I stood and stared – mouth agape and eyes wide open. I was in genuine shock at what I was seeing.
The job had come down as “Red 2, 35 year old female – Difficulty in Breathing – Chest Pain”. On arrival our patient didn’t look happy . . . and neither did their husband, who was fidgeting backwards and forward rattling off in broken English what had happened with sincere heartfelt concern for his wife.
“It all happen so quickly. My wife, she caught her thumb in door, and the pain . . . it made her not be breathing properly. And then she turn yellow . . . see? She very yellow.” He motioned to her face . . . which was indeed, yellow.
I continued to stare. I hadn’t stopped staring in fact, from the moment we arrived. And as the patient held her thumb up to reveal a small blackened bruise at the bed of the nail I continued to stare for a little while more.
Realising everyone was staring back at me waiting for a response, I snapped my mouth shut and gave the couple a serious look.
“My god! It’s a good job you called us! Quick, sit yourself down my dear. Get those feet up eh.”
Rubbing the side of my temples I took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. I then sat down beside the woman and held her hand . . . no problems in breathing, warm fingers and good radial pulse suggested to me that everything was indeed fine. Yet, she did have a slightly yellow ‘Jaundiced’ look about her which was slowly going back to normal. I decided to look at the rest of her skin . . . she was wonderfully tanned – to the point of almost orange.
“Wonderful tan you’ve got here . . . is it a spray on tan by any chance?”
The woman smiled and nodded.
“Ah. Right. I see . . . now we know what colour someone’s skin turns when they suddenly go pale but have a spray on tan to mask it, eh.” Turning to Joey, our placement student, I put on my ‘Mentor’ face, “Well Joey, as you can see, I think this might just be a simple case of LOB* . . . nothing more”
“Do you think she need to go to Hospital?” The husband asked
“No!” Realising I had said this before he’d finished his sentence I quickly decided to soften the moment with a soothing smile. It worked and they both relaxed somewhat.
And, after doing some simple checks and completing the necessary paper work, we left the couple at home . . . with good advice, of course.
*load of bollocks