Monday, February 07, 2011

a day out

Cal and Lenny have just returned from a long and complicated job and look about finished for the day. Cal grunts and shuffles off to the kitchen; Lenny throws himself down in a chair, his legs flying up to come crashing back down onto the expertly timed, flick-up foot extension. He looks like the marionette of a grizzled wild west lawman, chucked back in the box after a showdown.
‘Well that was fun,’ he says.
Cal and Lenny have about a million years of service between them. They joined the ambulance service sometime after the last ice age but before Kennedy was shot. Together they’ve stepped out of a hundred makes of ambulance onto a hundred thousand scenes – every conceivable variety of tragedy and triumph, every kind of weather, all hours of the day and night. Their long years of work weigh in their faces, but they carry their experience well, as if the best and the worst has blown itself out now, and all they really need is somewhere warm and comfortable to put their boots.
‘What happened then, Lenny? I heard you had to come back for the bariatric truck.’
‘The guy was big. I mean phenomenal. Seriously. It was incredible. Forty stone and he collapses on the toilet – a tiny little shitter he must have to grease himself to fit. So then the fire brigade arrives. They take the door off, then a wall and window so we can get him onto this special lifting canvas and out with a cherry picker. Six of them, two of us, and even then it’s touch and go. So we get him down to the truck. You know the specially wide trolley? Well that almost gives up. Creaking and groaning. The hoist practically burns itself out dragging him on board. And then driving to the hospital – well, we were so low I thought I was back home, ploughing. But we get him to hospital, and there’s a team of porters standing by, and we rope them all up like huskies, heaving and dragging to get the poor sod inside. Cal was cracking the whip. Get on there! Come on! So then we get him inside and the charge nurse has to discharge about a dozen patients to make room. And then the doctors all come and have a butchers. Mm, they say. He’s going to need a CT scan. But he won’t fit through the hole, and anyway we’d never get him on the table. I know, says one. We’ll send him over the zoo. They’ve got a really big scanner there for the elephants. It’s okay. I’ve seen it done before. And he’s on the phone arranging it when the guy arrests, and that was it – game over. So he never got his day out at the zoo after all.’
Cal comes back into the room with two cups of coffee. He hands one to Lenny, then walks slowly over to a chair and lowers himself gently down into it.
‘The zoo!’ says Lenny, his eyes sparkling through the wisps of steam from his coffee. Then he settles back in the chair, and the two of them drink in silence.


Headstrong said...

This is great! (Not the morbid obesity and death, but the description of the Cal and Lenny). I could see them sitting there in my mind's eye. Thanks for sharing - this and all your stories!

Alan said...

This was just what I needed to read after a long day with a dizzy head. I haven't read a bad post here yet, and look forward to each and every one.

Felicia said...

i enjoy reading your stories... thank you so much for sharing

Molly Jones! said...

This made my entire day. "The zoo!"

BB said...

Sad story but well written.

Tom Hakkinen said...

Is it wrong to laugh about someone carking it? The zoo??? I couldn't help but laugh at that one! I can see why Cal and Lenny thought it some day.

Spence Kennedy said...

Headstrong - Thanks v much. Cal and Lenny are easy to write about 'cos they're such interesting characters. I must get some more stories out of them!
BTW - I did have to edit Cal quite a bit - every other word is a ***

Alan - Cheers! It's quite an inducement to think there's a few people expecting another post.

1peebrain - You're welcome!

MJ - I know - the zoo! It's incredible.

BB - It is a sad story. The complications and logistics that follow on from such an extreme weight problem are truly awful.

AK - I think it's like many tragic stories - there's an element of comedy in there, too. Another bizarre story in Cal and Lenny's long collection!


Thanks for all your comments. :)

jacksofbuxton said...

Would you have needed to contact Eddie Stobbart to get him down there?

Spence Kennedy said...

I don't suppose it'll be long before the big hauliers are contracted out for some of the work. As it is, I think we should be at least sponsored by some big corporations - I can just see me driving a MacAmbulance.

Jane Brideson said...

I gasped when I read this - the zoo!
It must be hard to treat people when they are so obese let alone transport them.
Cal and Lenny sound great - bet they have many a tale to tell. Was Lenny shot whilst on duty?

Unknown said...

Great story. Cal and Lenny are interesting just sipping their coffee.

I wonder if the plus-sized gentleman simply died of embarrassment. Well, the complications due to extreme obesity AND embarrassment.

Spence Kennedy said...

Jane - It makes life so much harder. At the very least, it introduces long delays just at the time when you can least afford them. So many problems!
Lenny would look great in a sheriff's outfit. He'd clean up Dodge City and still be back for lunch.

Nari - I can't imagine how embarrassing it must be to have that level of attention. But then he was so ill he wouldn't have noticed. It must make life almost impossible when you get to that size. :/

The Real Housewife of Greensboro said...

Wow that makes me feel guilty about eating Chinese food this late. LOL It's horrible though that he passed away. I mean how does a person get that big? I'm a big girl but I think that in order for me to get that big, I would have to stop cleaning, working, etc... That's just sad.

Spence Kennedy said...

Don't worry about it, RHG. Getting zoo-big requires some dedicated eating. I think the equation to avoid the elephant house scanner is calories in = work out :/

Unknown said...

Very sad and degrading for the gentleman involved, but it found it so funny in the description....especially about the grease! could we have more tales from lenny n cal please?

Spence Kennedy said...

It'd be great to have more from them. I love what they represent - such a wealth of experience, the grizzled veterans.