Sunday, 24 June 2012

He was cute!

A little known tower built by Monsieur Eiffel
What a weekend! Like last year I had to pick up Iranians and their families/friends to take to Paris. Unlike last year I left on time and almost only had women on board. I did get stuck in some traffic, but not nearly as bad as last year. So, I got to my hotel reasonably early and had enough time to actually have a hot dinner.

On day two I took my people to the manifestation area, and then started the long wait for my colleagues. Due to the large amounts of coaches coming in, it took absolutely ages. Plus we had been told there was really heavy traffic towards our hotel. In the end we left at about one. And the heavy traffic proved to be there. It was awful! A trip of 35 km took us over two hours! But we did make it in the end and we were shown our rooms.* However, sleeping during the day when you've already slept reasonably well during the night is not easy, so we went for some food first.

After our meal I went back to my room and tried to sleep a bit. Unfortunately I didn't really manage it, but I did take advantage of the nice large shower. So, I was completely refreshed when the receptionist came to get me: one of the other drivers had phoned the ambulance service. His direct colleague had excrutiating back pain and was in tears! Since I was the only one who spoke both French and Dutch, I stayed with him until he was loaded into the sarcophagus-stretcher (basically a plastic stretcher that is then inflated using a bicycle pump, until the patient fits very snuggly) and then onto the waiting ambulance.

His colleague then went to work to make sure his passengers were taken care of (which he managed) and after that the patient phoned to ask to be collected. I went along as well and by 9.30pm we had the patient stuffed in a taxi (probably some renal problems, he needs to see the doctor in the Netherlands) on our way back to the hotel where the coach was already waiting to go back to the manifestation area.

The return trip to the Netherlands was quite uneventful. Empty motorway all the way to the Netherlands where the floodgates opened and it poured all the way home. I cleaned the coach, picked up my own coach, drove back home and went straight to bed.

The signature is upside down!
Now, of course you are reading this because of the title and you are probably wondering who the 'he' in the title is. One of the other drivers? The patient? No, it was the guy from the ambulance. We needed to know to what hospital the patient would be delivered and since I didn't have a piece of paper handy, he wrote it on my arm. He even signed (*sigh), but he didn't leave his phone number! I tried!!

*European driving laws state that you can only do shifts of 13 hours or under, which can be stretched to 15 hours on occasion. So, if you start at 9am, you can't work until 9.30am the next morning, unless you take a break of at least nine hours. Now, if you have to drive during the night it is wise to actually get a so-called day-hotel. Some people are better at sleeping at all hours of the day then others.


  1. Too bad about his phone number, Mara. Maybe next time you're involved in medical translation you'll meet another handsome ambulance attendant!
    Glad you were able to help out.

  2. Sorry you didn't get the phone number :) So are you washing your arm? Sounds like a busy time and you have to have patience for waiting. Hard to sleep when your really not tired.


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