I digress. If you have any friends or relatives who are paramedics, ambulance drivers or similar, you will know how endlessly fascinating their work-related stories are. (Not to them of course, but to the rest of us whose work consists of moving files around a computer, printing out bits of paper and talking to fellow drones whose work is also, in comparison to this flesh-and-blood, breathing/not breathing, total and genuine peril, utterly meaningless.) This book is the same, for stupid and serious reasons. If you know how my dad died, you will understand why I find the chapters on responding to cardiac arrests particularly absorbing. And given the life-and-death nature of the subject matter, it is no surprise that a wealth of tiny profundities spring up across the pages. So far, I have been most unable to shake a chapter where the author is called to the house of an old lady whose neighbours have raised the alarm, believing her to be dead. The ambulance crew discover that, while she is undoubtedly checking out, she is still more or less breathing, albeit with increasing emphasis on the less. They go to work on her and our hero writes:
'She had little chance of recovery, but we hoped for it anyway. She fought for her life, and had probably been doing that for the whole of the night. Because of our actions, and the actions of the hospital team, she wasn't going to die alone, and she wasn't going to die without her family saying a final goodbye to her.
It's a small victory, but sometimes those are the only ones you get.'
Perish the notion of coming over all 'dance like nobody's watching', and I don't think I am religious, but really – amen to that.