Friday, 11 February 2011

On and Off

Through the frosted glass of the front door, we see the outline of a small figure walking down the stairs to let us in. 

"Wonder why there's a kid up at this time of the night?" I say to Lara. 

"Probably wanted to see the ambulance!" she answers.

It's not a child that opens the door, it's Doreen, a silvery-haired octogenarian, as sprightly as someone half her age. We step into the house, and she immediately apologises.

"Sorry it's a bit dark in here. As soon as I switched the light on in the hallway, the bulb blew!"

Even Lara, a good foot shorter than me, towers over Doreen, making me feel like a giant. I look up at the darkened lamp shade and imagine Doreen having to stand on a ladder to get up there.

"Don't worry. Let's go help your hubby, and before we go I'll change the light bulb."

"Oh, would you? That would be wonderful! I won't have to trouble the neighbours again." She looks so relieved, it was as if we'd just told her that she'd won the lottery. "Let me show you to the troublemaker then."

We went upstairs and met Morris, the reason for our call. He'd been unwell and hallucinating for the last few hours. A fever and a strong smell leading directly to the conclusion that he's probably got a urine infection, a regular cause of confusion, especially in the elderly. He'd become very unstable on his feet too, and I didn't want him to even attempt walking on the icy pavement, so I asked Lara to go back for the carry chair. He made it down the stairs under his own steam, pride and determination forcing him to refuse to be carried. It was a compromise to stop him walking all the way to the ambulance. As we got down the stairs, the light was on in the hallway.

"Your lovely young lady here changed the light bulb for me!"

I gave Lara an evil grin.

"A woman changing a light bulb?" I said. "That's a first for me!" It earned me a slap on both arms, one woman on each.

We wheeled Morris out to the ambulance, and Lara went back to help Doreen across the slippery pavements. Once they were both settled, we set off for hospital, and Doreen took a look out the window.

"Oh no!" she cried, "I've just realised I've left the light on!"

Lara stopped the ambulance, took Doreen's key, and went to switch the light back off.


TOTWTYTR said...

Those tough old guys, are just tough in everything they do. I don't know how many I've had to convince to let us put on the stretcher because "I don't need that, I'm not that sick" when they clearly are.

Nice work on the light bulb change. I'd do that, but it's amazing how many of our patients don't have any lights in their apartments. Unless you count the one in the hallway and the refrigerator.

EMS Education said...

You and your partners are the kind of medics that I strive to teach my students to be. This was an awesome post! Sometimes it is difficult to see the good we do when it is "just" a simple medical call. Keep the GREAT work up!