Both at the mercy of adults
“You were right”, he said, as I unloaded some kit from the car. Being 3 am, cold and miserable I really had no idea what he was talking about. He proudly displayed the ‘moonboot’ splint he had on. “I did break my leg”. Recognition slowly dawned, it was Kevin, who we last met back in mid December. That would explain why the address seemed familiar but the call was for a young child with ‘abdominal pain’ and there were no children at the property when I last called. I followed Kevin as he hobbled up the 5 flights of stairs to the flat. “Hey, look who’s turned up”, he hollered in the front door. I was already bracing myself for the putrid atmosphere and thick smoke and was relieved to find it wasn’t as bad as I feared. They’d had a slight clear up; the mushroom-farm mattress had gone, to be replaced by some rickety Ikea bed and the dog and been booted out of his corner – he was now confined to somewhere behind the television.
The two gorillas, who’d been present when I got called to Kevin, were in attendance but tonight’s call was for Emily. She’s only 3 and looked quite unwell, though she engaged with me happily enough, which was just as well as she was the only one who made any sense; luckily she had an I.Q. that outshone the rest of the them put together; particularly Mum who was struggling to string more than three words together. Mum, too, seemed familiar and it was only later that I discovered that I’d been out to her at her normal abode – the local women’s refuge. Now she was shacked up with the larger of the two gorillas who rents the flat. The place is hardly big enough for one gorilla never mind a vulnerable woman and a young child.
Emily told me her tummy hurt and it was painful when she went to the toilet – to emphasis the point she promptly vomited over the settee, the floor and subsequently Mum’s jacket. To be honest it would hardly be noticed, the floor was still littered with the remains of take-away dinners and fag ends and a set of dog bowls – just like last time. It’s the sort of place where you wipe your feet on the way out.
Now I’m no expert on children but I think it’s fair to say that 3 year olds spend a fair amount of time on the floor and are still at an age where they like investigating their environment by putting things in their mouths. Given the state of the floor goodness knows what Emily had found to sample and no wonder she was ill. I really felt for her – what a start in life. Mum’s already been through the refuge which is hardly conducive to bringing up a young child and now poor Emily finds herself stuck in what can only be described as a “shit-hole”.
I took Emily and Mum up to A&E, if only to get Emily out of there; but what about the dog? At least everyone else had the opportunity to leave if they wanted to but the dog was stuck there and it’s no place for a dog and certainly not for Emily.