From Paramedic To DIY Punk
Damn, where to begin. I guess it would be good to know why I chose to pursue a career in healthcare. From an early age I had a few passions, one obviously was music, although I couldn't play a single instrument but loved anything musical. Another passion was writing and from an early age I wrote stories for my family. The other passion was service. At a young age it was to join the Royal Navy and follow in my grandfathers footsteps. However at the age of sixteen, the call of ‘the social life’ was too profound to ignore and so I dropped any aspirations to join the military and found myself in a shity office job but enjoying the last days of my drawn out adolescence.
Once I had my daughter my adult life began and I took work at the post office as a Postman – to this day my most favourite employment. What was there not to like. Yes early mornings were tough at first but this became a normal routine. I was able to get in the office at around four am and be home – on a good day – before eight am. This meant I could take my little girl to school and have the rest of the day to myself.
I would spend most of this time writing. Back then, although still writing lyrics and basic composing, I wanted to be a novelist. I completed two novels but never made the bookshelves. It must have been around this time that I began to gain a lot of interest in medicine. I even remember having aspirations to go to medical school. I think this was mostly brought on by watching ‘Patch Adams’ with the amazing Robin Williams, and thinking I could do that. Naturally I could not. I thought I was too old to begin that kind of career, and besides would never get anywhere close to a medical school with the amazingly poor GCSE exam results, some of which were graded a ‘U’ meaning ungraded, as I didn’t even turn up to the exam.
Okay so med school was a no, damn you Patch.
The TV back then, as it still is a little now, was coveted by 999 programs. And as always if I see something on TV ‘I could do that.’ I was convinced for many years that I really was Batman, and as devastatingly as hard as it is to say this, I sadly am not. But Batman would definitely say that also!
And so it was I became obsessed by medical and emergency programs and devoted my time to gain knowledge and work my way into the ambulance service.
I was still a postman at this time and so began applying for posts within the service. At this time there existed three roles within the ambulance service:
PTS – Patient Transport Service
This was, and I say was, as most services and hospitals now contract out to private companies, a non emergency transport for patients in and out of hospital. But it was seen as a way into the frontline area of the service.
Ambulance Technician – A technician or tech, was the then assistant to the paramedic but could also work on their own initiative and administer basic life saving drugs and procedures. This role was pretty much abolished around 2008/2009, although some services resurrected the role in subsequent years.
Paramedic – The paramedic is the front line clinician with all the skills and knowledge needed to intervene when the worst happens.
I applied for a few tech posts but was never successful. And in 2008 the tech role was abandoned by the services I was applying to and replaced by the Emergency Care Assistant (ECA). This was my way in. But before that I needed some kind of healthcare experience. And so I became an auxiliary nurse at Great Western Hospital. A very daunting job prospect in the beginning and I remember walking into the interview and pausing by the door… What the fuck am I doing?
Well as normal, I did it anyway and got the job.
Fast forward to the following year and I was in the ambulance service. A few years later and I was training to become a paramedic and on the way to my degree in paramedic science, all the while learning the skills and knowledge on the job.
It was here that my passion for music was resurrected as I became friendly with one of the paramedics. He was a musician and wanted to form a band. All I had at that time was a lust for music and writing. So I could write lyrics and sing but couldn't play any instruments. Stevie (the paramedic) was a drummer and guitarist. But he really wanted to become a frontman of a band. I happened to have an old drum kit that I bought a good few years before and so he taught me a few basics and we were away.
We recruited a few other members of the service, Rich and Matt, and we were now a band. We rehearsed hard and came up with an original set and began to gig. Looking back I think we were quite good. A little cliche but good, and importantly all original.
During this time I was still training and gaining my paramedic qualification, which I loved. At that time apart from my family, the service was all!
After a while with the band I needed more involvement. I’m a creator and although I enjoyed the days of the band it wasn't enough. I needed to create my own sound. And so it became that the band fell apart and I, along with two of the other members formed a new band, where I would be able to add a lot more creativity.
Soon enough and I passed my degree and registered as a paramedic. Around this time music had to take a back seat as my dream job was finally here.
Coming in part two…
...After leaving the service and traveling the country in our yellow VW we settled in Hereford where I really found who I was as a musician...