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Life Sucks

Posted Apr 28 2012 11:03am

I was at the library with some class mates the other day – you should know that student paramedics these days spend as much time cooking the books as they do practising their clinical skills. Whether that’s reassuring or worrying I’ll leave up you to decide; I haven’t made up my mind yet.

But let’s not get distracted. Among them was Günter, Esther and Modest Sooty (formerly Mod), Sooty for short. Sooty had been to Bethleham that morning to do some driving revision with an ambulance service driving instructor. We asked him how it went. ‘Well he didn't show up for a few hours, which was fine because it was a day he didn't have to be in. When he came in he said he was really sorry and bought me lunch, which was nice of him. You know he was talking about you’ said Sooty, laughing. Was the laughter a good sign? My face was burning already, but his previous indirect remarks had been an insight so I was keen to know more. ‘Yeah well we were talking about the skills we were going be teaching to the class. I asked when the first one would be and he said we’ll probably get some of the easier ones out of the way as soon as this Tuesday. Like whoever’s got blanket folding, there’s only so much you can do with that.’

Last week we were at Bethleham we were given individual skills to read up on and deliver to the class at Klippity’s leisure. He said he wouldn’t give us any warning, he’d just pick on a skill whenever we had five minutes free and slot it in there. ‘These are all done at random’ Klippity said before he read out the list of skills we would be teaching. ‘Jerome’ – I out my hand up. ‘Laerdel Suction Equipment’. I put my hand down, and with it my heart sank too. Suction: possibly the least sexy thing in the world, alongside antique pottery and West Ruislip. Nevermind, it’s all character building, isn’t it?
What's more boring than a Laerdel Suction Unit? Two Laerdel Suction Units
Sooty carried on. ‘He said we’d save some of the more technical ones till later; like the suction unit. He said that was the most tedious technically detailed ones there was. He said you’d have to mention every single little bit of nerdish detail, all the units. And then he gave this laugh like a maniac.’ Klippity definitely had it in for me. When he had finished calling out the skills the class was discussing what was expected of us. I remember him saying to someone that it wasn’t that bad, at least they didn’t have suction and darting a look at me. I thought he was being ironic at the time; apparently not.
I call this 'Suction goes for walkies'

‘Yeah he also said something else, that you’ve been in the College of Paramedics news, the Service news, this and that, he was sick of seeing me. I think he feels that you need to peg it down a bit. ‘That boy, he’s peaking too soon’. But he wasn't being serious. In fact, I think he's secretly proud of you. You're one of his students after all'.
I call this one 'Suction on the Streets'
But I’ve learned not to take anything he says lightly. He’s disarmingly honest, both with himself and others. He’s very quick to identify his own faults before pointing out those in others. If he says something, no matter how light hearted it comes across, he means it. Writing this I have an uncanny feeling that I’m writing the history of my unmaking. My own explanation for these things is that, firstly, that I still feel a need, and I suspect always will, to justify my place on the course; and secondly, we can only strive to do our best. I’ve always tried to make the most of a situation. If I see an opportunity, I’ll take it. The paramedic field is an exciting place to be right now, and my advice to anyone is to seize the shears and fashion your own future.
Hello hello, where's that nozzle going?

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