Day shift: Four calls; one assisted-only; two conveyed and one by ambulance.
Stats: 1 Naked nutter; 2 Unwell adults; 1 Headache..
Yes, yes… it’s a great job; you get to see the funniest things and the scariest things but rarely do they combine in one call.
A 22 year-old stripped off, ran butt naked down the street in broad daylight, offered his penis to several people (not just women) and then punched a hotel worker in the face before the cops grabbed him, blanketed him and stuffed him into the back of their van.
I was called on the basis that this young man had taken LSD, so I was expecting some kind of hilarity but this I did not see coming. He was so out there that every minute or so he’d go from calm to storm and the merest change in his situation brought about paranoia and hallucinations.
‘You’re going to hospital, they’ll help you there but you must stay calm’, I said through the safety ‘glass’ of the police van. He was sat in the corner with a red ambulance blanket around him (not sure how they got hold of that ‘cos I didn’t provide it). He seemed reasonable but I was wary of him.
As soon as the door was shut, he slammed his fists and feet into it and carried on like an animal in the back of the van. He was handcuffed, so his wrists were suffering as a result of his abnormally violent behaviour.
The cops had asked me to travel with him in the van but I declined their very kind offer and said I’d drive to hospital behind them (the hospital was literally across the road). I wanted to keep my teeth intact.
So, off we went after a few more drug-fuelled agitations and we arrived in about two minutes. He was put on a chair with a blanket around him after standing outside the van starkers while the officers changed his cuff position from back to front (it’s a trust move) but he went berserk again (even though I’d had another soft chat with him and he’d nodded his agreement to behave) and the cuffs were promptly rearranged around his back again.
As he was wheeled into A&E, an ambulance pulled up and a stretcher-borne patient cried out in pain as the crew prepared to move him. This set the naked man off again. ‘What’s wrong with that guy?’ he screamed, writhing out of the chair with two pairs of hands (mine included) trying to hold his shoulders down. He seemed dementedly afraid of innocuous things (LSD has that affect) and so getting him to calm down again took a long time.
Eventually, he was taken into Resus where a nurse began to communicate with him and he responded quite well, after one more thrash around on the bed with a bid to escape chucked in – security arrived but the two cops had it in hand and he was only a danger to those foolish enough to go near his nude flapping feet and hands. His penis was no threat to anyone.
A 92 year-old lady looked unwell as she wandered around the street near Trafalgar Square – she didn’t know where she was and so a local security man called us and I appeared a minute later because I received the request as I sat in the car on the Square itself. See? I eat ORCON for breakfast!
Anyway, she wasn’t unwell, she just looked that way and she insisted on not being dragged to hospital just because she was a bit confused. I decided that, at 92 years of age, she had the right to be a little confused and that her ‘little spell’, as she put it, was probably something she lived with every day. In any case, there was no way I was going to argue with her – old ladies pack a punch.
She asked to go to the nearest underground station because she wanted to go home. She was probably bored with younger people patronising her (to be fair, the security man was concerned and he did the right thing).
I took her to the station in the car, walked her down to the ticket office - arm in arm we went like a married couple (me being her toy boy of course). I asked one of the staff members if he could take care of her from there and ensure that she went on the right train home and he obliged with a smile. I know we are having a hard time with strikes right now but generally speaking the underground personnel in London are good people.
Off she went, thanking me and blessing me (she’d been to church), with an equally broad grin on her face. She’d dumped me for a younger man.
Into a grubby flat in Central London for a 51 year-old man next. He’d had dialysis treatment recently and, according to his wife and friend, he’d come home and sat in the armchair doing nothing and not responding for 24 hours. This, I think, wasn’t quite true because he spoke to me without hesitation, followed my requests when I carried out my obs and even asked his wife for a cigarette. Now, I can’t imagine he’d just sat there 24 hours prior to my arrival without a single fag.
I wasn’t going to convey this man because he couldn’t walk very well and so an ambulance was requested. While I waited, the family dog snooped around, wagging its tail and bringing toys from the kitchen in the hope that I’d play with it. I love dogs but I looked around and thought it was unfair to have the animal in such a squalid flat near a main road – that, of course does not mean that it isn’t loved and properly cared for but a human bit of me wished that it had a better existence than this. All three residents of the place were drug addicts, so I can’t imagine ‘walkies’ were offered that often. I could, of course, be wrong.
When he was inside the ambulance, his wife (who thought she knew me from somewhere) came to the car window. ‘Can you speak to them and make sure they take him to the right hospital’, she said.
‘Well, that’s the crew’s decision’, I said, truthfully.
They’d asked me if he could go the a specific hospital, not too far from their home but the crew had already decided where they were taking him and it was in the opposite direction, although again not too far. I didn’t tell her this because it really isn’t up to me in the end.
At an underground station, a 64 year-old member of staff was suffering from a headache on one side, with neck and shoulder pain. She had a history of hypertension but had been taking her meds and her blood pressure looked fine when I checked it. She hadn’t vomited but was nauseous and she could walk well enough. Her FAST check was negative, so I took her and a colleague in the car to hospital, where she ended up in the waiting area because low-symptom headaches just aren’t high enough a priority these days.