We’re sitting in the rec room. One of the older paramedics has got on to the subject of elderly drivers and their adventures in automatics.
‘I remember we went to this job,’ he says. ‘An elderly couple, just back from the shops. His wife gets out and goes to unlock, the husband puts the car in reverse to put it away in the garage. But something happens – who knows what – his foot gets stuck or something. Anyway, the car shoots back, crashes through the garage door, out through the garage wall, ploughs across the garden, through a washing line, the flower beds, on through a brick wall and out into the street behind where it smashes into a passing van. When we get there the guy is still in the driver’s seat looking a bit shaken up but not too bad, considering. He mentions about his wife, but there’s no sign of her. So we put him on a back board and get him on the ambulance. After a little while there’s a knock on the door and there’s a firefighter standing there. “You’d better come and look at this” he says. So I leave the guy with my mate and I follow him back over to the car. The firefighter points to it and says “Have a good look under there, mate, and tell me what you see.” Well there’s a ton of shit like you might expect – rubble, soil from the garden, a rose bush, all sorts. And then I notice a pink slipper. “Can you figure it out yet?” he says. And that’s when I realised what it was – the guy’s wife was wrapped up under the car, her legs over here… her arms over there… but so caught up in everything you could hardly tell it was a person at all.’
I lean forward in my chair. ‘Was she all right, then?’
‘Of course she wasn’t all right!’ snorts Earle, a new paramedic, boots up on a stool, the labels still stuck on the soles. ‘She’s just been run over by a car, mate! What do you think?’
A pause, and then Frank stands up and saves me with his mug.
‘Anyone for tea?’ he says.