I never knew it, but it seems that us local ambulance crews have been having a holiday!
Two of our regular attenders (both alcoholics) had disappeared, while one had been in prison. Oh, the glory of never having to go to the familiar call of ‘female fitting’ on Green Street, or the ‘Man collapsed’ at Woodgrange road.
Unfortunately it seems that with the nice weather the usual suspects have returned.
Three in particular have been particularly unwanted. One, who is possibly the most disgusting smelling man alive has reappeared from who knows where. He’ll have an ambulance called for him because he (a) Drinks too much and falls asleep in the street, and (b) Looks half dead – well…he smells half dead. He was picked up eight times in one day. I saw him as he was dropped off at hospital by the ambulance, then five minutes later he was staggering off looking for the nearest off-license.
We are a bit stuffed to be honest – people call us and we have to go to them, we have to take them to hospital because there is no other place we can take them and there is no chance of them being ‘cured’. We just have to wait until they drop dead. Then they are replaced by younger ‘up and coming’ alcoholics.
Our second caller is less smelly, although with the recent death of his landlord I don’t think that’ll last too long. He has possibly the worlds most broken nose and phones us up to let us know that a man has collapsed. If you aren’t quick getting there then he’ll sometimes wander off and you never find him – instead you
waste spend twenty minutes trawling the streets. I was sent to him the other night – I saw him standing in the public phonebox still talking to Control, so we sidled up to him. He never noticed us.
“Control”, I called up on the radio, “Is our ‘collapsed’ patient still on the phone?”
“Well, he’s the most upright collapse I’ve been to in some time…”
I don’t mind this one too much as he walks onto the back of the ambulance, sits fairly quietly while we have a chat, and then walks off the back of the ambulance at the hospital.
The final of the regulars I’m going to write about today (for have no doubt, there are many more) vanished for nearly a year. She also is particularly smelly, occasionally abusive and will call us four or five times a day. She had been living with some nuns, but the nuns got fed up with her and threw her back out on the streets.
So there you go – too annoying for nuns…
It’s sad to have people in this state, there is nothing anyone can do to help them and their lives are disappearing down the neck of a bottle of cheap cider. Sometimes I think that their whole social circle revolves around drinking, riding in ambulances and sitting in hospital waiting rooms. It also drives you crazy when you are just about to have your first cup of tea of the shift and you get sent out to them. Once or twice I’ve had to bite my tongue as I sit in the back with them while Control is desperately radioing for a free ambulance to go to a sick child.
But what can you do?
UPDATE: For those who don't read the comments, Luis Enrique has pointed me in the direction of an exceedingly interesting article by Malcolm Gladwell about an innovative way to solve the problem that my post talks about. From my view on the shop floor he has got me convinced.