Massive heart attack!

Today begins with me being enlightened about how coming from the country means I am naturally incestuous with six fingers. I can confirm that this is not true.

Anterolateral MI
Anterolateral MI ST-segment elevation in leads I, aVL, V2 – V6 with reciprocal changes in III, aVR and aVF.

We’re dispatched almost immediately to a patient in their fifties with cardiac chest pain. On arrival, they’re laid on the pavement breathing at 76 a minute and are in quite evident distress. We don’t dilly dally around. The patient is in the back of the ambulance within minutes. I  do a 12-lead ECG (a tracing of the hearts electrical activity, pictured below). The tracing confirms that the patient is having a rather significant heart attack or MI (myocardial infarction in fancy medical talk). Aspirin, clopidogrel and GTN are given, as standard, and I alert the PPCI (primary percutaneous coronary intervention) department, which is only the best part of a 50-minute drive (on blue lights). The monitor then shows my patient is in cardiac arrest. I promptly alert my colleagues. Compressions are started immediately and he is shocked twice – we achieve ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation – basically we’ve brought the patient back to life). Although by now, the patient has technically died and been resuscitated, all they keep saying is how they’re going in and out of consciousness. I think we did quite a good job. The patient is stable for the rest of the journey to the PPCI. I am allowed to watch the angioplasty, which is successful.*

Naturally, the rest of the day was fairly mundane after this bout of excitement.±

* Angioplasty carries significant risks. For example, the embolus causing occlusion in the heart can, once dislodged, travel to the brain and cause a massive stroke.

± Is that a little sadistic?

The tax man is at it again.

A busy few days recently.

Tues 31st July

Off to Wokingham on the train costing a staggering £43 just for a single! Purpose: to pick up a new car. Not actually new, but new to me nonetheless. A BMW 118d 2.0L turbo charged boasting a combined 50MPG†. Quite an enjoyable outing – made easier by the fact that I do rather like train travel. All was great, apart from the fact that I had to tax the vehicle on the 31st, meaning the tax was effective as of 1st July; I had to pay a month of tax for a vehicle I had only owned for 20 minutes.

Weds 1st August

Spent the morning with my girlfriend. We enjoyed a lovely walk surrounded by water, a canal on one side, the Severn on the other. I drove home and made good time, 2 hours and 6 mins for 129 miles. The rest of the day was dedicated to jet-washing, rotary buffing and polishing the new car. I think I took Rex for a walk in the evening.

Thurs 2nd August

I spent the morning cleaning the interior. Early afternoon saw a trip to a neighbouring village to see a mate for a couple hours. Back at home the grandparents had arrived to see the new car. Fortunately, they liked it very much, and were pleased for me. I took them to look around the exterior of a potential property for them to consider. As they’re getting older and more frail it has been deemed appropriate for them to downsize to a more manageable property, with easier access. I then took them around the local park. The locals clearly put in a lot of time and effort into the maintenance and appearance of the grounds as they’re really beautifully planted. No walk for Rex this evening; however, I did acquire him a tennis ball from the park, which has four, large, tennis courts.

Friday 3rd August

Today was shocking, a really miserable day. The night before, the kitchen sink trap had broken free of the basket strainer that had been silicones into the old Belfast sink. Sometimes, plumbing is enjoyable, however, when you’re dealing with years work of stinking grot that comes out of a bottle trap, it really isn’t. All of this was made worse by the fact I had bought the wrong trap replacement in the first instance, I needed a 40mm, not 32mm. The Screwfix catalogue suggested 32mm for sinks and basins, whilst the 40mm for urinals, so it was fair to presume that 32mm would be right. The plastic basket strainer then broke as I tightened the screw. For fuck sake. Back in the car to the local plumbing centre to try to explain to the confused counter assistant what I wanted (I didn’t know, at the time, that the plug construction was called a basket strainer.

Saturday 4th August

Not helping Mum clean today. Instead I am sat in a hot gazebo, in the middle of a field, waiting for something to do – essentially waiting for someone to become ill. Oh well, I’m being paid, so I can’t complain. I am working 12 noon ‘til 12 midnight, so Rex shalln’t be in receipt of a walk tonight.

† Whilst I appreciate that this is not actually that high for these days, my old vehicle returned a nice 33MPG!!

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Completed It

Today marks one year* since I opened a WordPress account†. I have had to pay a substantial amount to keep this alive, so here’s to year number two!

Something you may now start to notice is the ads. Now don’t get me wrong, I HATE adverts. But. Money doesn’t grow on trees in my back garden so I have to try using other avenues. Sadly, if the ads ever do generate any revenue, it will only be spent on petrol. I have, on several occasions, suggested that the ambulance trust could give us students fuel cards, I’m quite sure you can imagine what they said…

Yesterday and today have been days of torrential downpours and generally miserable weather. Nonetheless, the sun is now out. Convenient. I think I’ll grant the dogs wish and take him for a walkies.

* This is what the title refers to – completing a year.

† Properly, at least. I’m sure I probably thought I could use this platform as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme once or twice in the past!

Making Money

Haven’t posted here in some time, since back from Corfu, I believe. So much for writing a post a day to improve my literacy skills…

Today is dull and gloomy, with a light drizzle that slowly, but surely, moistens one’s clothes; to the point where I can no longer tell whether it is sweat or just rain.

Start the morning well by making £90 on a toaster that was pulled from a skip. Not any old toaster, mind you. A six slice, Dualit. Polished stainless steel with white ends. Very nice. A bit of Brasso and oven cleaner later and I have a toaster that looks as good as new, and works well too. Thank you.

Over the years I have fixed many an iPhone. Usually, this consists purely of screen replacements. However, I have also replaced batteries and charging ports too, with a 100% success rate. Obviously, mum thinks I should become a surgeon. The point is that I have four or five old iPhones, from the 4S to 6S hanging around in my ‘man draws’. I think I will try to sell some of these too, only for parts, of course.

Of to Screwfix now, a shop that I actually quite enjoy being in. It’s simple, there is enough space for everybody and I merely have to write down what I want, instead of trying to have to explain. Buying sash locks and a new chisel, to prepare to be an Airbnb host.

My amazing girlfriend bought me a tent recently, too. I have not yet found a suitable opportunity to put it up. Hopefully, I will find some time today. I am really excited!

In other news:

  • The local CFR scheme may be getting a ‘high visibility’ vehicle, basically a car that looks like a fast response ambulance, without the lights and sirens.
  • I still have heard nothing from the NHSBT team regarding the stem-cell donation that I was found as a potential match for.
  • Locals say that the weather is going to be amazing this coming Weds, Thurs and Friday in North Devon.

Corfu [Day Seven]

Final day in Corfu.
I’m feeling drained and eager to see my family again; the sun definitely takes it out of you.

Breakfast at a taverna in Pelekas, served with a very good cappuccino. This was followed by browsing the touristy shops. Bought my Mum a lovely handmade necklace.

Back for two more (each) pork gyros today, they’re not bad for only €2.80 a pop!

Spent some time wandering around the small back-streets of Pelekas in the blistering mid-day sun; a lady waters her plants and mops in sync.

I think I’m going to read for a bit as I feel like being particularly lazy this afternoon†.

Played a few card games and finished packing, which was a bit of a tight squeeze into our 20kg hold luggage – the old, analog scales say that it weighs only 16kg, but I’m a little sceptical.

The pork we had planned to eat for tea had gone bad, as did the chicken a few days prior – not hugely impressed. Salami, cheese and red onion toasties instead, with very miniature chips which we deep fried in the remaining olive oil – very nice.

Took a short walk to the crossroads (just down from the apartment) to find the woman selling oranges, unfortunately she was not there tonight‡.

My girlfriend found out about my blog tonight. I think she likes it, and is inspired to create her own!

Some card games to follow this evening, and then an early night.

† I was actually too lazy to even read.
‡ We had planned to make orange juice to drink tomorrow morning, the morning we leave.

Corfu [Day Six]

No alarm this morning. Woke naturally at 0940 ish.
Reading some more of Do No Harm†, I was intrigued by some of the ethical and moral decisions medical doctors have to make. The book seems to be ever more increasing my desire to study postgraduate medicine after my paramedics’ degree – surgery or general medicine are the specialities I feel like I would like to pursue at current.

I am sat on the balcony, overlooking a ebbing greenery that is, however, unfortunately almost entirely obscured by the fruitful orange and kumquat trees that are in abundance out here in Corfu. Today is more cloudy than the other days have been, but this is nice, as it gives intermittent breaks to the intense sun.

18:29:59
The days coming to an end, as darkness sets in slightly earlier than in the UK. The past few evenings have been cool, a welcomed change.

Spent today at the apartment, packing and tidying, finishing the last of the food bought throughout the week and enjoying the local vicinity.

An evening walk took us to Pelekas once again, we had pork gyros (pronounced jgyros – I didn’t know) and a Mythos beer to share. I bought a leather wallet and an alligator skin key-holster‡.

I write the last of this in the 30 minutes me and my girlfriend set aside for some ‘alone time’.

 

† If you have an interest in healthcare, this book is really very eye-opening, and I would definitely recommend a read (it was actually suggested on the reading list for the ‘Professional Judgement’ module of my paramedic degree).
‡ I have a bit of a leather obsession. I do disagree with killing animals for their hide, but what’s done is done. I look after my leather belongings well and with great care; this justifies it, for me, at least.

Corfu [Day Five]

Disturbed at 0600 by alarm, only to go back to sleep for an hour and wake again at 0700 (we did intend to get up early; but, you know…).

Final day with the car, so had to make the most of it. Spent the early hours of the morning walking along one of Pelekas’ beaches and taking some obligatory photos. Drove home to have two egg and cheese toasties for breakfast – actually quite nice – and pack for the day in town.

Visited Corfu town again today, to look around the market and return the car. It turns out that pestering and giving away free samples really does help when selling your products†. I bought some amazing, hand pressed, olive oil and some honey too.

Lunch at ‘The Big Apple’, a sort of Greek fast-food restaurant – they call themselves a grill house. The food was actually very good, including the price; two chicken Souvlaki’s, a mango iced tea and a bowl of fries for just €8.40.

Acquired some ‘sliders’ for €3 (even though they were price marked €5) from the China export shop‡. Drove home again to empty the car and leave all the heavy stuff there. Left again to return the car and head to the beach.

Returning the car was far less stressful than I had imagined. I thought they would come up with some crazy excuse that I had damaged it and charge me €1000.00. In reality, I handed over the keys, the woman checked the odometer and returned inside, looked at me as if I had two heads and then said: “that’s it, thanks”.

Phew.

Went in the extremely salty sea once more, bathed in the sun and got the bus home (not too bad of an experience).

Cheese and tomato toasties for dinner.

An early night and lie in is due.

 

† Don’t be a twat, though.
‡ I can’t slate, as I’m actually really happy with them.

Corfu [Day Four]

Today started with some angry house-mates; we broke a glass the night before, and so some glass must have remained in the matt, as one of them cut their foot†. Pork belly and eggs for breakfast, with a glass of apple, apricot and peach ‘nectar’ to wash it all down.

We left at 1036 for Sidari, a town in the north of Corfu island; €20 of petrol in the tank and we left. The drive took us meandering up and down the mountain-side, through rural villages and deserted, old, hotels – it was actually quite beautiful. At times I got slightly stressed out, as both Google’s and Apple’s maps navigation systems could not keep up with the car’s positioning – I presume the GPS signal is not the strongest in these areas? Parked up for free (I note as this is extraordinarily rare in England) and went to peruse through the high street, full of fake designer t-shirts and colognes.

Lunch was a combo platter of steak, ribs and chicken breast, served with chips and a well-seasoned salad and grilled halloumi.

We drove to the Canal D’Amour, planning to swim, but the wind had picked up considerably throughout the day and made the sea quite rough‡. After a short time here we drove home.

Spanish style tomato-chicken for dinner.

 

† We did, however, to make an effort to thoroughly clear up.
‡ I would have gone in the sea, but I don’t think it was safe for my girlfriend.

Corfu [Day Three]

Woke to the alarm at 0830 but slept in ’til 1000 – why not? Eggs and toast for breakfast again, a good way to start the day, in my opinion.

Made way to one of the beaches in Pelekas. Spent a few hours here, in and out of the sea to cool down as appropriate; the temperature must be ~35˚C today. Two stray dogs lounge around in the shade, their shaggy coats must be torturous.

Driving on the right is becoming more familiar, the issue is that there are no road markings; there are also little road signs to show right of way etc.

Retired to the apartment around 1400 to cool off, have lunch and chill out for a few hours. The tan is developing nicely, however, I have been bitten all over (this prompted a slight scare and subsequent Google search “is there malaria in Corfu”.

Approx. 1800, left for the Monastery of Paleokastritsa, a 25 minute, indeed very beautiful drive. Four euro for churro-esk fried batter balls with runny Nutella – amazing! The monastery was stunning and still operational, I believe.

Home by 2145. Card games, a tea and bed to follow.

 

Corfu [Day Two]

Today I woke up at 0830, had eggs on toast and half a chocolate croissant for breakfast and took to the road.

We walked to the bus stop (approx. 5 minutes from here) and waited for over half an hour; no buses. Eventually, we got fed up and hitched a lift with a local to the airport where we tried and failed to hire a car (I’m 21, and their insurances only cover >23).

We asked a local coach driver where we could hire a quad bike, he told us the port. We asked for directions and set off. He then picked us up 5 minutes later, as he was actually driving there and had forgotten at the time that we asked. We tried and failed again to hire a car – I’m quite tenacious. Finally, just as we were about to give up, a kind lady hired us a car for €140 for four days, with €1000 excess if it’s damaged.

Driving on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road, in the wrong direction was a daunting experience and I got quite stressed as I had no idea where I was going. I also don’t like the fact that petrol is pumped for you – I like to do things my self.

Tonight’s plans are to visit local beaches near Pelekas and watch the sunset.

[Updates may follow].

Corfu [Day One]

In an ideal world, this would have been posted yesterday.

 

Today I left the country (UK) for the first time in my mere 21 years.

Woke up at 0340, left at 0410, arrived at Bristol airport at 0510, checked in at 0515, on the plane by 0615, took off at 0645 and arrived in Corfu at 0940 (1140 local time).

Take off and landing experiences were great, I actually enjoyed this. I was impressed with the velocity of acceleration of the Airbus A321. In-flight turning made me a little nauseous *tablespoon of cement and harden the f**k up*.

Staying in an Airbnb, our host picked us up for €15, he also stopped off at a local supermarket on the way!

After settling in, we walked approx. 15 minutes to the local village of Pelekas and then decided to carry on up the hill another 20 minutes to the Kaisers throne (I highly recommend visiting, if you go to Corfu).

[Photos to follow when WiFi improves]

Chicken and rice for dinner.

In the evening, we walked for about 45 minutes in one direction to try to find shops but to no avail. We decided we really needed a hire car.