27 November 2013

I Will NOT Be Normal!

So today I decided to give up and just get a normal job. I don't want to travel, I don't want to do what I love. I will plod along like a 'normal' person and just get through life.

Wait? Is that what people do? Is it really possible just to go with the flow and aim to reach the end of your life?

I'm sorry, but after thinking this through today, I am ADAMANT that this will not be me. I will make the absolute most out of every single second in possibly can. This might mean doing things I love like scrambling up mountains, sitting in a log cabin, building my own house or working in a job that I want to do. Or it might mean sulking and wallowing in self misery to give me the kick I need to lift my head and carry on. I will not be dragged through life with just enough to get by.

I WILL become a Paramedic.

I WILL travel the world.

I WILL build my own house.

I WILL do the things I want to do in order to live an amazing, purposeful life that has not been squandered. Some people aren't given the incredible gift of a pretty much guaranteed 80 year life expectancy. Some people have to fight for it while others waste it.

I can't say I am perfect but I try my utmost best to live these core values and every day I fail makes me more determined to do better in the future.

It's not easy to inspire this kind of feeling in someone, it often takes a life changing moment or some incredible insight into yourself. I have been inspired by the people I have met and deep down I see and feel what I describe but consciously it takes a lot more effort to live by these principles. My current aim is to make progress in this area, to feed off the inspiration and drive and get to where I want in life. To make the most out of every waking minute.

9 October 2013

Not Quite Ready (Part 2)

Okay, It's been a while and I owe an apology. As to an explanation, well there is none.

Last time I teasingly mentioned I came ever so close to joining the ambulance service. It's time to let that cat out of its bag, it's been in there long enough!

I applied for a job as a dispatcher with the South West Ambulance Service (SWAS) at the control room in Almondsbury. The role would involve taking emergency 999 calls from patients, recording details for ambulances to be dispatched and giving life saving medical instruction. You may be wondering why this is all so exciting if I didn't get the job? Well, part of the selection involved listening in on real life 999 calls.

Yeah, this really is as incredible as it sounds and the nerve racking interview was worth it just for this alone. The environment was relaxed and friendly. I was assured it's like having a second family, and I can understand why. Dispatchers deal with some very difficult and sometimes harrowing situations, never knowing what may be on the other end of the phone. I had never given this much thought until recently and I understand why the selection standards are so high.

I am not going to let rejection put me off, this is a perfect avenue for exploration. Many people seem to go from taking calls to either dispatching ambulances or actually being on the road as emergency medical technicians. I would choose the latter, and from there it's just a short jump (tonnes of money and years at uni) to being a Paramedic!

On a slightly different note, I want to mention a realisation that came to me. Five, or even three years ago, I would never have even dreamed of going for a job like this. It shows how much more confident I have become since moving to uni. I find I have more drive to do things now, more of a need to go out and see if i can grab that banana, or even reach that orange. What's the point of just sitting there and munching on bark?

Something that I have noticed only very recently though is more profound. I am not entirely sure what triggered this sudden change, I always assumed something like this took years of dedication and hard work. Well, being content with myself and living in the now has become a reality. I don't need to rush at this, or anything for that matter. I have a whole lifetime ahead of me and that has more meaning for me now than it ever has before. I am happy just being, doing things that must be done. Getting enjoyment out of the most mundane tasks. I've let go of everything that I don't need and I am moving on.

Two main elements stand out. I have goals for the future. I have memories and lessons from the past, but the rest, well that's in the past and I don't need to carry that around. Being here, now, that's what counts and that's what frees up the drive to reach my goals.

The only negative I can't draw from not knowing what brought this change on is that it may not last forever. As a result of this, I am actively pursuing (successfully in some cases) things that will help my career prospects and my sense of worth right now. Those pursuits that end up not so successful don't matter. Take the lessons and steal the show next time!

Sometimes it is just necessary to stop, look around and take a deep breath. That is where I am right now and after, I can continue with renewed vigour having benefitted from the wisdom around me.

14 July 2013

Get back on the horse and ride

"If you haven't fallen off a horse, you haven't been riding long enough."

Part 2 of my previous post will be up soon.

19 April 2013

Not Quite Ready

I was never quite sure where this burning desire to work as a Paramedic came from. I guess on some level I always wanted to work in health care. As a kid I would imagine that I would one day be a top surgeon in a huge hospital (probably after I realised being a scientist didn't really involve creating big explosions in test tubes). Now though, the fog has cleared. I want to do a job that's rewarding, I want to work with other people and help to make a difference. Working in an office, lab or shop to make another person rich doesn't float my boat. 

I think one day I could do this job very well. I'll be able to enter a person's life during their time of crisis and walk them through what could be an incredibly scary period of time, driven by all the right reasons. They're in pain and frightened, worried about what's going to happen to them or a loved one. This person will need someone to reassure them, make them feel safe and at ease. They need someone to remain calm and focused, someone that knows what they are doing. A paramedic must be able to do this for a patient and It's just as important as the medical aspect of their role.

But I have to ask myself, can I do that?

It's an important question, one that's not so easy to answer. I could easily turn around and shout a firm 'yes' but being sure on the outside probably isn't enough. The truth is, I'm not sure. Maybe it's something that can only be determined in an actual situation. I do know that the likelihood of failure is higher if I were to have strong lingering doubts and failing in such a situation is denying a person the right to the best support available during what could turn out to be the final day of their life.

And what if I don't like the job? Does wanting something so much automatically mean I will like it? Probably not. I want to get fit, but it doesn't mean I will like the process. I have no way of knowing until the time comes.

I think a part of me is hoping that once the uniform is on, it's almost like playing a part; I'm no longer me, I'm just another paramedic. It's impossible to know for sure. This whole question is really getting to me, mainly because if I can't do this job for some reason I'll be at a complete loss. I expect I'm over thinking the whole situation but currently I'm of the inclination that I should put off this line of work for a few more years while I work on my confidence and build up my ego a little.

If only I could stop thinking about it, I literally imagine what it's like every day. I desperately long to join the Ambulance Service. I recently came ever so close.

To be continued...

27 February 2013


I know, I know. I've been slacking with the blog posts. In all honesty, I haven't had anything to write about of late nor the motivation to dig something up.

I've been working at NHSBT for nearly 2 months now and I'm amazed at how fast the it's gone while annoyed at how little I've achieved outside of work. I guess this is to be expected though, getting used to the structure a new job creates alongside the new knowledge and skills I've had to gain really takes its toll mentally and physically. This is especially difficult when half the shifts start at 5am, an unearthly hour that never existed before the start of 2013. All I can say, is thank heavens for naps. In all honesty, I quite enjoy going to bed at 8pm of an evening. It's not like there's anything good on TV these days anyway (you wouldn't think I was only 21 would you?).

I'm slowly bringing my life around to where I want it. I've started eating properly again and the exercise will follow soon. I have a good job with good career prospects and the voluntary work for St John Ambulance will begin in the near future. Opposite the building I work in is an Ambulance Service Operations Center where the HART Paramedics (Hazardous Area Response Team) are based. I heard a rumour that we may be able to go over and talk to the guys to see what they get up to. I will attempt to find out more I think, this sounds like an exciting opportunity. Yes, that does mean the burning desire to be a Paramedic is still there, it really isn't a passing fling, this one is gonna stick with me for a long time. That's a good thing though, as I will have to take the long road. It's okay, I'm feeling positive.

Now, I feel it's my duty to do a little preaching here. As I work for the National Blood Service, and regularly give blood, I'm gonna pester you lot to do the same. We're in constant need of new donors and it literally takes half an hour to give a unit of blood. Ever thought of how being a Doctor and saving lives would be cool? Well, you CAN save a life without even applying for a medical degree or getting your stethoscope out. Go on, try it. Give blood.

I also just wanted to point out that my friend Stacie was recently on TV and in the Newspaper for the "From the Heart" campaign in a bid to raise awareness of organ transplantation. She's really quite inspiring and hopefully a read of this article will encourage you to at least think about becoming an organ donor. It takes seconds! You can also see her on ITV News/Daybreak in the video on her blog.

That's all from me today, I'm probably gonna go sleep now. I have a sore throat.

9 December 2012

The Obligatory Christmas Post

Wow, it's been a while. I haven't had a chance to post as I have been pretty busy with work and all (yes, that's right... actual work!!).

I've really been enjoying my time at Bristol Mail Centre (except for Saturday's which are just hell on earth). My department takes all the reject letters and sorts them into outgoing (the rest of the country) and incoming (Bristol). There's about 60 pigeon holes to remember for three different sections and an expectation to sort 31 letters per minute! It's insanely fast paced but really quite an experience. I've also met some very interesting people, and I am getting some information on placements I can do to help with my Paramedic career off a guy from the Caribbean.

Anyway, the reason for my post is Christmas! I can't remember the last time I really enjoyed Christmas. Probably a good couple of years ago, at least. The magic I experienced when I was a kid, and even after I found out Santa Clause wasn't real had vanished and I became a Scrooge.

However, this year all of my pent up festive feelings are unleashing themselves and I've decided the build up to Christmas is by far the best part. I've already paid a visit to Bristol's German Market, had my customary German Sausage and even found myself some mulled cider! As you may have guessed, food is a huge part of my Christmas experience and I can not wait to make Christmas food and force feed it to people.

Last week I made our Christmas Tree out of a cereal box and this evening, I spent my time making mulled cider whilst listening to Christmas music. I'm in the middle of doing my Christmas shopping online, although I have no idea what I want for Christmas and my Mother is pestering my almost hourly.

Mulled Cider! As was pointed out by my housemate, it looks like a chocolate chip muffin floating around. I had to cheat slightly, as the shop was rather useless with it's spice selection.

House 269's Christmas Tree. I know it looks absolutely STUNNING, and you are all incredibly envious, but it looks ridiculously out of proportion in the corner of our living room.
Anyway, I hope you are all having a wonderful December. I shall leave you for another week. Go out and enjoy the festive spirit, don't let the Scrooge take over!


9 November 2012

Over the Moon

At last! I've had some luck thrown my way. I have just received a Job offer as Healthcare Technical Officer within the NHS Blood & Transplant and I'm over the moon! I will be working at Filton Blood Centre, which is the largest blood bank in the world and supplies blood to most of the hospitals within the UK. Quite an amazing place, even if it is built on a flood plain.

I had a tour around the place when I went for my interview, and it's surprisingly efficient and very much like a factory as opposed to a lab environment. I thought I'd share a few pictures to give an insight into the life saving work I'll be doing daily (at unearthly hours in the morning).

The modern new building I shall be working in (geograph.org.uk)
I'm not sure I'll ever get used to holding bags of peoples blood...  (davidhedgesphotography.com)
The whole place is set out in little pods and it's unbelievably well run. I also get to wear a ridiculous cap and special shoes. (davidhedgesphotography.com)
After being spun in a centrifuge (blood cells are pulled to the bottom while plasma sits on top), they squeeze out the plasma in these machines leaving just blood. Note the very attractive uniform! Working here definately gives you a taste of what people would look like bald. (davidhedgesphotography.com)
I believe here they are mixing the blood cells with a special saline solution so that they last for longer (BBC News)
Finally, this link takes you to a short BBC News video and shows some of what goes on inside the manufacturing hall.

From what I have gathered so far, I will be doing some form of testing. Not what I originally wanted, but I think it will be just as good as the other roles within the centre.

So it looks like I may have been saved from working at Royal Mail after all...

Have a good Weekend,