Day shift: Three calls; one treated at scene; one by car; one by ambulance.
Stats: 2 Abdo pains; 1 Drug o/d.
A bright start to the morning with a sunny day expected, for a change and I began with a rescue mission when I noticed three young girls who looked lost on The Strand. It was early in the day and I figured they must have been out all night and now they couldn’t get their bus home. As they wandered along the street I decided to ask them if they were okay because if these were my daughters I’d be concerned about what they were doing and their planes for getting home safely. None of them looked older than 13.
The only way they could get a bus home was to get to Waterloo Station, so I called it in and made sure Control knew that I was taking them there. I dropped them off and they waited for their bus in a more public place. During the trip they agreed that ‘ambulance people’ were much friendlier than the police because apparently they’d called 999 and asked for help, telling the operator that they were lost and giving their ages. Now I would have thought they’d get some assistance due to their youth and exposure to the less savoury characters on the streets at that time of day but they told me that they were called ‘time wasters’. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know but if it is, I wonder what would have happened if one or all of them had fallen into danger.
Then off to a hostel where a homeless man lay on the ground complaining of abdominal pain. He had a large, angry-looking lump in the middle of his belly and that probably meant he had a hernia. At first he was verbally aggressive but I stayed calm and hoped he’d follow suit, which he did. I think the other street people around him had been winding him up. I asked for a crew because I wasn’t going to carry him in the car and an ambulance turned up within a minute.
The man told us he’d been a session musician in the 60’s and 70’s and, being an ex-muso myself, I was interested to hear him talk about the people he’d worked with; John Lennon and Robert plant, for example. It also interested me to see where he’d ended up as the direct result of a ‘Rock.n.Roll’ lifestyle. He’d become an alcoholic drug addict and this had brought about his down-fall. Now he lived on the streets and had been in and out of prison for the past ten years.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to save a life is to administer Narcan after an overdose of Heroin but it’s all too often a thankless task because, like the next patient I was called to, she was a deliberate self-harmer (in terms of drug abuse) and when my colleague (a crew arrived with me) gave her the drug after we found her barely breathing on the floor of her squalid room in a hostel, she recovered and began to rant and rage about it as if her life wasn’t the issue. I thought she was pregnant when I first saw her – she definitely had a ‘belly’ that looked as if it held a human being inside but her friends insisted she wasn’t. She just had a pregnant looking belly I guess. We may well have saved two lives today but there won’t be any medals or tea for it.
It was a lovely day for sitting on stand-by in Traffy Square and I was watching the world go by when a young lady approached me and asked if I could check on her father. He was suffering acute lower abdominal pain which was radiating south to his groin. I spoke with him about it for a few minutes and told him it may be a stone he was passing. He had no medical history of significance, unless a hernia from the past was causing secondary problems but I doubted that. He didn’t want to go to hospital and I gave him advice about fluids and waiting for it to pass and he went off with his daughter.
A few minutes later, as I was discussing politics and the weather with a police officer, his daughter returned and asked if I could take him to hospital. Apparently it wasn’t getting any better and she told me he was famous for playing down serious things, so I took this into account and offered to take him in the car. His daughter travelled with us while his wife and other family friends/relatives made their own way on foot to the hospital.
Unfortunately, the pensioners of England had banded together for a protest march 5,000 strong and the roads were now shut or blocked by traffic, so it was a slow trundle towards A&E initially but I took a detour and we made good time. I don’t like the thought of anyone in pain being delayed help and after being told how stoical he was by nature I wasn’t going to underestimate his discomfort. As for the marching pensioners (or maybe it was their siblings), none of us held a grudge about the delay because whatever they are fighting for, they probably deserve.
During the trip we chatted about Northern Ireland, particularly the town where the gentleman came from and had lived all his life. I’ve been there (once) and we discussed the circumstances that took me there. We also covered other topics, including midwives, just for the hell of it. Oh, and his daughter sounds Australian – she has that Antipodean twang to her voice but she strongly denies having anything to do with the continent, so we agreed that she probably watched too much Ozzie soap stuff on TV. Honestly, though, she should admit to being a throwback to an earlier age – and like some of my lot in Scotland, we all know why they went there, eh?
I enjoyed this call because these were people I could talk to and relate to without minding my P’s and Q’s too much ‘cos - and those who know me understand this - I’m not that good at it.