We were on our way to Bossleworth House*. A 26 year old female, head pain and feeling faint. Now, where had I heard that name before. Bossleworth House, hmmm . . . oh yes, Bossleworth House! The set of flats that were right beside the A&E department of the Hospital.
No sooner had we arrived and stepped out of our truck than our patient emerged from the set of flats. As patients go who call 999 for an emergency ambulance, this one was well presented, well dressed, well manicured and just putting away some blusher into her handbag as she approached . . .
“Are you our patient?” I asked somewhat taken aback.
“Of course” It was a curt reply without eye contact. Her stolid composure exuded defiance to any challenge.
I glanced over my shoulder at the entrance to A&E. It was so close I could read the writing on the door. I looked back at the young lady and tried to smile . . . I succeeded only in bearing my teeth.
“Did you want to just keep going and make your own way?” I stepped to one side and gestured toward the entrance.
Our patient sighed and gave me that type of sidewards glance that suggests I’m being stupid. She then had the audacity to step forward to the Ambulance door and motion with her body for one of us to open it. My crew mate and I exchanged glances . . .
“. . . erm, why exactly are we here ma’am?” Our patient tutted and sighed again.
“I’ve been having headaches and belly aches for a few days now. Can we go now please!”
“Ok. But, erm, why have you called us? Why aren’t you just walking over there by yourself?”
“It’s not safe for me to walk is it! I could trip up and die!” The look she gave to back this incredulous statement up was one that fitted the description of condescending in its entirety.
“Wh-wha . . . ?! Tri. . . ? Wha. . . !? B-but you . . .” I started motioning toward the set of high rise flats that she came from. There were no lifts so she would have had to walk down the stairs. Alone. Her expression didn’t budge. Gritting my teeth and breathing deeply I tried a different approach.
“What about a taxi. Why didn’t you call for a taxi?” This earned us our first smile . . . well, more a derogatory huff than a smile.
“Taxi?! Do you have any idea how much it costs for one of those!?”
“Do you have any idea how much it costs for one of these?!”
It was no use. Our patient was completely shut off. Suddenly, the quote from the political theorist, Thomas Paine, never felt so poignant;
To argue with someone who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead. . .
I took a deep sigh and opened the ambulance door to allow our patient in. It was ok I thought, the nurses at A&E would have their own ways to deal with a patient like this.
And, after a brief bit of paper work, we headed the looooong distance drive . . . all of about 200 yards, to the Hospital and handed our patient over to the hungry staff within.
*not the real name of the house of course