Four miles away 'Bob' was about to stop breathing.
Bob's friends had seen him come out off rehab earlier that day, they had then invited him around to their flat where they then saw him inject some heroin.
Bob's friends had then watched him pass out for half an hour, and then his breathing had slowed and he had gone a funny shade of blue.
His friends decided that now might be a good time to call for an ambulance.
I arrived at the same time as the police who were there to make sure that I was safe.
One of the residents held open the main door to the tower block.
“Another fucking junkie?”, she asked, “It's a fucking crack house up there”.
We got in the lift, carefully avoiding the nasty smelling puddle in the middle of it, and I hit the button with my gloved finger.
Sure enough, if you worked in film making, and were asked to create a set based on a crack house – this is what you would come up with. Actually, as crack houses go, it wasn't too bad – there were no human faeces spread around for a start. No carpets either, which is a good thing because it's easier to spot the wet patches on lino.
To give Bob's friends some credit, they had managed to put him into the recovery position in the middle of the kitchen. Bob had either vomited, or his friends had poured some water on him. Either way there was something sticky on the floor around him.
For the second time on this job I was really glad I was wearing gloves.
His friends were both clutching cans of cheap, but strong lager. One of them was so skinny he would have made Iggy Pop look like Pavarotti. I left the police talking to them.
So Bob had decided that breathing four times a minute was quite enough for him but the blue pallor of his skin, and my training would tend to disagree with him. Bob was very nearly dead, I suspect he would soon break the first habit of his life – the habit of breathing. So I put an airway down his throat, pulled out my ambu-bag and started breathing for him.
He soon pinked up and perked up and his breathing got better, so I could stop 'bagging' him. Now I could relax a bit, and watch him while I waited for the ambulance to arrive – which wasn't long.
We moved him into the carry chair, being careful not to stab ourselves with any needles that might be lying around him (or in his clothing, his pockets, or lying underneath him). It was about now that he started to wake up.
Another life saved, although no doubt his habit will kill him one day.
It strikes me as ever so annoying that for some reason I can manage to save heroin addicts, but not 12 year old girls.