The tower block loomed in front of me, like a gigantic mountain sized monolith. Due to a power cut, not a single light was on throughout the building. This just added to its dark and evil mystique. My eyes slowly moved up the floors searching for its peak. But against the dark London back drop, the building seemed to blend as one with the night sky.
Somewhere up on the 19th floor, someone had turned their ankle and was in “so much pain, they could not walk”. So, standing with my paramedic bag on my back and all the other essentials I always took into jobs, I prepared to enter the building.
“You going up there mate?” A young resident was leaving the building and had clocked me with all my kit. He was motioning up the building.
“Yep. Are the lifts working?”
“Ha! No chance mate. Nothing is. It’s all fucked yeh”
I looked up once again and did a quick calculation in my head. Within seconds I was sat back in the car calling up control. Sod that, walking up 19 floors with all that kit!
“Hiya Red Base, erm . . . this job, any chance you can give the patient a ring back and see if they can walk? And see if they can therefore walk down to me?”
I sat and calmly waited for my request to be sorted, only slightly guilty at whimping out of the huge hike. My mind started tricking myself with the thoughts that they could be lying there in excruciating pain.
“Z952, are you receiving?”
“Yep, we’ve talked with them, they say they can’t walk. They think they’ve broken their ankle”
“Can you check to see if they can’t slide down on their bum or something? The lifts are all out of action and there are no lights. There’s been a power cut or something to this building. That’s a hell of way to walk for me with all this kit . . . ?”
“Yeh, apparently that’s how this injury happened. The patient was attempting to walk down the stairs in the dark and slipped. Stand by Z952, I’ll try them again”
Again, I waited. This was terrible behaviour. I was being lazy. This person couldn’t walk. They were in shed loads of pain and I was sitting there doing nothing. I should be up there sorting their suffering. And offering professional comfort. Then organising methods with other emergency services to work out a way of getting them to hospital. I felt a disgrace. A sham. Unworthy of my position. I felt ashamed. I felt . . .
“Stand down. The patient has decided not to bother and has gone to bed. They’ll get it sorted in the morning”
I bloody KNEW it! Stupid bloody patient. I could have died going up those stairs. Thank goodness for that.
*not my real call sign of course