Archive for September 5th, 2008

September 5th, 2008


Posted in The Job - Experience by 200

Brian rings up several times a day, when he’s going through one of his ‘episodes’. Sometimes he doesn’t ring for a week or two, others he rings every day for a week or two.

We’ve been to Brian’s house over 600 times in the last 10 years or so. He’s in his 50s and lives alone, although he does have various visitors.  I don’t know anything about Brian other than what I read on all the logs of his calls; I’ve never met him but I’ve spoken to him quite a few times.

Invariably what will happen is that Brian rings 999 & asks for the police, he then tells the call taker that he:

a) has slashed his arm

b) has a knife in his hand & is about to slash his arm

c) wants to slash his arm.

The worst I’ve heard Brian do is a slightly nick his arm causing a minor cut, not much more serious than a bad paper cut or caught fingernail.

The ambulance control are invariably called by our call-taker who have warnings on their system not to go to Brian’s without the police because he is a dangerous man & plays with knives.

The log is then sent across to the radio operator (me) for despatch. This sometimes means sending a unit, depending on what the call taker types on the log. (Sometimes it means typing something on the log about Brian being a regular caller & regrading it as high, so I don’t send anyone initially) As a result of that, sometimes the ambo get there first and, knowing how ‘dangerous’ Brian is, they go in alone & cart him off the A & E, or call back saying Brian’s calmed down & they’re leaving. This also means I don’t have to send anyone.

Sometimes ambo won’t go in & call us & I have to send someone, we get there & help the ambo persuade Brian to go to A & E for a check-up. If we are successful, between us (police & ambo) then we can hand him over to someone else to deal with (A & E). A & E can’t do much for Brian. I’m not sure what he wants or needs but I suspect it doesn’t lie in a bandage, some painkillers & a smiling nurse. So A & E release him a couple of hours later. He makes his way home…and dials 999.

The last few times this cycle has started I have waited ten minutes or so and then rung Brian up. He knows my voice now. I have no idea why but I seem to have a calming influence on him. I know this because he tells me. He says that whenever I speak to him it has a calming influence on him & he doesn’t want to slash his wrists anymore. He feels better, something about me having humanity or kindness, or something. In fact he is quite happy to make a cup of tea & watch the TV before going to bed.

I have no idea why he does this, perhaps he just wants someone to talk to & his social skills make him believe the only way to get some social interaction is to dial 999. I do know that whatever he requires, it can’t be provided by two hairy-arsed coppers blue-lighting it through the town to reach him.

It can’t be provided by two green-clad paramedics shoving him in the back of an ambo & neither can it be provided by a smiling nurse in a curtained cubicle at the local hospital (actually, maybe it can, but I’m not sure that’s on the national Health Service).

So, when he threatens to slash his wrists & I happen to pick up the log, the chances are we won’t attend. The problem will lie when, on the 601st call, he does slash his wrists. No matter who has or hasn’t done what or not provided what it is Brain needs, for the last 10 years, the time he does will be entirely my fault.