Margaret trips and falls in the street. A couple help her into a sitting position, and whilst the woman cleans up her face with some tissues, the man calls for an ambulance.
Margaret isn’t too bad. She has a small laceration above her right eye, some general nicks and scrapes, but all in all seems to have weathered the accident pretty well. She stands and walks with confidence, and whilst it’s true she has a distracting injury, she has no significant pain, no neurological deficit, so we’re happy not to immobilise.
‘We still need to take you to A&E for a proper clean-up and to keep an eye on you the rest of the afternoon,’ I tell her.
She’s happy with that. She’d finished her shopping. I mean dash it all, at ninety-four she’s old enough to recognise what’s important and what’s not.
At the hospital Niall, the rockabilly Charge Nurse, writes down another set of obs. Margaret’s blood pressure has gone up, and there’s even a suggestion her right pupil’s bigger than her left.
‘Have they always been different sizes?’ he asks her.
‘No one’s mentioned it,’ she says.
‘Do you have a headache at all?’
‘Blurred vision? Nausea?’
‘Not a thing. It’s all just a bit of a nuisance, really.’
Niall writes down her temperature, frowns, clicks his pen.
‘And she’s been GCS fifteen the whole time?’ he asks me.
‘Absolutely. We’ve had a good ol’ chat.’
‘Hmm,’ he says, then squats down and rests his hand on Margaret’s.
‘Can you tell me what year it is?’ he says.
‘Yes. What year are we in now?’
She stares at him, opens her mouth a little, closes it again, gives her head a little shake.
‘What year? Well now – let’s think.’
After a little pause she looks at him again.
‘Nineteen fifty-eight,’ she says.
‘Okay. It’s actually two thousand and fourteen,’ he says, patting her hand, then standing up again.
Rae unwraps the cuff from Margaret’s arm.
‘Your haircut’s confusing her,’ she says.