‘Now-WHEN DID YOU LAST EAT?’ a small man with an anxious manner is shouting at an elderly lady. A weekday afternoon, I was heading out of the Arndale with my late lunch and she just collapsed off the bus stop bench.
At first I thought she was just like most people who have trouble sitting on the thin strip of chest high wood that but when she remained immobile-I thought I’d better take a look.
She looked very still and rigid. That kind of worries you. I’m thinking ‘No…please….’ but just as I reach out my hand to feel her carotid pulse she wakes up and looks at me.
I say ‘Can I help you, I’m a nurse.’ Meanwhile small shouting bloke has appeared to my left and is excitedly quizzing the bewildered elderly lady on the ground at the same time as I am asking her what happened and how she’s feeling now.
Another man arrives and kneels down next to me ‘I’m a doctor’. Someone behind is calling an ambulance on their mobile. She’s a little shaken and embarrassed and being given advice and questions from at least three people. ‘NOW-you have been advised to GO TO A&E..’ the small man is helpfully summarising as the paramedics siren approaches.
That’s it for me. I tell the paramedic what I saw and let him get on with it. As I stand up I remember my lunch and look around thinking that some opportunist vegetarian Guardian reader thief has nicked my vegetable pasty and newspaper whilst shouting man and I have been trying to help. It seems kind of at odds with the whole scene of helpful strangers and it is. A language student has been holding my lunch and newspaper and hands them back to me.
And I’m on my way back to work thinking good things about Eastbourne and it’s people and how they really should make those benches wider…
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