Welcome to another story by Eddie, the eccentric ex-ambulance man.
"OMG", I said, "where are the keys? I can't get into my ambulance, and this guy needs oxygen!"
Earlier, I had collected six renal patients and taken them to a General Hospital, near the sea for Renal Dialysis. The idea was to wait four hours and then pick them up again, take the local ones home first and then those further afield.
This vehicle we affectionately nicknamed "The Sunshine Bus" and I remember seeing the milometer clock through 100,000 miles on that inward journey.
The delightful backdrop was my last port of call, a nursing home, where I collected "Tom" on our way to the Renal Unit. We did this three times a week. Tom was a little backward and I gave him a job to do on the way in, to lookout for speed cameras, which he always remembered, and warned me about. Dear Tom, I think I heard recently he has a new kidney transplant now, which is marvellous.
When I had finished delivering Tom, the last patient I received a call from 'control' to ask if I would go to the general departure lounge and take a gentleman in a wheelchair home.
When I arrived I found the gentleman and noticed he was on oxygen which was no problem for me since I had all the equipment on board. He said he could manage for a few minutes without oxygen while I pushed him in his wheelchair and fixed him up with oxygen in the ambulance.
While I was doing something else a nurse transferred him from a chair to the wheelchair and I said goodbye and proceeded quickly to the ambulance.
When I arrived I looked through my pockets for the keys, only to discover they were not there . . . . I searched again and to my horror they still were not there. I said to the old boy I must have left my keys in the departure lounge and headed back and we quickly got him hooked up with oxygen again.
I explained about the keys and looked everywhere retracing my steps and became concerned that I would not be able to get the six renal patients home. I tried lost property, the reception desk - everywhere.
I reported the matter to control, 25 miles away, who said they had found a spare key and the only person who could bring it down was the managing director - oh dear.
It was then a magical picture appeared in my head. The patient must be sitting on the keys in the wheelchair - it was the only pace they could be. I got back to the departure lounge and got the patient to stand up . . . . . . and there they were staring at me on the seat!! What a relief.
So I was able to stop the MD coming dawn, get the elderly man home with oxygen, and then all the patients home safely.
The nurses were quite amused in the renal unit when I told them.
I must have subconsciously put the keys down whilst attending to something else and meanwhile the nurse sat the patient down onto the keys . . . . .
That is something I made sure never happened again.