Two Sides Of The Coin

It's a small pleasure we take in our patients sometimes, take one lady. She's in her eighties and originally from India, during the day she felt dizzy and fell to the floor. By the time that we'd arrived the next door neighbour had picked her up and sat her in the kitchen.

She greeted us politely and we all started to have a little chat, the thing that brought warmth to the cold hard nugget of coal that was my heart was that when she laughed she giggled like a schoolgirl. A laugh of that 'age' means a life well lived.

On the other hand I find that, in the words of a certain Mr John Lydon, 'anger is an energy'.

Another old woman, with us called by one of the 'carers' who visit he four times a day in order to clean her and her house.

The first thing that the carer did was complain about how long the ambulance had taken (half an hour, it wasn't a priority call), she told me that she had been there for an hour and a half.

…and for that hour and a half the patient had been left swimming in a bed full of piss.

The room stank, it stank of ammonia and it stank of flesh slowly being burned in ammonia.

No attempt had been made to clean her, nor change her clothes. We were instead 'ordered' by the carer to take the patient to the hospital.

My crewmate interrupted my discussion with the 'carer' because she could see the direction that it was suddenly taking…

(Methinks it's good for my career to work with people like this, while making crap 'carers' break down in tears is good for my sanity it isn't that helpful for the patient).

So we cleaned the patient and put her into a new dress, which took all of three minutes, and took her to hospital for her very minor injury.

Then it was time to turn all that anger into making sure that our patient was referred to the proper social services department. Which made me feel much better.

Oh yes.

Although I may have pushed a little too heavily on the paper in some parts.

6 thoughts on “Two Sides Of The Coin”

  1. I do not blame you at all. It's outrageous the way some elderly people are treated in this country. If that was a child or a cute fluffy puppy, the chances of that happening would be considerably less. It's infuriating that people seem to think it is acceptable to neglect older people. Especially those who are supposed to be responsible for their care. I would have got through several biros….

  2. Oh god! I know that feeling! I work in ultrasound where we have quite a few outpatients. The bit I love is when an extremely well dressed, wealthy looking couple turn up with their dear old dad who looks like he hasn't been fed properly in weeks, has holes in his shoes and socks and is in a pair of longjohns that appear to be brown but are in fact white but stained with urine and other not so pleasant substances. This is how they treat their family! Not even some stranger they don't even know.Or the strapping 6'4″ man who turns up with his immobile mother and proceeds to piss off to get himself a cup of tea…..”Its okay dear, ill lift her myself shall I!?” Sorry! Having a “poor me” day;)

  3. A tragic scenario that gets played out everyday – I think the underlying dynamics are:* it's a job that very few people want [caring for elderly]

    * it has ZERO social status.

    * pay is even worse than that of yer average EMT.

    * even some families won't care for their own.

    I'm the first to admit it's a job I would be unable to do, day in day out [I still shudder at the deprivation in some of the homes I went into when I was on “the district”].

    I honestly doubt if the stink of piss would rank as a major concern with Social Services [providing there is a roof, food and heating] – a social worker might be able to organise an improved “care package”, but in reality choice sometimes amount to little more than the least worst provider [rather than a gold star service].

    All terribly depressing ?

  4. If it was a puppy, then the RSPCA would have the “carer” prosecuted in a flash. Somehow I can't see the same thing happening here.

  5. The most misnamed profession, that of 'carer' because they often don't!The ones that get to me the most are the ones who proudly announce that they have a 'no lift policy and as such we call for an ambulance to get someone to lift for us'

    Yes and what about our crews bloody backs and the fact they could be on a call which might save someones life rather than assisting a person YOU are responsible and is in no immediate danger!?

    There's my rant for the day

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