The call came in as “elderly female with leg injuries.”
The address flashed up on the data terminal with the sat-nav firing up to show us the way. “Blues & Twos” were switched on and we set off to find our patient. After a short journey of about five minutes we pulled up outside the address. A garden path cut through the middle of the well tended front lawn and led us to the front door.
I pushed the door bell and heard the chimes ringing inside the hallway. There was no answer so I knocked loudly on the door and tried the handle. Stepping inside the clean, well decorated hallway I called out “Hello! Ambulance!” A low murmur came from the room nearest to us on the right. We made our way towards the open living room door and entered into the room.
Sat in a chair near the large bay window was our patient with her arthritic hands covering her face. “Hello, can you hear me?”….I called out to her and she lowered her hands and looked up at me. I could see that she was in some considerable pain and I moved closer to her chair moving the crutch from her side so I would not knock it over. The other crutch was lying on the floor nearby.
“What seems to the matter?” I started. I saw straight away what the problem was…her right lower leg was shredded and covered in blood! A quick thought about the mechanism of injury crossed my mind…looks like shes been hit by a miniature combine harvester or some one has tried to shave her leg with a steel comb!
The lady gathered her composure and through gritted teeth explained that her cat had done it! More quick thoughts crossed my mind…how big was the cat? And where was it? Had we wandered into a situation where a domestic moggy had turned rogue, gone bad, lost the plot and was at this very moment stalking us. Was it getting ready to pounce on us and slash our throats open to leave us in a pool of blood on the nice axminster carpet?
“Soooo…wheres the cat now?”I asked. With a trembling hand she pointed to the dining table behind me. Turning slowly round I came face to cats whiskers with the offending feline. The cat was lying along side the crutch beneath the dining table. I made to move towards the cat to stroke it….”Stop! Dont go near it!” our patient shouted. “He’s stuck!”
I looked back at our patient and with my crew-mate we started to assess and bandage her leg wounds. “So what happened to make your cat do this to you?” I asked. As we moved around to check her wounds I saw that hanging off the handle of her walking crutch was a large silver butchers hook. “Something frightened him and he tried to jump from my lap onto the floor but he got stuck and thats when he panicked and clawed my leg!”
I asked what the hook was for and she explained that because of her arthritic hands she had problems carrying things. To make it easier to carry her empty tea cup or mug back to the kitchen she would use the hook on the crutch handle. “Genius!” I thought. “So when you say he got stuck…do you mean the chair arm got in the way?”
“No…if you can see where he is without spooking him you will see clearly whats happened.” With this I moved with the stealth of a Great White Hunter stalking a tiger in darkest Africa or closing in for the kill on an elephant. My approach across the multi-patterned axminister carpet was unimpeded and after travelling a distance of almost two feet I arrived near to my prey.
This is where everything suddenly became clear…sticking out of the side of the cats chest was another butchers hook…and it was still attached to the crutch handle on the floor. All of a sudden the cat sensed my presence and tried to run but screamed in agony as it dragged the crutch between the table legs. All thoughts of a secondary career as a Big Game Hunter evaporated. I backed off leaving the poor cat growling in pain.
The ladys leg would heal although it would be sore for some time. She did not want to go to hospital and was more concerned about the cat. So was I…so was my crew-mate. A quick call to Puzzle Palace (command & control) was made to put them in the picture and to let them know we would try and contact a veterninary.
Having located the appropriate vet in the phone book I rang and explained the situation to the receptionist. After a short while the vet came on the line and again I explained the problem…we could not move the cat as the hook was in well deep and it was under the table. Within half an hour the vet and a veterninary assistant arrived on scene. With a quick assessment made by the vet it was decided to grab the cat and take it in for removal of the hook.
This went smoother than anticipated as the cat moved back an inch then forward again on our approach and the hook dislodged from the crutch handle. With an expert gladitorial throw of a blanket our feline patient was secured and taken away. Our human patient felt relieved that her companion was going to be taken care of and we cleared for our next call.
Later that shift we made a detour on our way back to base and called in at the vets to check up on the cat. The vet showed us the cat was okay and then showed us the x rays. Clearly evident the hook had imbedded itself deep into the cat, but luckily had missed all the major organs!
“One down…eight to go!”