Smell & Alcohol intoxication

Published on Aug 30, 2020

Note: I will write about bad-smelling and things I have smelled as a paramedic. Be warned!

The nose is one of our most important organs. Not only does it breathe the most time, but it also smells stuff. With the smell of something we immediately know if some kind of food is still eatable. And we know if something is smelling wrong and we need to leave a place.

As a paramedic, I have smelled a bunch of different things. Freshly vomited stuff, old vomited stuff, alcohol in vomit, recently died persons, urine and shit.

I remember a story of a child (probably 15 or 16) we collected at a club. He was really drunk and only reacted when it applied a little bit of pain. Because of his age, we had to drive to the childcare hospital which was about 15 minutes away.

Even though I was driving with special signals (blue blinking lights and sirene), I managed to drive "good" enough so he wasn't puking into our ambulance car. About three or four minutes before we arrived at the hospital my codriver was asking me to take a look at the poor boy, as he (my codriver) wasn't sure if he (the boy) was still breathing.

A little bit shocked I stopped the vehicle at the next bus stop. I got out of the driver seat and rushed into the back of the vehicle. I gave the boy a small slap and luckily he still reacted. His condition was way worse then it was when we started.

I jumped back into the driver seat and we blasted off on the last few kilometres. Since I was calling the hospital beforehand they knew we were coming and after we unloaded the guy we quickly got into the elevator and to the reception station.

I told the nurse that the boy was in poor condition than I told them in the call (now 20 minutes back). She wasn't trusting me at first, but as soon as she checked the blood pressure and heart rate, she was moving quicker.

The doctor on duty was woken up and we got into the treatment room. Since they wanted to quickly put an ECG (electrocardiogram) on him, he had to be undressed. I was working on getting the pants of the boy as the nurse was trying to get rid of the pullover.

As she was pulling on the thing, having his hands above his head, he started vomiting. Obviously directly onto the nurse's dress. By then we knew what he drank the whole evening: "Vodka Orange" (vodka with orange juice).

I'm telling this because since I started driving as a paramedic I smelled a bunch of different stuff. Interestingly I have some kind of smell barrier. I do smell all the crazy stuff, but it doesn't mess with me. I once drove with another colleague who had to vomit right after our patient vomited.

I even got hungry after I saw somebody vomit pizza, because I hadn't eaten one in a while. :)