Wow, loads of people editing the holiday wiki – many thanks for all the ideas although if I were to take them all on it'd take me a year to see it all.
I've seen my future, well it'll be my future if I'm lucky and don't drop dead in my 50's.
It was a lovely day, one of the first sunny days we'd had all year and our patients were obviously riffing off the change in the weather, everyone was being really nice.
We were sent on a 'green' job, essentially a transport job with no blue lights or sirens. We were to pick up an elderly man from his flat and run him into hospital. No emergency, no stress, no worries.
One of his neighbours in the block held a key to his flat, so we opened the door and announced ourselves. The interior of the flat was grimy. Junk mail and bills spread on every flat surface. Underpants were hanging over the bath, and a few empty cans of beans spilled over the bin onto the floor. Sepia photographs lined the walls, men in army uniforms, women with babies in arm looking stern.
The reason for the flat being in this state was because of the patient's heart failure, it had caused the lower half of his body to swell up with retained water. He couldn't move around the flat, he was pretty much stuck in his chair, watching the horse-racing on a tiny television.
We had a chat with him, he'd lived in the area all his life, seen his family grow up and move away. He'd seen the population of the area change from English people to Afro-Carribean people to Bangladeshi people, he didn't seem upset by this. He'd only moved house once, when they knocked down where he'd been born and put up this block of flats in it's place.
The only person he saw was the woman who held his key, she hadn't been to visit for some time as she couldn't stand the state of the flat.
We talked about different subjects, from football to politics, the odd joke and the odd tale. We drove him to hospital – none of our medical skills were needed but it still felt like we had used our expertise to put him at ease.
He seemed sad to be wheeled into the A&E department. It was as we went to leave him that he turned to us and with moist eyes said, “Thank you for the company, it's a shame you can't stay with me”.
It upset me to leave him there, we had probably been the first human beings that he'd spoken to in quite some time. He'd been living out of that chair for some months. We were company to him for that short time and now he was probably going to become another meat parcel passing through the hospital system.
Hopefully the nurses on the ward will have the time to sit and chat with him, maybe they can refer him to the social services and they might try to place him in a residential home. I think that the company he'd have there would do him a lot of good.