This is ASBO; that's his stable name because he doesn't behave himself.
Day shift: One calls; one assisted only; one treated on scene; one by car.
Stats: 1 Fall; 1 Distended stomach; 1 Head injury; 1 Impaled tongue.
A very slow start to the day and my first call of the morning was a non-convey for a 95 year-old woman who fell in the street and was helped up and back to her home by two mounted police officers. One of their horses (ASBO) was walked along by a PCSO so that the female police officer could take care of the sprightly old lady as they waited for us.
An ambulance was sent as well and we arrived at the same time, only to be told by the old lady that she didn’t need us. She was right – she had no injuries and was fine to go about her normal day after a stumble that most 75 year-olds would have had trouble with. At her age, it was rare and heart-warming to see that she could still take care of herself. She practically ran to the lift to get back to her flat when her obs were completed!
I took the photo of one of the police horses, known by the stable name of ASBO because he can be less than well behaved, as we chatted outside afterwards.
Later on I was sent to a block of flats for a 21-month-old boy with ‘fever’ and a distended stomach. The block’s only lift wasn’t working and I didn’t discover that until I’d waited long enough for it. Then I had to gain entry to the stairwell, which was security locked, and walk five floors (but ten flights as each floor had two sets of steps up to it) to the relevant flat, where mum and dad were waiting with the child.
He had a recent history of pneumonia with sepsis and his little tummy did indeed look huge but it wasn’t rigid and he’d moved his bowels earlier. He was off his food but nevertheless lively (hyperactive in fact), so I took him and his mum (and the pushchair) to hospital. It took a long time for them to get organised. Never mind, it’s not as though I have emergencies to get to later anyway.
I made the mistake of taking my break at a bookshop and going into the medical section. I always, always come out poorer for doing that. Never again, I say, like a practised drunken schoolgirl.
Luckily I was saved by a call in which I was asked to go and transport a patient currently being attended to by one of my MRU brothers. The lady had sustained a head injury as the result of a mystery incident. She couldn’t remember how she got it but she was found face down in the street and nobody seems to have witnessed her falling or being hit. This was a very busy junction and there were lots of people around, so it was all a bit strange.
The hospital was literally across the road and she had no neck pain, seemed to be fully conscious and aware and able to stand and walk, so I drove her the short distance to A&E while she vomited into a clinical waste bag in the back seat. This was possibly a sign of something more significant than a minor cut to her head and I took no more than 1 minute about getting her in through the doors.
She continued to vomit on and off and began to remember stuff – like she had been running. She could have fallen hard, knocked herself out and lost the immediate memory of the incident as a result. It was strange that this hadn’t been witnessed in such a busy area though. Luckily, a first aider and someone else who happened by helped her until the biker arrived.
An interesting little intervention after coffee when I was asked to go and help a 95 year-old lady (yes another one) whose dentures had got ‘stuck in her tongue’. It turned out she was eating dinner when the dentures became loose and the jagged wire frame that they are mounted on impaled her tongue, going through from the base to the top. When I examined it I thought it was going to be too tricky and painful to remove – I wondered if she’d bleed too much or she’d scream in agony as I attempted to take it out while she fought to breathe properly.
I told her to breathe through her nose (that helps lessen the gag reflex) and I got my fingers around the obstruction but it slipped and slithered so much that I thought I’d never get it. The wire was quite well embedded and her tongue had actually wrapped itself around the thing like it well-loved metal.
After a few attempts and a near-decision to take her to hospital and have someone else inflict the pain, I had one last go at it and this time, remembering that I was dealing with a muscle that was older and wiser than any of mine, I pushed the tongue over the wire until it was free. Initially she winced in pain but when it came out, she was very, very relieved. I had saved yet another life on the cheap and it felt good.
‘£600’ she ‘drew’ on her table using her finger while she recovered the power of speech via her newly liberated tongue. Then she said it angrily – ‘six hundred pounds I paid for them!’ I know one dentist who isn’t going to be given a long shrift for his handiwork and I’d love to be a fly on his wall when she confronts him. Ninety-five or not, once she had her voice, she was a force to be reckoned with.