Thursday, August 30, 2012

off the radar

‘So where’s Mr Bartelman?’
‘Having a shower.’
‘A shower?’
‘I know – but he couldn’t be persuaded.’
‘How did he get in the shower?’
‘Stepped in, good as gold.’
‘But he’s just spent twelve hours on the floor and had to have the police kick the door in to get him up?’
‘Yep. I know.’
It’s good news, though. Mr Bartelman is twenty-four stone and lives in a basement flat. None of us feels the need to comment on the wretchedness of that simple phrase.
The flat itself has the feel of a recent move, with cardboard boxes stacked up in alcoves and under windowsills, carrier bags of stuff lined up under tables neatly stacked with books and CDs. The strange thing – or another strange thing – is that Mr Bartelman has been living here for years.
‘Not that I can see or smell.’
‘Any medical history?’
‘Lymphodema – quite marked in his legs and arms, but other than that, nothing really. Back ache – but then I’d have back ache if I was that heavy.’
‘Mental health?’
‘Nothing written up. Man of mystery, really. Off the radar. Although he says he went to the lymph clinic a few weeks back and they dressed his legs. You should see them. He’s got these thick support stockings up to the knee right and left. It’s like he’s being sucked down into two pipes, all that flesh just squeezing down into nothing. I haven’t had a chance to cut the dressings off, but they’re way too tight. It’s a wonder his toes aren’t black.’
There’s movement in the bathroom. The sound of water being turned off, curtain rings along a pole.
‘Sorry to keep you,’ he says, steam billowing round the door.
‘Are you okay, Mr Bartelman?’
‘Yes. Fine thank you. Shan’t be a moment.’
Exactly one moment later, the bathroom door swings open and Mr Bartelman stands there, a beach towel tied round his middle. He is a vast, pink melon of a man, his arms rising up and out to the side as if they’ve been forced there by internal pressure, his head reduced to a squared detail of grizzled grey hair and beard.
‘Just need my trousers,’ he says, and lurches off into the bedroom.
‘I see what you mean about the legs. But he seems pretty mobile. And then he says he couldn’t get up off the floor? For twelve hours?’
Rae shakes her head.
‘His neighbours heard him shouting and called the police. I don’t know what to make of it. His obs are fine, nothing obvious going on. Those legs definitely need attention. I said I could get that sorted for him at home but he insisted on going to hospital because he says he doesn’t feel right in himself.’ She shrugs. ‘Sorry guys.’
Mr Bartelman has managed to put on his shirt and trousers – a stripy business combo - in no time at all. Whilst he buttons the shirt I put his Velcro-shoes in front of him.
‘Thank you,’ he says. ‘I can manage.’
‘So - twelve hours on the floor?’
‘Yes. I slipped out of bed at about four this morning and just couldn’t get up. I tried everything but it was no use. Luckily my neighbours heard me when they came back from work this afternoon otherwise I’d probably still be there.’
‘But you haven’t hurt yourself?’
‘No. Thank goodness.’
‘No new pain?’
‘Nothing new.’
‘And I understand you feel unwell?’
‘Yes. But I can’t put my finger on it. Just not the full ticket.’
‘Dizziness? Nausea? Shortness of breath? Anything like that?’
‘Going to the toilet okay?’
‘Fine. But something’s not right. Generally. Now. I’ll just get my keys and we can go.’

I seriously doubt they’ll work, given the police recently put the door in. But you never know.


jacksofbuxton said...

Hmmm,frustrating one there Spence.

Shame you can't charge people for wasting your time.

£50 call out fee plus £50 per hour or part thereof.

Soon have you going to work in an Aston Martin Spence.

Nice last line as well.

jacksofbuxton said...

And as for the film from a previous blog Spence,blind Bambi (no idea)

Spence Kennedy said...

Def a weird one. I mean, I know he was big, but he didn't seem incapacitated by his size. Why you'd spend the night on the floor and have the police put your door in like that I've no idea. Or go to the hospital...

I would love an Aston Martin, thanks. I'm sure it's a better ride than this stupid Micra.

And the film? Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Not a very good Clint film, but classic 'fix the dislocated shoulder yourself' scene.... :/

Elaine Denning said...

He was just lonely. Very, very lonely. :(

Spence Kennedy said...

I'm sure you're right, Elaine. In fact, I think just plain old loneliness is a common denominator behind many of these calls.

Wordfiend said...

Sleep paralysis? TIA? Though loenliness does seem the most probable, especially the way he got all fixed up as if he were going on a date.

Spence Kennedy said...

I suppose both those things are possible - exacerbated by loneliness. A sad case (another one!)