It was a beautiful day, early afternoon and the sun was making everything in Newham look lovely. A stationmate had been showing his young children around the back of my ambulance when we got the call.
'Male, Overdose, not breathing'.
So we whizzed around there to find two FRUs already there, we climbed three flights of stairs and entered the flat.
Disused needles everywhere, unwrapped foil, empty drink cans, and the odd lighter fuel can on the floor. Two men were agitatedly pointing at our patient on the floor. The patient wasn't breathing, so one of the FRU pilots was breathing for him with a bag and mask. The other FRU was getting venous access.
The patient had injected some heroin and then stopped breathing, it's one of the things that sometimes happens when you inject a potent dose of heroin.
I busied myself with drawing up the antidote.
“He'll be alright”, I could hear one of his friends say, “They'll give him an injection and it'll reverse it – I've seen it before”.
The other man agreed, “I've had it happen to me six times”. It was almost a badge of pride.
Antidote duly given and our patient soon woke up. He was a bit agitated and wouldn't stop talking about building things for the Olymics. We led him down to the ambulance and worked hard to persuade him to attend the hospital. One of his friends was trying to dissuade him. He wouldn't believe that the antidote ofter wears off before the heroin and it's very common for the patient to have to have a second dose.
Finally he agreed to attend the hospital and talked to me through the trip. Well, I say talk to, actually I mean he talked at me. I suspect that there may have been some amphetamines involved, he had that highly annoying behaviour.
So from a beautiful spring day, to a drug den in the space of a few minutes.
He walked out of the hospital less than half an hour later. I'm glad that they didn't have to waste too much time with him.
The next two jobs were drunk alcoholics who wanted us to take them home – we did, it's easy and it means that I don't get called back to them after they harrass another 'good Samaritan'. I do wish that they wouldn't paw at me though. It comes with the weather – if it is cold then they get drunk in their scummy hovels and we don't get bothered, if it's warm then they go out and get drunk where the public can see them. Then we get called.
What a waste.