Saturday, November 12, 2011

basic obs

We had found Rachel collapsed in a shop doorway, her legs folded beneath her in an uncomfortable, zigzag way, like something heavy had been dropped on her shoulders. She was moaning softly, rocking backwards and forwards, pushing her face into her hands, her long black hair hanging straight down so I had to hook it aside to look at her. Once we had Rachel on board the ambulance the extent of her distress became clear: extremely high blood pressure, a searing, left-sided headache that travelled back into her neck, numbness in her extremities, visual disturbance. We made her as comfortable as we could and rushed her in.

***

At the hospital a little later, Caroline, one of the nurses, walks out of the department to have a cigarette. Seeing us leaning up against the railings, she pauses to light it, takes a long pull, then comes over to join us.
‘So,’ she says, leaning back, draping her left arm across her stomach to support the elbow of the right. ‘At what point did you find out Rachel was a transsexual?’
‘So she is! I thought she was. But I wasn’t a hundred percent certain, and it’s not the kind of thing you want to get wrong. It was all such a rush.’
Caroline nods and taps off some ash.
‘Take it from me. Transsexual.’
She blows out more smoke and obliterates the moon.
‘Was it a bleed?’
‘Sub-arachnoid.’
‘Bad?’
‘Bad enough. But I’ve seen worse. They’re taking her up to neuro in a minute.’
She leans forwards, laughs suddenly, then settles back down against the railings. She smokes hungrily; the cigarette crackles. Another ambulance rolls up the slope. It flashes its lights at us.
‘At least you’ve got the excuse it was dark,’ she says. ‘I had no idea, even when I was doing the ECG. I said “Is there any chance you might be pregnant?” “It’s unlikely” she said. Then she pulled her gown up and showed me her penis. “Oh” I said. “I think you’re probably right” But honestly – apart from the package, you’d never have guessed.’
She flicks her stub away in the direction of the oxygen stack.
‘And I’ll see you girls later,’ she says, and strides back inside.

16 comments:

Charmaine S said...

Hmm, that's pretty awkward!

Spence said...

I think it was more awkward for the nurse - but then, if I was a transsexual, I think I'd be pleased they thought I was a woman (though of course it's worth bearing in mind that poor Rachel was so ill she probably couldn't care less what anyone thought about anything)

Baglady said...

Brilliant, as ever. Love the description of how she was folded - so easy to visualise.

Spence said...

Thanks v much BL! Great to hear from you. Hope all's good with you & yours :)

jacksofbuxton said...

Could have been quite embarrassing Spence.I once said "excuse me Sir" to a gentleman I wanted top get past in a pub,she turned and smiled at me.Hmmmm

Lovely read Spence,as always.

Spence said...

Sometimes it's just too difficult to tell. I think I'd need a lot of work to be convincing as a woman, though. Farmer's hands / galumphing adam's apple / big footed laugh (not selling myself particularly, but you get the picture).

Nari said...

Unless we all wear signs, mistakes will be made. Come to think of it, the signs wouldn't be very helpful either, depending on the individual situation, it could be rather tedious to have to read through all the specifics involved.

We're better off making a mistake every once in a while as long as we don't have to waste time on any un-needed pregnancy tests.

Anonymous said...

Aeons ago, met one of these when I was a Special. Sergeant called me to counter cos I spoke a little French. French bloke come to England for surgery to turn him to her. Wearing skirt etc but a bump where he didn't want one. Not sure how I kept a straight face as I translated for the sergeant. He/she had forgotten which hotel he/she was staying at.......called a cab: asked driver to take "her" to French Embassy for their help. Won't repeat what the driver said.

Spence said...

Nari - Maybe it'd be easier if we all came with a leaflet we could hand out. But I don't suppose it'll be long before we're all barcoded on the forehead :)

Anon - I'm so jealous you speak French. I could just about order a beer, let alone sort out a diff situation like that :)

Carla Humphreys said...

Great writing yet again mate.
Few years ago I worked in a chippy, well this particular shift it was my turn in the kitchen, of course, absolute radio was on. I walks up the corridor singing the aerosmith song loudly, dude looks like a lady, and the boss cones running in the corridor telling me not to be so insensitive..... Uhhh????
At the serving counter was a very badly dressed transsexual man with a blonde wig, make-up, nail vanish on his shitshovel sized hands.... opps. Good on him to have the balls to come out like it mind. He turned out to b a regular and always laughed at me. :(

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks Carla.
Love that story! It's so easy to do stuff like that. I'm sure I did something similar recently but can't bring it to mind just yet - I'll tell you if I remember.
Saw Aerosmith at Wembley once. Really excellent - Joe Perry esp.

Carla Humphreys said...

Size 10`s!!! Hope you remember soon, can't wait to hear your story.
Having seen aerosmith yet, one day hopefully. Saw Roger waters the wall last year at Wembley. Absolutely fantastic! My son who came with me, was on crutches after a rugby injury to his ankle, climbing that hill to the stadium was so painful for him bless him. Blisters on his hands from the crutches. Ouch... but pf are doing a wish you were here tour this year so hopefully we can make it with out crutches this time! :)

Spence Kennedy said...

Should be an epic show - and so much better off crutches (yr son, not RW).
Gotta love the Floyd (esp DG - another great guitarist).

Carla Humphreys said...

I'm hoping so... I've heard Mr Gilmore does a better show and uses lazer lights! I'll let you know if they come to UK. :)

Spence Kennedy said...

Thx, Carla. I should see them at least once - DSOTM was the first album I ever bought!

Carla Humphreys said...

Well they are get to g on a bit so I reckon you ought to this time. I used to be quite artistic and drew dsotm on my bedroom wall, 5x4ft, mum wasn't to happy mind lol. I also drew it for my daughter's room few years ago, looked great as the room was black and red. (Her choice).. time is my fave on that album and the words are so true!!!