Warning – written after 26 hours of not sleeping.
I heard a great story last night, it had my crewmate, my patient and myself in fits of laughter.
We were called to a patient I've been to previously, they are a nice family and the patient is lovely, unfortunately the patient has a long list of medical problems and needs an electric wheelchair to get around. He had been taken ill and, after a four hour wait, had finally got me to pick him up.
He was in his bed and we would use our carry chair to get him out of the house. First though we needed to move the patient's own electric wheelchair. Now I'm experienced enough to know that I really shouldn't touch these things because I'll only end up breaking them, so we called for the patient's son to come and move it.
He tried moving it by standing next to it, but the patient said something to him in his own language and the son climbed into the wheelchair and steered it away.
As he did this he told us the story of having to take the wheelchair to the hospital on his fathers previous visit.
You see it's hard to stand next to a wheelchair to steer it via the joystick, so he climbed in it a rode it to the bus stop.
The problem was that there was a load of people standing waiting for the bus watching him.
So he felt too embarrassed to climb out – it would look a bit…well…'funny'.
So the bus came and the bystanders helped him get on it, then they helped him get off at the other end of his journey. He even gave them a wave of thanks as the bus pulled away.
The son told this story so well we were nearly wetting ourselves with laughter, his animated demonstration of the wave at the end was a sheer brilliant flourish.
Even the father had a (slightly gaptoothed) smile.
The thing that was so funny was that we could all put ourselves in his place and we couldn't really say that we wouldn't do exactly the same thing. It's like a Basil Faulty sketch, a weird playing up of not wanting to offend people and so getting yourself into a silly situation.
As I say, the patient and his family are really nice people and his son was interested in talking to me while waiting for a nurse to take our handover of the patient at the hospital. He was one of the very few people who said 'thank you' at the end of the job.
For those that are interested, blogging of BarCampLondon2 is starting over at Mental Kipple.