"56 year old woman, headache"
The first night shift is always the worst. Like I have mentioned before, as a poor sleeper at the best of times, by the start of the shift I've been awake for 12 hours already. Between 3am and 5am is the worst time. We are sat at hospital and I was nodding off left, right and centre. Head drifting forwards and then a sudden jerk upright over and over again. Seeing a "headache" appear on the screen did not thrill me either; far from it. We headed round to the address, it wasn't far away so we were there within a few minutes. At this time of night it's normally pretty easy to spot the patient's house as it's normally the only one with lights on. Tonight however we were not so lucky. No lights in houses and no street lights. We crawled along at 2mph with the search lights on peering through hedges and gates trying to see a house number. Eventually we found it. Sorry to digress but seriously, there should be laws about house numbers! They should be a good size and easily visible for all, not black, 3 inches tall and covered in leaves! Just sayin'!
It was a big property, a large Victorian terraced house, by the looks of it 3-4 bedrooms and high ceilings. We wandered up the drive to the large oak front door which had a heavy black knocker. I gave it my usual 'ever so sarcastic' three slow knocks; nothing. I knocked again, this time with more force; nothing. We shouted through the letter box and knocked again but you guessed it... nothing. We asked control to give the caller a ring back. We heard the phone ringing and after only a few rings it stopped. She had answered. After another 5 minutes the door was opened. She looked me up and down and walked off into the living room; it wasn't until she was a few feet away she began talking:
"You took your bloody time"
Not the best way to endear me; in fact, it's highly likely to get my back up. Needless to say I bit my tongue and moved swiftly on, ignoring her snide remark.
"Well we are here now; I gather you have a headache?"
"No I don't, it's not a headache"
"OK then, what's the problem? What have you called for?"
"I have a feeling in my head"
"What kind of feeling? Does it hurt?"
"It's just a feeling, it doesn't hurt but I'm fed up with it. I need to be admitted to hospital"
"We can pop you to A & E if you like, I can't say whether you'll be admitted or not, that is down to the hospital"
She went on to say the hospital she wanted to go to. It wasn't the nearest by any stretch of the imagination, in fact there were 4 closer. Up to a point patients have a say where they want to go, and I am often more than willing to go, but she was being rude so I didn't commit. I said we would discuss hospitals once we had checked her over on the ambulance. After waiting 20 minutes for her to pack a bag she marched passed us at the door and said:
"Shut the door behind you"
As you can imagine, by now I was getting pretty ratty! It was 03:30, I was tired and not in the mood to be treated like a naughty ginger step child. I sat in the jump seat to get started on my paper work while my crew mate tried to do her obs.
"No, you don't need my blood pressure, you're not a doctor"
"You've called us, we are here to help, let us check you over and we can go to hospital"
"No, I don't want you to"
"OK then, what medical problems do you have?"
"That's none of your business"
"Well it kind of is! You have called an ambulance, we need to give a handover to the hospital as to why you are here, you medical history is pertinent to that"
"Well it's none of your business"
"OK, do you take any regular medication and have you taken any today or this evening for your 'feeling'?"
"You don't need to know that."
"Yes we do, it is important for the hospital to know because it may effect what treatment they give you"
"Then I'll tell a doctor when he asks, not you"
"Fine, who is your GP?"
"I fail to see how any of this is your business, stop asking questions and take me to hospital"
She wasn't listening to a word I had to say, it was if her fingers were in her ears like a petulant little child. At this point I told her we would not be taking her to the hospital she wanted as it was too far away to justify, and quite frankly, I didn't feel like it.
"You are not willing to tell us anything about what is wrong with you, your medical history, your medication or you GP. You won't let us check you over yet you called 999 and asked for an ambulance. If you didn't want an ambulance then you could have got a taxi."
"I pay my national insurance and my taxes pay your wages. You will do what I say and take me where I tell you to take me. That is my right"
"You can go to one of the three nearest hospitals"
"You either take me where I want to go or I'm going back home"
"(I just looked at her blankly)"
"Fine, I'm going home"
With that, she got out of the ambulance and not before flipping me the bird, stomped off back inside. EMERGENCY AMBULANCE. That is what it says on the side. That is what it is there for. On speaking to another crew about it after the following job it turns out she is a regular. It just so happened our paths had never before crossed! 'I pay your wages'! Pah! It never gets old!!