Friday, July 11, 2008

off to spain

‘Your chap’s about a thousand years old. He was the driver of a car that ran into the back of a young girl’s motor – low speed – not much damage, no airbags, nothing exciting. She’s okay and doesn’t want anything to happen particularly, but we were a bit concerned about him. Could you have a look?’
The policeman leads us over to the front seat of a battered old Hillman Imp. Sitting very correctly upright is an elderly man, who still has both hands on the steering wheel as if he expects to move off any moment. I crouch down beside him and introduce myself. He tells me his name is Mr Breedon.
‘I’m perfectly all right, you know. I don’t know what all this fuss is about. My brakes failed, is all.’
He seems strangely distant, like he’s been cast in wax and sat here in this car as some kind of display. After we’ve determined that he has no pain, no injuries and no untoward feelings anywhere, we carefully help him out of the car. He straightens and looks around him like he’s been asleep and woken up somewhere unusual.
‘Where are we going?’ he says.
‘Just to the ambulance, first of all. We want to run a few tests, see how you’re doing.’
‘I’m absolutely fine. Thank you. I just need to get going.’
‘Where are you off to?’
‘I’m picking up my wife. We’re going to Spain.’
‘Where is your wife?’
‘In care’
‘Okay. Oops. Mind yourself.’
Mr Breedon shifts his balance precariously from step to step and would fall if we were not either side of him. I lean in to catch a discrete whiff of alcohol, but all I can smell is camphor.
‘Are you feeling dizzy, Mr Breedon?’
‘Well, yes, a little. But I saw my GP yesterday and he gave me a clean bill of health.’
We help him in to the back of the vehicle. I persuade him to lie on the trolley rather than sit in a seat, even though he protests that this is all too much. Rae helps him out of his blazer and rolls up his sleeve. He rests his head back as if he’s suddenly very tired.
‘How old are you, Mr Breedon?’
‘And what’s your date of birth?’
‘5th of the 5th, nineteen twenty two.’
‘Mm. I think that makes you eighty six.’
‘Yes. That’s right. Eighty six.’
‘Do you know what day it is today?’
‘Do I know what day it is today?’
‘What day is it today, then?’
‘You tell me.’
‘Well I’d rather hear it from you.’
‘If you must.’
He shuts his eyes.
At this point, the policeman knocks on the door. Rae opens up and he looks inside.
‘How are we doing?’ he asks. ‘I just need Mr Breedon’s keys so I can move his car out of the road.’
‘Did you hear that, Mr Breedon? The policeman wants your keys.’
‘Yes. Fine. Here they are.’
He reaches into his trouser pocket, pulls out a piece of white plastic cable, and hands it to me.
‘What’s this?’
‘My car keys.’
‘I think it’s a computer modem, Mr Breedon.’
‘Is it?’
I smile at the policeman.
‘Rae, could you see if Mr Breedon’s keys are in his jacket pocket?’
She pats his jacket, locates the keys, and passes them out to the policeman.
‘Will he be going to hospital, do you think?’ he asks.
‘Oh yes, I think so. Definitely.’
‘Hospital? I can’t go to hospital. I’ve got things to do and it’s already late. I’ve got to pick up my wife and go to Spain.’

Mr Breedon seems to be running a temperature, and it’s a fair guess that with everything he tells us, his confusion and loss of balance, that he may have some kind of urinary tract infection. We make him comfortable and prepare to set off.
‘Are you visiting anyone out in Spain?’ I ask him, as Rae jumps out and slams the door to.
‘Yes. My son.’ He turns and winks at me, a procedure that seems to take a full minute. ‘But ah! He doesn’t know it yet.’


Anonymous said...

Oh dear... They say the customer is always right, and the camera never lies, but the casualty is very often wrong and not telling the truth....


cogidubnus said...

Oh a former Hilman Imp owner, he has my every fact, to have kept one of those running for so long, he certainly can't be totally non compos mentis...they expire at the slightest provocation...

Spence Kennedy said...

That's interesting - and kind of confirms the 'acute onset' diagnosis. His dress and general air of kempt-ness seemed to suggest that he was temporarily unwell rather than on some longer term slide, thank goodness.

Mary said...

cogidubnus - as a former Hillman Imp passenger I can agree and confirm that the competence of the driver is really quite low on the list of Things That Might Go Wrong.

loveinvienna said...

Lates and nights have messed my poor ole body clock around so once again I thought I'd give you a visit at 0200! ;)

UTIs (if that is what he has) can be a real problem. There is a lady at the Care Home who shows just how much of an effect they can have - 10 days ago she was confused, had difficulty mobilising and was constantly ringing her bell for small things she could've managed the week before. Now she's pratically skipping around the place (well, as far as you can skip with a frame) and chatting and joking with the Carers as usual.

We have two residents upstairs who definitely have UTIs (I dipsticked them - the leukocytes strip was so dark it was off the scale for one of them!). Not only are they confused etc etc, their other problems such as short term memory loss mean they're adamant they don't want their anti-biotics cause they've forgotten what they're for and all the explanations in the world won't change their minds. Hohum.

Hope he was ok, poor chap :)

Liv xxx
ps. I liked the main title photo before this one :)

Spence Kennedy said...

UTIs do have an amazing impact - must read up a bit more about them to find out why!
Sympathise about the body clock thing. I'm just off a night shift and I'm staggering around like a zombie in snow shoes.
D'oh - I spent ages working up a new title image. That last one I thought was too fussy; I thought this one might look a bit like a gritty graphic novel (kinda). I'll stick with it a while - but it is quite fun messing around with stuff like that.