Meet the Shipdaes
I met the Shipdaes family last night; another dysfunctional but highly entertaining collection of misfits.
The call was for a patient fallen with minor injuries. As I crawled down the destination street in my response car, alley lights on, searching for number 27, I managed to blind a rather scruffily clothed individual (a cross between Worzel Gummidge and Albert Steptoe), standing by a greensward. Turns out he was waiting for me, as the house was one of a number of terraced properties lying perpendicular to the street and only accessible down a pathway.
“You looking for Mrs Shipdaes?”
“Don’t know the name, but I’m after number 27”
“This way” he said, gesticulating for me to go first.
“No you lead on, I’ve no idea where I’m going” (Why do people do this? Do they think I’ve been here before or something?)
We turned in through a garden gate falling off it’s hinges, and down a rather overgrown and unkempt path, round the back of the house and into the kitchen. Another gentleman got up as we came in.
“Thanks for coming mate.” He swayed slightly, trying to look me in the eye but failing miserably. Obviously
pissed proprioceptorally challenged. “It’s Cathy here” he indicated a lady slumped against the table, head in hand, surrounded by empty beer cans and puffing away on a fag. He tried to tell me more but the movement of waving his arm at Cathy had thrown him off balance, so he thumped back down in his chair and only managed to avoid teetering over onto the floor by the good fortune of grabbing hold of the edge of the table. “She’s cut her head mate.” This was Lee, her husband.
“Hello Cathy, can I have a look at your head?”
She looked up with tear stained red eyes which struggled to get me into focus. “Who are you? Fuck off” and with that flayed a right fist towards my face which only succeed in propelling her onto the floor. Crash! We manhandled her back up onto a chair where she eventually agreed to let me have a look at the cut. It was about 3 cm long and located along the line of her eyebrow which was grossly swollen. No foreign bodies and no sensory loss; probably just required a few stitches; just the perfect job for an ECP. Except…. I was working on a standard RRV so no suture kits, wound packs or lignociane available; how frustrating! I gave one of my colleagues a call, who was working on a ‘real’ ECP car, to see if he could pop down and do it. Sadly he was on another job about 15 miles away which was likely to take some time. I looked at my watch, it was 1.30 am. The local minor injury unit was long closed so, with no kit available, I suggested I run Cathy to the nearest A&E, about 20 miles away. This was greeted with cries of “Bollocks! I ain’t goin’ nowhere” and an enraged tantrum ensued. Their 5 year old daughter appeared and joined in the general hullabaloo, screaming for “Mummy, mummy!”. Cathy was screaming for the kiddie and Lee was f*ing and blinding at Cathy.
I sat down and watched my own private episode of the Jerry Springer show. “Je_rry!, Je_rry!, Je_rry!
After this had been going on for a few minutes Worzel, who turned out to be Cathy’s brother, announced that he was off to get Mum. Oh good, more Shipdaes! Cathy calmed down, cuddled the kiddie who then trotted of to get a teddy bear which she then came and showed me. Worse-for-wear Lee started apologising for swearing but did eventually get Cathy to agree to go to hospital. “We’ll just wait for Mum” he slurred.
So we waited.
…and then waited a bit more.
“Are they going to be long?” I asked
“Nah, they only live down the road”
“I want ma mum, I want ma mum, I want ma mum” and Cathy went off on one again. She grabbed a mobile phone on the table. “Where are ya?” she shouted into it. She looked at me. “They’re on their fucking way” she screamed and threw the phone across the table where it slithered over the edge and crashed to the floor. This set kiddie off again. More crying, screaming and f*ing and blinding followed. I sat back and watched, only thankful that they didn’t have a family dog to join in.
At this point Mum stumbled up the steps and in through the door. No mean feat for a large lady with a couple of dodgy knees. She landed breathless in the middle of the kitchen. “Wot ya bin up ta Caff? Oh look at ya head! look at ya head! Its that bloody drink! You should be ashamed of yaself! You and that bloody drink! I can’t stand it! I can’t take any more of this! I just can’t stand it any more!” and with that proceeded to launch into what can only be described as a vertical, fully conscious, fit; waving her arms up and down, up and down and wobbling about on her tree trunk legs. It was like she’d suddenly been plugged into an electric socket.
Of course this set Cathy off again. “Fuck off Mum! Stop havin’ a go at me!” The kiddie set of screeching again. Lee tried to calm things down but just made them worse until, eventually, Cathy stomped off to another room leaving a departing “I ain’t goin to no fucking hospital!” in her wake. Pandemonium followed, like before, but this time with Lee and Mum both trying to out do each other in the F*ing and Blinding stakes. Another huge figure appeared at the door. I took this to be Dad but he said nothing and everyone else ignored him. He picked up a chair and settled himself down in a corner, arms crossed, to watch the action. Meanwhile I was wondering whether requesting police assistance would just make matters worse, especially as they were ignoring me as much as Dad and I didn’t feel in the least threatened.
Finally, after much apologising, hugging and you-know-I love-yous they agreed that Cathy would come to the hospital. Excellent! I went to pick up my bags only to find out that everyone wanted to come. I explained that “I’m in a response car and only have room for two, as the boot and back seat are full of kit”.
More pandemonium! and much heated debate about who’s going and “why the fuck can’t we take kiddie?”
Eventually, with my patience starting to wear just a little thin, it’s agreed that Lee’s going to come with Cathy and that Mum, Dad and Worsel are going to look after kiddie. Kiddie begs to differ and more screaming and crying erupts.
I got up and walked out the door. Luckily Lee followed dragging Cathy, who then stumbled down the steps and only narrowly managed to avoid completely crashing to the ground. On the way back to the car the neighbours were treated to the delights of Cathy’s filial love for Mum “That fucking cow’s getting on my tits!” shouted at the top of her voice back towards the house.
Thankfully, once in the car she calmed down a lot with only the occasional query of “Hey, Mr Taxi Driver, are we there yet?” and “This is going to costs us a fucking fortune to get home!” to punctuate the snoring from Lee in the front seat.
I left them happily crashed out in the A&E waiting room and, Yes! it was going to cost them a fortune to get home.
Less money to spend on booze then!