As predicted, there was no answer when I rang the doorbell. Patients calling and claiming to be unconscious tend to be a little like the outer door I was facing - unhinged. I stopped the car one house up from the address leaving room for the ambulance to park up right outside, and left my trademark orange beacon flashing on the roof. A light was switched off in a front room confirming that the patient wasn't unconscious as they'd tried to tell the call-taker. Instead, they were probably drunk and up to mischief.
The crew, a very friendly Little and Large, arrived a few minutes later.
"We knew it was you!" It's always nice to be greeted with a smiling pair of faces, especially in the dead of night.
"What gave it away?"
"First, the orange beacon. Secondly, this call sounds a bit crazy. It's got you written all over it!"
"Yeah, can't argue that one..."
We stood by the porch door, eventually working out that we could open that one and get to the front door itself. Just in case the patient hadn't already heard us, we knocked on that door too, shouting through the letter box for good measure. The upstairs light had stayed off for some time, so we had no option but to ask for the police. It took them a few minutes before they screeched up the road like a scene from a movie.
"You know you've left that orange beacon on, don't you?" Asked one of the officers as they stepped out.
"You'll end up with a flat battery, you know!" They seemed to find the whole thing amusing.
"Never happened yet. Anyway, it's my trademark. Warns the crews that they're about to face the madness..."
Little explained the situation, whilst Large and I each tried to shift the blame for the call onto the other by giving each other's call signs to the police. After a few attempts at the traditional knock-at-the-door-ring-the-doorbell-shout-through-the-letter-box methods, they opted for the big red door key. One gentle tap later with the weighty battering ram and we were in.
Our patient was sitting at the top of the stairs, a cocktail of drink and drugs making him unsteady both of body and mind. It took the combined efforts of police and ambulance to coax him downstairs and into the truck. Whether he'd overdosed was difficult to tell, but he was certainly drunk and very incapable, so leaving him at home was not an option. Lacking the energy to fight, he finally crumpled in a heap onto the trolley bed and the police left us and returned to their duties.
It took us a few more minutes to check vital signs and make sure our patient co-operated. Just as the ambulance was about to leave, there was a knock at the door. A sheepish looking police officer stood there.
"You know your trademark orange light that we laughed at?"
"Well, we take it back."
"Do you, just by chance, have any jump leads?"