The Nation's Health + Paramedic

Some things should remain unsaid…

"43 year old female, face pain"

Some things go together. Cheese and wine, pie and mash, tea and biscuits, pen and paper, burger and chips. They just work. You rarely see one without the other and why would you! The same applies to council estates and time wasters. They go hand in hand. (OK, as per usual i'm generalising but after doing 9 jobs on the same estate in 1 shift, none of which needed hospital I was left rather jaded). Today was no different. We arrived at the heart of the estate and began looking for the badly signed block amongst all the identical red bricked buildings in front of us. Eventually we found it. I'm not going to lie, the prospect of a 43 year old with face pain wasn't that exciting and on meeting her she didn't change that. It was a flat typical of the estate. Dirty, cluttered, smelt of stale smoke, had the token Staff barking away and it's occupants were unemployed. She had been called us for tooth ache. Why the Ivory Tower had deemed it suitable for an emergency ambulance on blue lights I don't know, but we were here now so I had to make nice!

She was sitting in her armchair, hair a mess, hygiene didn't appear high on her list of priorities, she had missing teeth and bags under her eyes. She was wearing a dressing gown and smoking her Superkings. I asked her to put the fag out while we spoke and after rolling hers eyes she obliged. I explained that tooth ache isn't something that an ambulance deals with, nor is it something that the hospital will deal with. I told her she would need a dentist and if she couldn't wait she would have to find her an emergency one. I got onto Google and wrote down the numbers for 5 local dentists and the nearest one offering 24/7 emergency treatment.

"But I got no money and no credit to call 'em"

I didn't bite, I offered to call one for her but in terms of payment for treatment that was something she would have to discuss with the dentist. I made an appointment for the following day for her and advised what painkillers she should take in the mean time.

"Take Paracetomol every 4 hours, if you want anything stronger, go to the chemist and see if they have anything for teeth"

"Alright then, fanks for coming"

"Thats OK, not a problem, would you like anything else before we leave?"

"Yeah can you pass me the Femfresh, its on the table over there"

"Sorry?!"

"Femfresh, you know, for my bits"

I heard her the first time and knew what it was for. The 'sorry' was my way of stalling as I didn't know how to react to that. In silence I walked over to the table, picked up said Femfresh and handed it to her, all the while dragging my jaw along the floor.

"Fanks"

Absolutely no shame whatsoever. I felt sick. There are some interactions that should never occur between patient and clinician. This was one of them. In fact, there are some things that should never be an interaction between two people. With that, I left her and her dog too it. I never want to think about it again. Gross.

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Relevant to: Some things should remain unsaid… + Paramedic