I came out of the house and started coughing. I was glad that I'd needed to leave, it was so I could get some fresh air.
Picture the house, an elderly married couple, both chainsmokers, both requiring home oxygen for emphysema, both suffering from recurrent chest infections. As our patient put it, “I think they are fed up with me down at the hospital, I was only there a few days ago”.
The walls were yellow-brown. Actually everything was yellow-brown. An old Labrador had wheezed it's way up the hallway to great me, it's tail wagging furiously. My crewmate was attending so I was free to play with the dog.
Thankfully it was nothing serious, a chest infection that hadn't gone with the first round of antibiotics, our patient would need something stronger.
I could feel the tar seeping into my skin, there was a horrible taste in my mouth and I started wondering what the lethal dose of nicotine is. Would it be a good idea to get our hazardous rescue team out in their noddy suits?
They were a lovely couple, rattling and wheezing away, rows of cigarettes lined up like soldiers. Cigarettes put into cigarette holders, something that I haven't seen except in movies set in the 50's.
Hundreds of souvenirs, all covered with a patina of tar, nicotine and heaven knows what else told me of their life before they became housebound. they were quite happy in their life, they had each other, their had their 'little sin' and they weren't hurting anyone.
They were lovely, we had a little laugh and a joke with them, I stroked the dog a bit more and we took our patient off to hospital.
But I could taste that house for the rest of the day.
Browsing through the BBC news website I came across the following. Imagine being the ambulance sent to this call…