I think I may have mentioned before my opinion about the Ambulance Service.
In case, for whatever reason, I wasn't clear enough; I love them to bits and couldn't imagine working without bumping into them on a regular basis.
Their professionalism shames me sometimes, their knowledge fills me with admiration, their attitude to the job shows that you can be cynical and still care, and their institutional sense of humour goes well hand in hand with coppers.
Oh, and their pay is appalling for what they do. The fact is they have to be issued flak jackets now, and attend the same jobs we do, sometimes arriving before us. I have turned up to violent domestics to find the ambo crew on scene; I know of quite a few that have been assaulted, and one or two seriously, including an LAS paramdedic stabbed in the head by a drunken husband of a victim he was attending to.
Not only that - but they often can point us in the direction of eligible nursing staff. And warn us away from others. Not to mention some of the lady ambos...
Of course, they are overstretched as we are.
So many times I've heard "LAS have no unit to send" whilst dealing with something. And I know they've heard the same many times from us. Usually it's not too bad - if it's not critical I'm happy they can't come. I'll even make sure it doesn't get chased up if they're on their shift changeover time and the patient is not too time sensitive.
Occasionally though, the wheels come off and they can't get there.
That's when every copper really starts to appreciate how much they love the ambo crews, just like a real relationship.
A while ago I took a call to a welfare check, after a daughter of a woman had been unable to contact her mother on the phone.
The woman had suffered a stroke, was epileptic, asthmatic, diabetic and had just come out of hospital after major surgery - her children were grown up and moved away, and were on their way down from Yorkshire to check on her but were worried after a phone call was cut off and she didn't answer call backs.
We turned up on scene, and spoke to neighbours who told us the same thing. The lights were on, so the door went in - with a satisfying crash that immediately impressed the elderly occupants in the nearby flats. I love feeling like a hero.
As we entered the flat, I saw straight away the woman, not elderly but obviously very very weak. She was struggling to breath, and was semi-conscious, with an enormous collection of medication next to her.
Straight away, I called up for an ambo to attend.
I was talking to her, and could see she was fading in and out, and her breath was becoming more ragged. I eyed the assorted inhalers, and realised I'd have no idea which one to offer her.
The radio crackled into life: "BX23, LAS report they have no units to send at the moment."
My partner was looking nervous, and as the woman sat up she started to shake. In fact, she started to convulse. I looked at him, and he got straight on the radio and started to ask the control room to chase up the LAS.
Oh shit. Oh Shit.
The woman looked at me, and her eyes seemed to unfocus, then she went rigid. I realised she wasn't breathing. I shook her, pinched her ear, "Can you hear me love?"
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.
Radio: "LAS still have no units to send, they will advise when they can get one."
The woman slumped forward on to me.
I pushed her off, and slapped her face, not a technique in any book but I wanted to be sure. She had no reaction so I started to pull off her jacket and jumper, I didn't want to be trying to locate her breaths and heart beats on the floor through loads of layers. My fingers were fumbling in my haste, but I managed it in a few seconds.
I yanked the woman towards me, and laid her on the floor. Well, I say laid - perhaps a better description would be "threw."
The woman landed on the floor, with an "Oof." And opened her eyes in shocked surprised.
I started a new mantra in my head: Thankyou God, thankyou God, thankyou God.
In the recovery position, all under control. Ish. I heard the sound of a siren, saw the strobe of the lights as an ambo rig pulled up the crew dismounted,
LAS did their thing, put the woman on oxygen, loaded her up.
I realised I was in love, deeply madly with both the crew members. One of them asked if I wanted to go with them.
Area: "I'd love to come with you. Anywhere."
LAS: "I meant with this lady to hospital."
Area: "Oh, er, yes, me too..."
The love remains, even after the ribbing we received from them. "I thought you said she wasn't breathing?"
Er, well, she wasn't.
"I don't know, you coppers are always flapping. See you later love."