Wednesday, July 02, 2014

all knees

We’ve had a whole day of elderly falls – non-injury, almost all of them arthritic knees giving out  – but this next one sounds serious.
Fire. Elderly male, fallen. Fire Brigade en route. Please call with early update.
The high street is so stuffed up with buses and cars and scaffolding trucks and crowds out enjoying the sunshine, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an armed mob on a barricade round the next corner. Still, I do what I can, and we get there in reasonable time.
A fire truck is parked up outside the house, but its hoses haven’t been deployed, and everything seems calm. We grab the resus and drugs bags from the ambulance, and scanning the air for tell-tale smoke, hurry past the worried on-lookers to the house with its front door and all its windows open.
Inside, an elderly man is sitting on the hall floor supported by a fire fighter. Three other fire fighters are inspecting the house, but there’s a leisurely feel to the place, and the smell of something burnt in the kitchen.
‘What happened?’ asks Rae, putting her bag aside and kneeling next to the patient.
‘Don’t ask,’ he says. ‘But anyway, nice to see you.’
‘Denis is a little embarrassed,’ says the fire fighter, giving him a reassuring slap on the shoulder.
‘Well – wouldn’t you be?’ says Denis.
The fire fighter laughs.
‘We heard there was a fire,’ says Rae, putting a SATS probe on Denis’ finger.
‘No,’ sighs Denis. ‘I was making some lunch and I burned the toast. The damned alarm went off, and when I tried to turn it off, I fell over and couldn’t get up again.’
He shrugs, and rubs his legs.
‘It’s these damned arthritic knees.'


jacksofbuxton said...

Nice to know that the system in place works Spence,although I'm sure at the time those weren't your exact thoughts.

Spence Kennedy said...

I can personally vouch for the fact that the system works, JoB. A bit dull, maybe, but I'm glad no-one was hurt. It's funny how often your day takes on a theme - and really, when you think of all the themes it could've been, knees isn't all that bad.

Daniel Rutter said...

I can't wait for robotic exoskeletons. All these poor buggers who fall over and aren't necessarily even significantly injured, but stay there on the floor until someone arrives to hoist 'em up again.

Put on your Robocop suit and it'll balance for you. You won't even fall in the first place unless you tread on a roller-skate on the stairs. Half-functional exoskeletons for the elderly already exist, but they're not consumer products yet.

I'm also sure you'll enjoy some "nan down!" calls no longer being your problem, on account of they're now "unstoppable robotic grandma wandering vaguely but cheerfully through walls, cars and police roadblocks in robosuit her grandson overclocked and fitted with ex-military actuators".

Spence Kennedy said...

I'm sure the technology's already there, but they'd have to come down in price a little first.

I suppose the long-term danger's going to be that as a race we'll become so dependent on technology just for keeping upright we'll start to lose the use of our legs altogether (and everything else). Jump forward a hundred thousand years, and the average human will look a little like a malnourished cat, being hoisted out of bed each morning straight into its mobility suit.

Personally? Can't wait.