Betting Shops

I know on Thursday I told you about having a rapid wager with my crewmate about which way a drunk would fall, but I don’t want to give you the wrong idea.

I think betting is silly.

I have no idea how to work out any odds other than ‘X to 1’ (where the larger ‘X’ gets the more unlikely something is going to happen).  ‘Odds of 11/7’, ‘each way’, ‘accumulators’ and ‘handicap’ make no sense to me at all.  Since childhood the betting shop has always seemed to me to be a seedy place where hard drinking, and hard smoking, men flush their money down the toilet.  Not somewhere I would ever visit.  In fact I’d rather visit a sex-shop, which as at least one of my readers will know, is a tricky proposition.

Occasionally I do find myself, due to the duties of my job, frequenting these dens of vice.  And to be honest most of them aren’t that bad.  The most common reason why I am sent to these places is because someone has passed out in the toilets due to drugs, or less commonly, drink.  For some reason betting shop toilets seem to be really popular places to take drugs.

Don’t ask me why.

These jobs are fairly rare, so I was surprised to find myself called to betting shops on two separate jobs in one day.  Even more surprising was that neither of these jobs were junkie related.

The first job was to a fifty year old male who had collapsed, and when we arrived the FRU driver was looking a bit concerned.  The patient was as white as a sheet and not talking, we were all worried that he was going to die while in the shop, so we quickly loaded him into our chair and removed him to the ambulance.

While trying to do this, every other user of the betting shop continued around us without batting an eyelid.  Normally we’d get a bit of an audience, but not so in this case.  At one point a man ‘tutted’ me because I was standing between him and some vitally important bit of paper on the wall.

I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to guess my reply to that.

As soon as the patient was in the ambulance he started to come around.  All of our investigations showed nothing unusual, so we concluded that it was just a ‘simple’ faint, if a slightly prolonged one.  Once he had fully recovered he was a fairly nice man to talk to, and we took him to hospital for a few more tests.

The second job to a betting shop was for a sixty year old male who was having a critically low blood sugar.  He was a diabetic, and when we arrived was rooted to his stool watching the horses racing on the TV screens.  His wife was starting to get frantic at his refusal to talk.

We checked his blood sugar (it was very low at 2.2 mmols), and this explained his strange behaviour.

We tried to persuade him to drink a can of coke but he refused, so we made the decision to give him an injection of Glucagon.  This drug, when injected into a muscle is often good enough to reverse a low blood sugar for a short period of time.  The plan was to get his blood sugar high enough that he would come out of his confusion for long enough that we could get some sugar in him.

That was the plan at least.

Instead, we just gave him enough strength to start fighting us, his wife and the nice betting shop lady who threatened to ban him if he didn't do ‘what the nice ambulance people told him to do’.

In an effort to get him into the ambulance, we ended up wrestling with him in the street.  It’s a bit strange to be physically restraining a pensioner while trying to (a) not hurt him, and (b) not look like a bully, even though he is a good couple of inches taller than me.

Then a police car drove past us.

They did a U-turn in the middle of the road and pulled up in front of our ambulance.

A couple of police officers got out and helped us persuade the patient to get into the ambulance where we could finally get the patient to drink the can of coke we gave him.  Sometimes it just needs a couple of big men in black and white uniforms to get a patient to do what you want.

This is one of many reasons why we like the police.

What didn’t help was the wife who would alternately berate her husband for poorly controlling his diabetes, and then spend time telling us that she was a devout Christian.

Thankfully the coke did the trick and the patient made a full recovery – we left him and his wife in the nearby cafe getting something more substantial than a can of coke and a Mars bar.

Two ‘good jobs’, and not a trace of drink or drugs on them.

Makes a nice change.

9 thoughts on “Betting Shops”

  1. Should “Ill leave it to you, dear reader, to guess my reply to that.” be read as 'my reply is too rude to be posted on a upstanding blog like this one' 😀

  2. my sister works in a betting shop, and the view she gets is a bit different. This town doesn't have a massive drugs problem so maybe we miss out that bit, although you're right about the hard-smoking part. It's the bit of her job she hates the most, after the boredom (gambling holds no interest for her whatsoever).But apparently most of the regular customers in her shop are blokes aged 50+, who often will spend as much on cups of tea as on their bets. If they pop out to the newsagent they ask her if she wants anything. If they have a “big” win (20 or whatever) they buy a box of chocolate to share with the staff and other customers.

    From what we can guess, it's basically a social club for retired men, possibly who like the idea of doing something their wives wouldn't approve of.

  3. I work in a betting shop too (part time, while I'm a student). When I started last April, I had a lot of preconceptions, and pretty much none of them were true. Yes, some of our customers are certainly hard drinking (in fact, most of our shops are situated next door to a pub!), but about ninety percent of them have stopped smoking at the counter since the signs went up. It's true that people are rarely, if ever, going to win more than they spend, and certainly some people have a problem. But most of our regulars appear to have a system, eg they bet on the same horses every time, and appear to limit themselves to a certain amount – or at least, not to be spending more than they can afford. After a while you can tell the ones with a problem, because they tend to get abusive when they lose. For most people though, I think it's just a hobby. After all, you pay to (for example) go to the cinema, and you will never get that money back – gambling is just another way of paying for your entertainment (provided you don't expect your money back – that's just an added bonus). And as Batsgirl said, you get nice regulars too – the ones who bring you a biscuit or a bar of chocolate every day, or who turn up out of the blue with donuts and say “do you want one?” (Yes please, thank you very much!)I can explain all the betting terms except “handicap” (that's more of a race-course than a betting shop thing) if you want. I guess you're not that interested though and I don't blame you! 🙂

  4. Ah, the old hypoglycaemic ninja powers work every time against you mere mortals with your puny insulin-producing endocrine systems.Insulin-dependent diabetes means I've woken up in A&E many times as a result of low blood sugar, usually fighting the medical staff tooth and nail as they try to treat me. Apparently it once took six people to hold me down for a glucagon injection … I seem to remember hallucinating that I was in hell and the doctors were white-coated zombies driving hot nails into my hands. So please don't complain too bitterly when a diabetic patient with 0.1 mmol/litre of blood sugar gets a little agitated – most likely he/she is (a) frightened out of his/her tiny mind and/or (b) totally unaware of his/her actions

  5. You know – I never complain about hypo diabetics because I know that it's not their fault. I treat drunks who try to hit me in a different way to hypos who try and hit me.After the patient had recovered he was very apologetic – my crewmate and I kept telling him that we didn't mind, and that it wasn't his fault.

    Trust me – if he had just been 'bad' we wouldn't have had much problem forcing him into the ambulance – but we were trying to do so without hurting him.

    Hypo's are my favourite job, because we can actually 'cure' something.

  6. I've learnt a bit more about betting shops from this post. Still a bit young to visit, but doubt I will be poping in, as have other means of entertainment.Tom, do you always carry cans of coke in the van for situations like this?

  7. Nope, we don't carry cans of coke – we carry 'hypostop' which is a sugar gel. And a not very tasty one at that.The can of coke was provided by the betting shop, along with the mars bar.

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