Sunday, June 21, 2009
Contains Nudity. You've been warned...
'So, we've asked the Police to pop round and see you. O.K?'
There are few, if any, times a body will be pleased to hear that. I suppose if you're being forcibly pillaged, you'd be glad of the presence of Her Majesty's Constabulary. But I'd cautiously suggest they wouldn't be 'popping' round under those inauspicious circumstances.
Anyway, how did we end up here?
The BatPhone trilled away; the call slightly unusual. 'Young male, GCS 3, ?swine flu'
For those less in the know, 'swine flu' is the current strain, H1A1, of pandemic influenza. Complex protocols exist for it's management, and more importantly containment. These are hard to enforce when your patient is critically ill. The GCS, or Glasgow Coma Score, measures one's conscious level; 3 is the lowest. It is safe to say GCS 3 suggests critical illness.
The history we had been provided with offered few clues, but more details were forthcoming. It transpired our patient had collapsed in a shop. He had popped in the previous day to brighten the tedium of the checkout girls and boys by proclaiming to all and sundry that he had swine 'flu.
And then leaving.
Today, he had gone one better, striding manfully into the shop, stark, bollock naked.
Skyclad, if you will, possibly in honour of the Solstice.
Nudity is always funny; fact.
Sometimes, not for the reasons you think it is, but it's always funny.
Random nudity is usually enough to create a talking point. Or stop conversation. It gathers a crowd, anyway. Occasionally stops traffic. A well endowed female patient of mine once fled my care, for fear of the Military Police, clad only in a tiny thong. Several taxi drivers stooped at the ED, all asking 'guess what I just saw', all disappointed when I guessed...
In this case, onlookers assembled, and our our Nude Ranger coughed heartily on them all, then passed out in a small pile of his own vomit.
Matron and I met him in the Ambulance; the crew were masked up, and had little more to offer. The decision we had to make was how ill he really was, and might he really have flu. Of any sort.
Our initial assessment was promising: it's hard to explain, but there's GCS 3, and then there's GCS 3; one really is coma'd; the other... you get the feeling that they just don't want to respond. The rest of his obs were normal, and he looked well... just... sleepin', sorta.
A little 'gentle' pressure to the nail bed, to establish his response to painful stimulus, one of the components of the GCS, transformed him from 'flu-coma' man, to angry confused man. A startled naked man with a sore finger sprang, like a 21st Century Lazarus, straining against the restraints designed to stop him falling off the trolley en route.
He launched into what I have come toi think of as the waking coma victim's litany:
'Fuck off! Fuck. Fuck, FUCK!'
'FUUU... Hey, where are my fucking pants?!?'
This erudite conversation dealt with, and reassured that he was no longer in coma, we tried to find out what had brought him, in all his pink glory, to our humble establishment.
Unfortunately, he was trying to figure this out, too.
Waking up, to find a pasty man in green scrubs crushing your finger, and two Ambos in masks leaning over you is not well designed to reset your normality.
He wouldn't fess up to any illicit activity (they never do; I suspect they think we'll shop them), and was confused as to his whereabouts; and the whereabouts of his pants.
He eventually coughed to having smoked some weed that morning, but was sure this had had nothing to do with him proudly patrolling the high street, playing willy banjo and passing out.
In case he had ingested something else, we decided to call his girlfriend.
She was also in, shall we say, an advanced state of refreshment; highly relaxed. More to the point, unable to offer any coherent sentences that might aid in our quest to guess the drug. In fact, she was convinced he was still in the house with her. It was this, slightly frustrating, slightly circular conversation that prompted Matron to suggest we'd send Plod round to talk to her face to face.
Now, I respect the kind of fella who decides he's going to spend Sunday getting ripped to the tits on drink and drugs; indeed, it takes a real effort to get so banjaxed that you tear all your clothes off, and bestride the High Street with your balls swinging back and forth by ten in the morning. But I'd rather you didn't bring it to where I work.
I did feel slightly sorry for his lassy tho'. After being called because a loved one has died, I imagine she enjoyed the prospect of the Boys in Blue at her doorstep less than most.