Service to become an EMT and eventually a Paramedic. Hopefully this blog will allow an interesting insight for everyone into the process of training tomorrow's Paramedics, and a chronicle of my life as I progress. I blog under this name as a tribute to my Italian Grandfather, Carmelo Alongi.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I've Moved.

If you do want to carry on reading my (mis) adventures, please have a click on the above link to my new blog. Thanks.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Day On the FRU.

So. During the week, the Xfileman (of The Paramedic's Diary fame) was kind enough to take me out for an observational shift on his FRU.

First call was to a ?abdo pain in a tube station. The traffic was a nightmare, crews were radioing in delays left right and centre as the volume of traffic was just immense. While we were on route we were stood down from the call, but soon enough the MDT started ringing again, and off we zoomed again to an elderly lady who had a ?fall. We both scratched our heads a little as when we turned up there was already an FRU on scene, equally the Tech who was with the lady seemed just as confused as to why we were there and not an ambulance. Needless to say we didn't stay there too long.

The next call was a bit disturbing (as it was the first domestic abuse call I've seen) was to a police station. I won't go into too much detail about it for privacy/criminal reasons, but suffice to say hitting a woman is the pretty damn low, however then proceeding to kick and punch her further is even lower. Men (and women) who do it should be strung up. Full stop.

Next a 15 month old boy with ?heart problems. When I saw that flash on the screen my heart rate immediately skyrocketed.
Kid. Ah. F**k.
Everything calmed down a bit once we went in the flat and he was crying, so at least he was breathing. We drove behind the crew to A&E, just in case anything happened on the way, which it didn't. Thankfully.

Then a stint on standby in Trafalgar square, which was nice, if a little odd due to the giant wooly mammoth model in the middle.

We were there for 10 minutes, if that, before we got a call to guy with back pain in a coach station. We arrived and found the guy sprawled on the stairs of the office, as apparently that was the most comfortable position. Xfile tried to get the guy to move to an upright position by himself, but the guy struggled and gave up. After some Entonox he was sitting, but that was all he could do. Xfile decided to pop a line in and give the guy some morphine so he could stand, by which time the ambulance had turned up. It was nice to see a fellow Uni bod crewing the bus, he was looking a bit nervous. I think I would too. He was only a year older than me. The only thought that was in my head was "Hell, that'll be me in a year if I do things right". The idea scares the whatsits out of me.

Off we went again to a girl hyperventilating in a large department store's nail bar. Bless her, the only cure she needed was some relaxed talking to in the back of the car and chocolate. Xfile stood down the crew who were also on the call once we were there, but it was too late, as they had just pulled around the corner before receiving it on the MDT. I felt bad for them, but I'm guessing that's just the way things work.

Then, my first drunk. Sprawled outside some steps around the back of a pub, the barman was apologetic about the call, but he was worried as the gentleman hadn't moved for quite a bit. We woke him up, he was very confused:

"What the f**k am I doing here?!"

However, as we got to know this gentleman he became the most self-aware drunk I had ever met:

"Why are you doing thish?! There are people lying about in za street bumped an' bruised, go and help them! I brought thish upon myshelf, look I have money! (proceeds to pull several notes out of his pocket) I can get myshelf home! Lishten, jus go! Heck I'll pay you!"

As we carried on talking to him, Xfile became increasingly concerned about the fact that the gentleman didn't have a clue how he had got there. I must admit I was very, very, very impressed with Xfile's approach to him, it was extremely professional. A seasoned pro, for sure. We transported him to A&E, just to get him checked out. In the end he was a very smart man, he wasn't an idiot. He knew what he had done to himself, he mentioned about cremating his wife and how she was the one, but she was dead now. That was pulling on my heart strings. He needed help, but we both suspected he probably wouldn't get it.

The last two calls were uninteresting, and to be honest neither really appeared to need an ambulance.

All in all I had a great day, flying along the famous streets and squares across central London, squeezing through traffic all in an effort to help someone. I didn't mind being a pack-horse for Xfile at all, I thought it was the least I could do for him. I learnt a lot too. Like just how stretched the service really is, and how in reality there is no real time for a break. Thanks again Xfile, I really appreciate it. If I end up even a quarter as good at this job as you are, I hope I should be alright.


I've been reading back what I've written over the past few days and in a way I'm disgusted. I've been rude, obnoxious and generally a wanker. I know I said earlier that this was the end of the subject but its still been playing on my mind quite a bit. Even my Missus said I was being "big-headed". I was. I know I've pissed a fair few people off about this, I would like to properly apologise.

It shouldn't have taken an episode like this for me to come to my senses, but unfortunately it did.

From now on, things will be different. Promise.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Keep your standards high and don't let others drag you down."

First, a huge thank you to all who commented so productively towards the last post. I mean everyone, both positive and negative. Its means a great deal to me, thank you again.

Secondly, I would like to reiterate the apology towards Tom about my comment. After some considerable thought about it, the manner in which I presented the comment, and subsequent post was done in a dick-head like manner. However I think my "get out of jail free card" is that I am a newbie and as such make comments that appear stupid/misinformed/naive etc. Sorry again. I promise I'll watch my mouth a bit more.

However, I feel I must respond to anonymous' comment:

"This job is about respect and so many uni bods don't understand. Many of you prattle on about your uniforms then totally ignore the dress code...Your uniform alone does not make you an ambulance man or woman, the respect of your colleagues does. Why do you think its necessary to tell the world about yourself and how you feel..? I don't think you are doing any of your uni friends any favours by making yourself look like a big headed loud mouthed geek."

This job is not about respect. This job is about the patient. Respect might come second, but regardless of my experience we are here for the general public.
However, to say that us Uni kids don't understand respect is complete rubbish. That view is old and antiquated, and if, and that's a big if, you did bother to read through this blog you would realise just how much I do respect those with more experience than me. Not only do I respect it, but I try and learn from that experience in whatever way I can, do you think I read all these Paramedic and Tech blogs just for the fun of it? No. To learn from their anecdotes.

"Many of you prattle on..." Do not attempt to put me in a box.

As for "Why do you think its necessary to tell the world about yourself and how you feel..?"

I don't. I write this blog as a record of me growing up, if people enjoy reading about the experience then I'm delighted about that and encourage them to continue reading and commenting when they see fit. Also, couldn't you put that same argument to all the other bloggers out there?

Its not like I'm forcing you to read this by holding your family hostage or anything is it?! Geez you obviously care enough about how I feel to place a comment on here in the first place, regardless of whether you agree with my sentiment. I smell something in the air, could it be? Yes! Hypocrisy!

I don't think you are doing your colleagues any favours by making yourself look like a cowardly (hence anonymous), rude individual. Are you desperate to drive a wedge between the established crowd and Uni entrants? For Christ's sake, who's the grown up here?
All of the people I have met out on the road have been really nice, and respectful. Know why? Because I paid them the respect they were due. In the end, what really matters is how I act in the real world.

"big headed loud mouthed geek" - Sticks and stones my friend, sticks and stones.

Right. That's the end of this subject.

On to pastures new. Yesterday I did an observational shift in London in my free time (TO GAIN EXPERIENCE!), which I am still currently typing and waiting for edited approval once typed. It was a real eye opener, and I enjoyed myself immensely. The post *should* be up by the end of the weekend, until then take care y'all.

This blog used to be so light-hearted...

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Eyes and ears open, mouth shut"

Sir, may I kindly direct you to the last portion of my last post. It may have came across in a manner that befits a Uni bod, and that's the way it should have been as that's what I am. For that I make no apologies, I'm simply commenting using my meager experience as a background. I apologise if any offense was taken due to this post, it was all very much in jest.

Out on the road do you think I'm stupid enough not to realise how this looks to all you seasoned road staff if said out in the open? If you kindly look through my back records you will see how much I agonize at length about being young in this profession, how much I really do not want to stick my size 12 feet in it.

" "Eyes and ears open, mouth shut" was the advice given to me when a trainee, and it works wonders. "

Wise words. Believe me when I say I mutter pretty much the exact same motto to myself everytime I go anywhere or do anything to do with the ambulance service, and that's without TO's telling me to shut up. Its just sometimes this blog is one of the only outlets I can let go some frustration generated by this ritual, especially hard being a generally loud person. The other being my Missus and family (cheers guys).
This blog is the place I can shout about how geekishly happy I am to wear my uniform for the first time, the place I can say I still get excited when I see an ambulance on blue lights. This is the place I can say about how genuinely excited I am about embarking on my dreams.
I'm very much aware of how somebody quickly becomes branded a "fool" in this business, and I can assure you I am not one.

May I quote a certain Donald Rumsfeld:

The Unknown

As we know, there are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns.
That is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know.

(For those of you who did check out the Big White Taxi Service a while back, this is pretty much the exact thing they crucify people for- so if this blog suddenly stops because I've been killed you know where to go... but on the other hand I'm banking nobody over there cares enough about this to give a toss. We're all winners!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ruffled Feathers.

Take a look at this post by Tom Reynolds. It depicts a job where having a working torch would have made things far easier as there was a power cut.

I put this comment:
"That'll teach you to do a decent VDI..."

(VDI- vehicle daily inspection, check everything is working properly etc)
(I had put the comment in jest, promise)

To which he replied:

"Bleedin' newbies - you better keep that 'sense of humour' in check. Besides, there was only one torch, and no spare. Make ready have already put in an order for a new one."

To which I will reply:

"Am I bothered though? Really, look at my face? Am I bothered that I'm a newbie? Do I look bothered? Ask me if I'm bothered. Don't bother because I'm not even bothered though."

(If this means nothing to you please take a look at The Catherine Tate Show)

O how we do love being immature!

P.S. Before everyone starts jumping down my neck about punching above my weight etc, I would like to say that this post was all done in a sense of ironic good humour. I know how much people respect experience in the ambulance service, and I do too. I know in terms of everything such as exeperience I am but a tiny baby, and as such have the respect of one. Take care y'all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Brown Bread.

The title refers to the cockney rhyming slang for "dead". Let me elaborate:

In something that has broken the past spell of boredom lately, today the medical school allowed us into the anatomy labs so we could get to grips with some real anatomy. This materialised itself into me walking into a room full of dead bodies. At least forty. At least. Now, having never, ever seen a dead body I'm sure you can imagine this was quite a shock. All of the bodies were covered in green plastic, with towels underneath, you couldn't see anything apart from the outlines. We split into two groups.

Our group's leader started off by showing us a skeleton, and the various movements we could and couldn't do. Every time his hands moved over the body everyone flinched in case he whipped the cover off and the body was revealed. Then he took the sheet off.

The gentleman had no skin. His head was covered with a towel, and his muscles stood out proud to see. Various arteries, veins and ligaments were scattered about. His (I'll refer to him as opposed to "it", he deserves some dignity) body was the same colour as meat in the supermarket (as if I'd know, I'm going on what people said to me). His hand still had skin and nails, the wrinkles were still there. The lecturer started to indicate his biceps, how big they were. He motioned people to touch it. Nobody moved. I did though. My first thought?
It was cold. Very cold. Also slightly moist. As the lecturer carried on, I gained confidence and started to find various veins in the arm.

Then he took his chest off. Well, the layer between the skin and the thorasic cavity. It was already dissected, so came away like a layer. Plain to see were his guts, lungs and heart. Boy did he have a big heart. A huge one. Others started to take his organs out, and look and feel about. I took his lungs, he wasn't a smoker but you should see what living in London still does to the lungs. Everything was just so.... text-book. I mean it. Most of it looked pretty much like it did in any A&P book. At this point I think I was begining to get over the "Oh my God this is a dead body" factor, so started to feel a bit more confident. I was the first to remove the towel from the head, and see the man's face. For me it personalised it, up until now I was trying to think of his body as merely a piece of meat, nothing more. We were all laughing and giggling to hide our fear of his humanity. I felt this was disrespectful. Seeing his face allowed me to realise that this was a human.

As we carried on with various bodies I held hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, intestines, spleens, pancreas' and spinal cords. I put my finger through somebody's eye socket (eyeball was removed). I peeled the skin off somebody's face. I held a dead person's hand. I pulled a ham string.

I'm still looking at my hands. Part in disgust. I can't get the smell of the sterilizing agent out of my nostrils.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Remember, Remember...

I don't know what it is, but large events such as the fireworks display in my town often seem to draw the worst groups of people together. Much like Social Dispatch, I too become slightly wary when you place alcohol, fire (works) and stupid people together in large groups surrounded by children. It felt like the fireworks were a very pretty flame, drawing all of the scummy and low life moths that inhabit my town towards it. I think the worst thing was that it wasn't always the Chavs being idiots, it was the adults letting their kids do some really stupid things with sparklers. However prize idiot of the night award goes to the clever (Chav) man who thought it would be a good idea to let a firework off in the car park, once the display had finished and everyone was walking back to their car or home. I saw him do it too, I really wanted to go up to him, grab him by the neck and scream in his face "Are you an idiot or just plain stupid?!" Such violence Carmelo, tut tut.

I would also like to wish my Missus a very, very happy 19th birthday. Love you darlin'!

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