An Alphabet Of My Life: A


An obvious choice of course. Until I retired in 2012, I spent over one-third of my life working in emergency ambulances as an EMT in Central London. Up to the time I left in 2001, being an ambulanceman defined me. From having to work shifts, to being a union organiser, and dealing with things every working day that most people will never see in their lifetimes.

Even now, almost 21 years after I worked my last shift in an ambulance, that experience lives on. It lives on in my dreams, my attitudes, my life in retirement. It is more than a job, even though at the time it was ‘just a job’. It is an unforgettable experience that makes you feel part of something that so few people outside of medical and emergency workers really understand. Being present at historical events that will long be remembered, or doing as something as simple as to put a dead man back into bed to give him some dignity in death.

In some ways, it was a thankless occupation. The management treated us badly, many members of the public thought it was acceptable to abuse us verbally and physically, and the pay was low by comparison with almost any other lifetime career. But other aspects of it were glorious. The times when someone thanked you sincerely, the wonderful relationships and friendships with colleagues and nursing staff at hospitals, and the feeling that you did something useful, instead of making more profit for faceless international conglomerates.

I like to think of it as one of the truly worthwhile jobs. Working in unsuitable conditions to help people as best as you could. Usually too hot or too cold, tired, wet, and frequently exhausted by the relentless workload and the pressures of dealing with difficult situations. Trying to stay cheerful and positive in the face of unspeakable scenes and sights, and remaining professional at all times in the public gaze.

There could be no other choice for ‘A’.

If you want to read more about my time doing that, I have posted many examples on this blog. Here are some links.

The Ambulances I Worked In

Ambulance memories: Disasters

66 thoughts on “An Alphabet Of My Life: A

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Jack. I haven’t changed any settings, so I suspect the usual issue, a WordPress glitch!
      (I tried to reblog one of my own posts after reading this, and it worked for me at my end.)
      Best wishes, Pete.


  1. I think your choice of life’s work is wonderful, Pete. I often wish I had a more rewarding job from an emotional and spiritual point of view, but I earn well and I have helped several people achieve their dream, or get medical treatment they needed so its not all bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m thinking your job experiences are at the core of this blog, Pete. I had a very un-dramatic office type job, and I still have occasional anxious dreams relating to it, so it’s no wonder you still have nightmares.
    Looking forward to B through Z.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) I thought EMT stood for Elephant Memory Test. No?
    (2) Are ambulances admirable? Absolutely!
    (3) Why do I have a feeling there will be 25 other similar posts?
    (4) The walking dead don’t need ambulances.
    (5) What you did I could never do. I also hope to never see an ambulance at my house.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so amazed at people like you, who drove towards emergencies, piecing together the broken bodies as you found them, and like you say, you were often the first to arrive at a historical event. I faint at the sight of blood, hopeless in emergencies, and as a mom of four I was ever so grateful our pediatrician was only blocks away. I like this idea for posts! Looking forward to the rest of the alphabet! Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate your service, Pete. I’ve often wondered about paramedics and EMTs, how they administer during chaos and panic, how they must remain calm while in the line of fire. I couldn’t do it, that’s for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pam. The honest tuth is that you get used to it very quickly. When you are doing it, it really is just a ‘job’. It is only much later that the enormity of it all hits you.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A very commendable “job” and sadly undervalued. EMT people, firemen, nurses. where would we be without them? It takes someone special to do what they do and clearly they do not do it for reward. You should be very proud to have done such an important job and helped so very many.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My son is also an E.m.t. He no longer works on an ambulance because he got his nursing degree and is now working at the hospital. It takes a special person with a kind heart and tough shell to be able to do and see the things that other people would not be able to handle. Thanks Pete for being one of those special people 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ditto Pete, I still get nightmares about some jobs but also remember those funny events. There is not a job where you go into someones bedroom more than an ambulanceman, take them away from their house of years for the last time, hear a death confession, break the news that there is nothing we can do for their spouse of 50 years or deliver a baby on a tube. But my favourite part was making a cuppa for granny & hearing what she did during WW1.
    Most can’t do the job for long, but Pete did.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love this idea for posts, Pete. It truly is one of the worthwhile jobs. I used to be a nurse (in another lifetime, lol) and while in A&E, met many frontline workers. I always admired what they coped with actually on scene. By comparison, emergency was easier. Great share 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Harmony. A+E nurses were our ‘kindred spirits’. I lived with one for 3 years, and dated many others. We understood each other in a way that few others could.
      I have published quite a few A-Z posts on here, but this is going to be just about me. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

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