Wednesday, April 08, 2015

help arrives

There are six people round the figure in the recovery position at the bus stop, arranged in height order, from the woman crouching at the head, the two kneeling along the back, one leaning over at the hips, and two standing guard at the feet. When I climb out of the response car, their faces turn together to point in my direction. It’s such a definite move it almost makes me stop in my tracks. All it needs is some Dutch master to paint the scene. And call it: Help Arrives.
‘I’m a doctor,’ says the young woman crouching at the head-end.
‘We’re pharmacists says the next, nodding to her right and left.
‘I’m an undercover police officer,’ says one of the serious-looking guys at the feet. He pulls out a police baseball cap and puts it on.
‘And so am I,’ says his colleague. If he has a cap, he leaves it off.
They all deliver the next lines, overlapping and anticipating each other. I listen to it all whilst I crouch beside the doctor, my hand at the patient’s wrist for want of anything else to do.
‘...we were passing when we saw him slide off the bench...’
‘...not an injurious fall...’
‘...he appeared to suffer a generalised seizure...’
‘...which lasted approximately two minutes...’
‘...good colour throughout...’
‘...perhaps a little congested...’
‘....definitely not cyanotic...’
‘...we guided him through that and then put him in the recovery position...’
‘... no signs of incontinence. We think the dampness is alcohol...’
‘...GCS no better than fourteen...’
‘....He’s known to the police. Usually wears one of those rugby-type caps. I’ve got his name and address when you’re ready...’
‘...He’s a user. I think the fits are alcohol related...’
‘...Perhaps you’d like to do a blood sugar...?
I get the kit out, and a bottle of oxygen and mask.
‘Could you put that on whilst I jab his finger?’
‘...allow me...’
‘I’ll call for a truck. He needs somewhere private to do more of an exam.’
‘...of course.’
‘Blood sugar five point four. So that’s good.’
‘That is good.’
They watch me as I radio for back-up.
‘Shouldn’t be long,’ I tell them.
‘...well you were pretty quick...’
‘Don’t get used to it!’ I say. They laugh. There’s a lull.
‘Well I must say - it’s pretty handy, having you lot on scene,’ I tell them, to make conversation if nothing else. ‘I’ll be okay here now if you need to get off.’
‘...we should really be going...’
‘...we’re at a health conference...’
‘...just down the road...’
‘ the conference centre...’
The two police officers look more circumspect.
‘...ahm... we just happened to be passing....’
‘...we were.. ahm... on our way to work...’
I nod appreciatively. Give the patient another pinch. He moans, but he seems pretty stable.
I can hear sirens in the distance. A moment later, an ambulance negotiates the intersection and parks up behind my car.
‘Thanks for your help,’ I tell the group, looking from person to person. ‘You’ve been amazing.’
‘...glad to help...’
‘ as usual, really...’
‘...a bit of excitement to get the juices flowing...’
‘...better than tea and biscuits...’

I turn to wave at the two paramedics strolling up onto the pavement in my direction; when I look back, I’m surprised to find that the good Samaritans have already dispersed, fluidly and anonymously, into the early morning crowd.


Crimson Ebolg said...

Almost as if they were never really there in the first place? (Dun dun dun!) Great story, Spence!

Spence Kennedy said...

It was all suspiciously perfect - so I wonder if I did imagine it? I've never had such a useful & informative bunch of bystanders!

Thanks very much for the comment, Crimson. Hope all's good with you today. :)

Alan said...

Love this one Spence!

petrolhead said...

Wow, a real dream scenario! All you needed was a nurse and you'd have the full set!

Hope you're well, Spence.

Spence Kennedy said...

Cheers Alan!

Hi PH - It was quite dreamlike. It reminded me of that scene in The Truman Show when the disguise drops and all the passers-by suddenly start working together.

Thanks for the comments!

jacksofbuxton said...

As you know Spence,teachers are assessed by OFSTED.Wonder if this was the NHS version?OFPARA?

Spence Kennedy said...

You had me worried for a minute, there, Jack - until I remembered how organised and helpful they were, which reassured me it couldn't be anything to do with the government...