A middle-aged figure in denim opens the door to us. There is a rough, buzz-cut angularity to him, as if someone tried to fashion a man out of a block of wood with a chain saw.
‘Shall we have a chat inside for a moment?’ I ask him.
‘Well I’m out now,’ he says. ‘But I’ll sit on the steps if you like.’ He gingerly lowers himself down onto the mosaic tiles. ‘I might not get up again, though. Oof. I want a piss so bad my teeth are floating.’
‘So what’s been happening, Mr Coates.’
He unsnaps the top button of his jeans and shifts uncomfortably.
‘I’ve been passing blood in my piss,’ he says. ‘It’s happened before. Always after sex.’
‘Is your doctor aware?’
‘Oh, yeah. I told her about it four years ago. I’ve had all the tests and dips and whatnot and she’s still not sure. I think I know, though. I had this hernia repair a while ago and I think there’s scar tissue inside. I think when I have rough sex...’ he rocks backwards and forwards on the step with his right arm out in front, a goaty-little mime, something like a galloping jockey, ‘... and all that banging away shakes down a clot or two. And they come out in my piss.’
Frank leans against the balustrade, folds his arms and looks off across the green. With the late afternoon light falling across him like this, he’s the very model of civic forbearance.
‘So why’ve you called us now, Mr Coates?’
‘I can’t piss. I went in the early hours, but only a dribble. And now I’m totally blocked. I think a really big clot must’ve come down and blocked off my pipe.’
Frank looks at me and smiles.
Mr Coates carries on.
‘Not surprised though. I hadn’t had a shag since Christmas and I think I overdid it last night. You know...’
He performs his mime again.
People hurry past in the street.
‘I shouldn’t do that,’ says Mr Coates, grimacing. ‘I might explode. But you get the picture. The other thing I should tell you is if I don’t eat every four hours I can go off.’
‘What do you mean, “go off”? Are you diabetic?’
‘No. Just a high metabolism. But if I don’t have anything to eat I’m liable to collapse.’
‘When did you last eat?’
‘Twelve hours ago.’
‘And why was that?’
The man snorts.
Frank shakes his head.
‘Well,’ says Mr Coates. ‘I had more important things on my mind, didn’t I?’
And he illustrates quite succinctly what they were.
Now a cruel type might well have taken him into hospital and made sure that all sorts of things were inserted to "clear out the clots" but I'm sure you and Frank aren't like that Spence.
Let me do you a little mime.
I really like your blog, its very emotive, real stories, real people. I have a blog about emergency services too. Please comment or write a post for us. Thanks !
Thanks v much, Alia.
I checked out HE - looks good. I'll revisit and comment now and again (but don't hold your breath - anyone'll tell you I'm a useless correspondent).
Please do comment when you get time! Anyway do you think you could write a couple of paragraphs on how you trained to be an EMT? I know this is a big ask but please let me know if you would. It would be great. You could email me plus a couple of pictures of yourself and you could get more traffic for you own site as a result ! Anyway let me know :) ( If you did write something it would have to be by the end of April) It's a big ask but it would be great.
You obviously write very well and we would love to have something from you :)
I'm still amazed that anyone would call the ambulance because they can't pee! Do the dispatchers have to send one out to every call?
Imagine if you could assign punishments to resource wasters...this one would be scrubbing toilets. ;)
Thx Alia (or is it Ali?)
I'll have a think about it, but it wouldn't be before April, unfortunately, what with one thing and another.
tpals - He could easily have taken himself up to hospital (did need to go as he was in urine retention), but I think for a lot of people hospital equals ambulance, or something like that. I think as a country we need to start teaching basic first aid at school from an early age - and along with CPR, the appropriate use of an ambulance! The benefits will take a while to roll-out, but we need to make a start, at least.
Hope everything's good with you, tpals. :)
I've been reading you for yonks now and I love all of your stuff, but this one is just effin' brilliant!
Thanks v much Elaine!
I must admit that 'teeth floating' description was one of the grimmest I've heard... :/
Just out of curiosity what do you consider "middle aged"?
Well ... I'd say around forty? But that's just counting the rings.
That age puts a different picture in my head. Thanks.
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