Binge drinking and the like is showing an increase in the news lately. And unsurprisingly it seems to be showing a huge increase in the type of calls we get as well.
Most of the time, drunken people are ok. They are reasonable to deal with, some are even pleasant and fun. Its the ones who become rude, obnoxious, confrontational and aggressive that tend to be a drain on our resources, safety and sanity.
Then there’s the psychs. As in psychiatric patients. These can range from people with ongoing depression to people with full on violent episodes towards themselves and others. Again, some psychs are nice to deal with and know full well the problems they have and equally know the help they need. But on occasion, some psychs can be unpredictable. And I do mean unpredictable.
There’s a standing joke amongst the Police and the LAS that says, “when the full moon is up and out, the psychs and drunks will run about”.
And coincidently enough, last week, around the full moon period, we had several patients befitting the above descriptions . . .
Patient 1 –
Call came down as “Male – unresponsive in street. ?epileptic seizure” called by “Passer-by”.
On arrival, our patient was being propped up against a shop window by an FRU. Smelling of cheap lager and stale urine the patient stammered and spat their disapproval of being interrupted from their morning’s drunken collapse.
After assisting onto the back of the ambulance we ventured some basic obs but were refused all attempts. Each time we tried to help the poor man the more he became belligerent and offensive. The final straw wasn’t when he accused my crew mate of being a “fat ugly bitch”, but when he tried to add to the insults by spitting profusely at all of us inside the ambulance.
We’d had enough. He was promptly assisted “gently” from the ambulance and “politely” sent on his way – with good advice.
Patient 2 –
Next up, a regular psych patient. He was calling this time because the “electro-magnetic waves that had been targeted at him by the MOD and fired from the local police station were causing him ongoing sleep deprivation and pains”. He was growing tired of being used as a government experiment and wanted help.
He was in his fifties and was unkempt albeit a very gentle man. And despite his apparent randomness he was very pleasant to talk to.
After all obs checked out we made him comfortable on the ambulance and started on our way to hospital. During our journey we assured him he’d be safe with us as the ambulance was lined with “zirconium-lead sheeting” which was “positively charged”. This, we said, would deflect all attempts at targeting him. To prove our motives we ran our (iPhone app) Geiger Counter over him and showed that he was free from any electro-magnetic waves. To add random weight to our efforts I mentioned that I was driving along natural Lay-Lines which would double the charge added to the zirconium-lead sheeting.
Although we were playing on his thought processes, ultimately it was in his best interests and after our continued assurances and electronic displays our patient arrived at hospital relaxed and admitting that his pains had gone – thanks to our help!
Patient 3 –
Patient lying unresponsive in street. Upon arrival onlookers were worried as he wasn’t responding to anything they did. The patient was lying on the pavement, coat tucked up over his head, arms folded.
Ok – primary survey – check for response . . .
We kicked the patient’s feet.
“Oi! Wake up!”
Patient opened his eyes, coughed and tried to roll over.
We escort him to the ambulance and find out he is Russian. All he wants to do is sleep. Getting info from him is difficult especially as his English is poor and to substitute he slips into fluent Russian thinking this will help.
On the way to hospital he becomes agitated and we ascertain he needs to go to the toilet.
“Not here fella.”
He starts undoing his trousers whilst on the bed.
“No! Not here!”
We grab his hands away.
“NO . . . !”
He keeps trying until eventually a pronounced darkening patch starts to appear around his crotch followed by the unmistakeable rancid smell of urine.
” . . . great!”
Patient 4 –
The next patient had the potential of being a serious case – a fifty year old female claiming to have been raped and wanting to go to “The Haven” (a place specifically set up to receive victims of rape).
When we finally found the patient (with the help of the Police) it turns out to be Molly**, another regular psych patient. The only thing correct with the details was that she was fifty and female. Molly was homeless and suffered schizophrenia and sadly wasn’t controlling it with medication. She had not been raped.
With wild ragged hair and a sharp dashing glances of intense bitterness she spat her way onto the ambulance demanding that we take her somewhere to sleep. As soon as we opened our mouths to speak she would scream at us in a thick Nigerian accent –
“I don’t need to listen to any of you bullshit! Take me somewhere to sleep! I’m a Solicitor! I know my rights!”
My crew mate attempted obs but was swiftly pushed away and spat at.
“Get you hands off me you . . . you are nothing! You hear me! NOTHING! I’m more intelligent than you! I’m a Nurse you know! Now shut up and lets go!”
We kept our distance on two accounts – first and foremost, she was in a state of unpredictable agitation and second, the smell of urinary infection and stale faeces was so potent it made my eyes hurt.
Eventually, we were able to calm Molly and head off to hospital. Speaking to Molly en route I found out she had a couple of daughters who were always concerned about her (she showed me letters they’d wrote). And it appears she had contracted this illness several years back after her husband (at the time) had disappeared without trace, leaving her jobless and with two children to look after.
Thankfully, we were able to hand Molly over to the hospital in a calmer state than how we picked her up.
Patient 5 –
Another “male – collapsed in the street”. Upon arrival we were told the man had collapsed in the road but had been coaxed onto the pavement where he was now.
We looked down at our patient. He had a huge Santa Claus beard and the rugged look of a homeless person. This was Gary* – another regular who was originally from Newcastle. Gary was a genuine homeless person too – as in he prefers living on the streets as opposed to living in hostels and refuges.
We could just see two wide staring eyes through all his hair looking distantly across the floor. I knelt down smiling.
“GARY . . . Oi! Geordie!!”
The patient’s eyes closed half way and I could see the crows feet on his face suggesting he was smiling. I put on my best Geordie accent.
“Why aye mun – what ya doing doon there like”
I sounded more like a cross between Bengali and Welsh.
We got him up and onto the Ambulance where we made him warm. Gary was a happy drunk. He would never dream of calling us out but sadly he would get so plastered the Passer-by’s of the world would call us instead.
However, we liked Gary as he was always happy and always had a positive outlook on life. Unfortunately, he was often found in a poor state after people would take joy in beating him up for fun.
This was our off job, and a nice one to end on. So we made him warm on our bed, listened to his stories (again), stuck a load of thermo-blankets in his pocket (for later) and conveyed him to hospital.
There were lots more over the full moon period but it does get a little monotonous writing about every single one so hopefully this gives a little insight into it all.
Remember – when the full moon is up and out, the psychs and drunks will run about.
**Not their real names.