WARNING: This posting may be just a tiny bit uncharitable. Blame it on me working a busy nightshift.
Poxy bloody heroin addicts.
This post may also be just a shade judgemental…
I got sent to a call, “Male collapsed”. I'm first on scene and as I enter the flat there is a partially dressed man on the floor with a woman kneeling over him.
At least she is honest.
“He's clucking, because he used to inject, and now smokes heroin. We had a fight now he's acting strange”.
'Clucking' means that he is withdrawing from heroin.
“Is he on methadone?”, I ask.
“Yes, but they don't give him enough”, she replies.
Heroin addicts never think they get enough methadone, which is a drug that is used as part of heroin addiction treatment.
She continues, “so he went a bit strange, so I gave him a few runs to see if it made him any better”.
'Runs' are a description used in smoking heroin.
So his addict girlfriend (she admits to sharing a drug of choice) has seen him go a bit strange and thought that giving him some heroin would help.
Normally this wouldn't be too much of a problem, we'd take him to hospital and let them sort it out…
But this one doesn't want to go to hospital. He is refusing despite using our range of persuasion tricks.
Apparently the local A&E doesn't give him enough methadone either. Apparently he has to take heroin with him when he goes to A&E so he can have a smoke of it outside the department.
We are stuck. We can't drag him out, his girlfriend and mum can't persuade him to go, and the police won't be able to do much.
This is also the sort of job that can (in the local slang) 'go bent'. In other words, this is the sort of patient who will take great pleasure in dying five minutes after we leave.
The ambulance crew decide to get an officer on duty to come down – this covers our backs, and means none of us should get the sack should the patient decide to stop breathing.
I'm sorry to be judgemental, but as soon as you start thinking it's a good idea to start injecting heroin into your veins, you stop being a human being, and instead step outside normal society.
I've never met a heroin addict I've liked.
On the flip side, there probably aren't that many heroin addicts who have found ambulance crews that they like.
It's on jobs like this that I rely on the training, and on my belief that, no matter how little I like the patient I'm treating, if I'm nice and polite to them it makes my life so much easier. I'll also treat them to the best of my ability, because anything else would just be wrong.
But it certainly doesn't help to think that while I am treating this patient there may be some little old lady, lying on the floor with a broken hip, awaiting an ambulance which is slow in coming because we are tied up dealing a heroin addict.
It also makes me both angry and sad that this person has completely wasted their life instead of doing something useful and productive. And don't forget the relatives, friends (and quite possibly) victims of crime) that are affected by his addiction.
And then after this job I get three maternataxis one after another.
Still, as my mother says “It must be nice to be busy – it must make the shift pass quickly”.
I'd still like a cup of tea every so often…
And with a bit of luck I'll be in a better mood tomorrow. In the meantime – Does anyone know a good nightclub in London for a Saturday night? Does the LA2 still play 80's music? Every time I work nights I look with envy at people enjoying themselves – so this weekend I intend to enjoy myself and maybe go 'clubbing'.