Have lunch with an elderly friend. Later in the afternoon she calls to ask me to pray for a friend of hers who’s been taken ill. What’s up I ask. She’s fallen over and her speech and thoughts are confused but she’s got a friend with her and neither of them want to call an ambulance. Turns out my friend doesn’t want to jeopardise the friendship by calling an ambulance either. Sounds like she’s having a stroke to me.
So I offer to call instead and she is greatly relieved but worried they won’t be able to convince her to go to hospital. I remember when the ambulance was called for me six months ago and I was convinced all I needed to do was rest. The paramedics were amazing – somehow they gently persuaded me I couldn’t stay where I was and before I knew it I was wrapped up, in a chair, then blue lighted to A and E. They undoubtedly saved my life.
I think the older generation have a visceral fear of hospital; it has too many echoes of the workhouse for them, a place you went into and didn’t come out of. Things have changed of course, but it takes more than a generation to accept that.
The ambulance service were brilliant; they couldn’t tell me which hospital she’d been taken to, but gave me a list of likely ones. Took me fifteen minutes to find where she’d been taken and to confirm they were admitting her and let my friend know.
Turns out my skills are still useful then.