More on the last post – a new memo has appeared on the notice board that boils down to 'if you have swineflu, the advice is to not come in to work, it will be counted as an absence' – which to be fair is only reasonable. After all the coughing pig death virus is a fairly mild flu – and we don't have special circumstances for normal 'flu.
The job was sent to us as 'man – bitten by dog two days ago' which figures high on the 'rolling your eyes' scale, but not too high on the 'completely unexpected' chart. What was unusual was that in the special instructions part of the dispatch notes was that the patient needed to police to look after his dog.
When a job like this comes down the wire it is only traditional to share the news with any other ambulance personnel within earshot. It's a game of one-upmanship that we play with each other, seeing who can get the most ridiculous call.
“Hold up”, one of my station mates says, “what address is that?”
I tell him.
“You'd better take the police along with you, I was listening to them talking about that patient yesterday – he's apparently violent”.
I could see that he wasn't joking.
As the job was obviously not going to be anything too serious we decided to ask for the police to arrive, after all the patient had asked for the police himself to look after his dog.
We were waiting only a few minutes before two response officers and a dog handler arrived. The dog handler got the kit out of his car – a loop on a stick and a fire extinguisher.
Fully prepared we approached the front door and rang the bell.
“Come on in”, said the man who opened the door – a man with obvious alcoholism and mental health problems*.
We entered to be greeted by what is perhaps the most energetic dog I've ever met.
This dog, that apparently needed the police to look after, ran over to my crewmate looked her square in the eye and rolled over to have his belly rubbed.
My crewmate and I are both dog lovers and when we get to a job where a dog is loose whoever isn't dealing with the patient is normally found playing with the dog.
And that is what happened – while I tried to persuade the patient that, no, his finger wasn't going to drop off, my crewmate sat playing with the dog while the police, seeing that we were fine, disappeared off to their next job.
A bit of a waste of all those resources, but what can you do except shrug and keep going?
*Don't ask – after a while you start to develop an 'eye' for such things.