A comment on my last post inspired me to tell you about another of our regular callers.
George Lennon is in his forties. He’s an alcoholic who is prone to fits. He’s also prone to calling up when there is nothing wrong with him, and equally prone to telling the ambulance crew who have rushed over on blue lights to tend to him to Foxtrot Oscar. He is far more likely to let crews in if they are female. George likes the ladies. He likes them so much that he likes to snap them with his mobile phone and then print the pictures off and stick them on his wall. When one paramedic objected to this, he offered to let her take his photo too. She obliged, and now there’s a picture of George’s grinning face pinned to the noticeboard in the ambulance station mess room.
George has never been anything but delightful to me. He is less polite to my male colleagues, so maybe it is a good job that I am not really Mark Myers. Often, when George calls, we ring him back to gauge his mood (to help the crew decide if they need the police’s assistance – he’s never hit any of the crews but sometimes he looks like he’s just about to) and often just the sound of a female voice is enough to make George happy and make him cancel the ambulance. He calls us all “angels” and has asked me to marry him twice. I said I’d think about it. It’s the best offer I’ve had in some time.
George rarely travels to hospital and has never been blued in while I’ve been on duty. As far as I knew, there was nothing much wrong with him except a somewhat excessive love of the bottle.
Well, I was wrong. A comment on my last post, from one of the ambulance crews in George’s area, informed me that George recently suffered an out of hospital cardiac arrest. Against all the odds, he survived, but it could happen again at any time.
I’m halfway through Tom Reynolds’ new book, and a post where he talked about his regulars really struck a chord with me. As you know, since February I have been the allocator for the area where Tom works – but I didn’t recognise any of the individuals he talked about. Then I got to the bottom of the entry, where Tom explained that since he originally wrote the post a couple of years ago, they’d all died. I am coming to realise that this is the inevitable end of the story for so many of the regulars I have become fond of, and it makes me sad. Because we get so many calls from the regulars, plenty of which are not medical emergencies, it is easy to shrug them off and think there will never be anything seriously wrong with these people. But really, they are more vulnerable than the people we do not regularly hear from, and there will come a day when they stop calling and disappear from our view, and we can only guess what has happened – that they too have died.
I hope George is okay.