We were sent to, let's call her 'patient A', who been assaulted and had a supposed broken jaw (she didn't). This was following a pub fight in a well known 'dodgy' pub. It was half past midnight on what felt like the coldest night of the year.
We arrived on scene, we found an FRU on scene and a police van that was just heading off to the pub where the mass fight had taken place.
'A' got onto the ambulance, crying and snivelling, 'B', her boyfriend, a big lad full of anger, followed her. Another crying woman 'C' joined us, I think she was the sister of 'A', or was it 'B'? All of them were 'proto-adults' – older than teenagers, but still behaving like them.
'A' wanted to know where 'D' was, another woman (a sister or a friend?); meanwhile 'B' was proving that he was a man by punching his fists together and shouting loudly about how he was going to return with a gun and shoot them all in the head. In front of the police who, like me, have heard it all before.
'A' decided to jump off the ambulance to look for 'D' so 'B' followed her. 'C' realised that not only was 'D' missing, but so was 'E', who I think was her boyfriend, or maybe the boyfriend of 'D'.
Down the road 'A' and 'B' were screaming at each other, then fell into each other's arms, 'C' meanwhile was fielding phonecalls.
'A' and 'B' came back, then 'E' phoned up 'C' and told them that he had two broken legs and was laying in an alley – 'C' who seemed the most sensible of the lot tried to get him to describe where he was. Meanwhile 'B' continued to show that he was a real man by stomping around and swearing bloody revenge.
The police returned, then went to look for 'D' and 'E'; 'B' stomped a bit more, then decided to go look for them as well, 'A' shouted at him that she didn't want him to leave her, waited until he was out of sight and then hopped off the ambulance to follow him.
It was about now that I called for another ambulance to give us a hand – if there were five patients that's one more than we can handle…
'C' went off to look for 'A' and for a short moment peace returned to the inside of my ambulance.
'A' and 'C' managed to find 'D' and had a bit of a hug outside of the ambulance before getting on board to escape the cold.
A car drove past with snow on it's roof.
I wasn't surprised that they were cold, there dresses they were wearing barely showed under their belts. Which just goes to show how old I'm getting.
They sat in the back of the ambulance, took more phone calls, cried and hugged and waited.
My headache got worse.
The police returned with 'B' and 'E'; 'E' looked like he'd been given a mild kicking, nothing too serious, but he wasn't dealing with it that well.
'E' went onto our trolleybed, 'B' continued to posture, 'A' shouted at 'B' to shut up, 'C' told everyone to calm down and 'D' needed to have a wee.
The second ambulance arrived and took two of our patients – 'A' and 'B'; 'B' was under strict instructions to behave himself.
'E' continued to let everyone think that he was dying while we drove to hospital. 'C' was sensible and 'D' crossed her legs.
At the hospital 'E' made a remarkable recovery and started whispering to 'B' about revenge while 'A' and 'C' told them not to be stupid and 'D' went to the loo.
We left them there, it was our last job of the shift and as I sat chewing down some painkillers I wondered what had started it all of in the first place.
Then I realised that I just didn't care.
Pondering – If we had a military draft of our young people, we'd largely be screwed. Although to be honest I do tend to see the worst sides of people. Or people at their worst.
The lurgy laid me out for two days (thankfully two days that I was off work anyway, so my sickness record is safe…). I then spent two days at work coughing and spluttering over people while dealing with a banging headache – I think I'm going to take on a new nickname – 'Typhoid Mary', and now I have another day off where I appear to have lost my voice. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess the effects of making probably still infectious health workers return to work in an effort to avoid disciplinary procedures. Let's just say I'm not visiting my mum on my day off..