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!
It was a late finish. Again. And as my student and I slowly headed back to station very little words were spoken. There was a numbness in the air that seemed to choke any delight that would normally be taken in witnessing such a beautiful sunrise over the city.
As we rounded a corner the blinding golden light of the climbing sun spread across us like a wave of warm tropical surf. Turning on the radio to break the awkward silence, Bob Marley’s song, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” sprung into life.
And, as the dawning of the new day poured its beginnings across the waking city I reflected painfully on the job we’d just done . . .
My breathing quickened and shallowed. I was aware that I was becoming sweaty and that my arms and legs were feeling like lead weights. Tingles began to creep from the ends of my fingers through my hands and slowly up my arms.
Slumping further into the chair, I desperately tried to keep my head up but waves of nausea began to take control.
“You sure you’re alright Binder? You really don’t look well you know. I think we should get you to lie down”
“I’m fine . . . honest . . . ” I lied.
And before I could give myself in to a good old fashioned fainting, the HART* guys picked me up and ‘assisted’ me to the mess room sofa where I lay for the next half hour slowly recovering.
An hour after taking my first round of Post Exposure Prophylaxis medicine and I was reduced to a gibbering wreck whereby my “life” had just been saved by HART. Oh, the humanity.
Pic courtesy of @LAS_HART