An Extract From The Book: Jimmy Spence 8th Of June 1974 By Kelvin Rush.
The ambulance drove out of the school car park and headed down the main road to the hospital a few miles away. Jimmy had finally stopped crying and was feeling a little better, thanks to the support of Mrs Cartwright and Trev the paramedic. Twenty minutes later the ambulance pulled up outside A&E. Jimmy’s mother Carol was already waiting in the reception area. After she’d spoken with Mr Brown on the phone, she’d been driven to the hospital at high speed by her next door neighbour Mr Barkley. He was lucky not to get a speeding ticket, as he raced through the streets in his clapped-out Rover P5 Saloon.
You could hear him coming from a mile away, as the loud deafening noise bellowed from his loose exhaust pipe. It also left a trail of thick black smoke in its wake. Mr Barkley had painted the bottom half of the car dark grey, which made it look rather distinctive, considering the top half was bright red. ‘Don’t drive so fast Mr Barkley, I don’t think Jimmy’s going to die, or anything like that,’ said a rather nervous Carol. It turns out Mr Barkley drives that fast all the time. Carol won’t be getting back into his car anytime soon.
Trev and Sid removed the stretcher from the back of the ambulance, raised the legs and pushed Jimmy through the large double electric doors and into the reception area, followed by Mrs Cartwright. Carol rushed towards the stretcher and gave Jimmy a big hug, smothering him in kisses all over his face. Although Jimmy was overjoyed to see his mum, he screamed out in pain, as she’d accidentally knocked his lump. ‘Be careful mum! Mind the lump!’ Carol was alarmed when she saw how big the lump was on Jimmy’s forehead. ‘Oh you poor love, does it hurt?’
‘It does when someone touches it mum!’
‘Oh I’m sorry love I didn’t realise.’ Mrs Cartwright recognised Carol from one of their previous encounters. They’d met at a parents evening a few months before. ‘Hello Carol,’ she said with a warm friendly smile. ‘We met at the parents evening if you remember.’
‘Oh that’s right Mrs Cartwright, how are you?’
‘I’m fine thanks Carol, I’m so sorry about Jimmy.’
‘What on earth happened Mrs Cartwright?’
Mrs Cartwright spent the next ten minutes telling Carol the whole story, while Trev gave details of the incident to the nurse at the reception desk. Luckily for Jimmy, there wasn’t a lot of people in A&E, so he wouldn’t have to wait that long to see a doctor. There was a fattish man in dirty overalls, who was holding what looked like a tea towel, tightly to his head. The towel was covered in blood, and the man looked in a great deal of pain. There was also an elderly lady in a wheelchair reading a magazine, and a few other people scattered around the plastic chairs. It would have been a different story on a Friday or Saturday night. A&E would have been heaving with wounded casualties, involved in drunken fights and domestic incidents.
Another twenty minutes went by and Jimmy was beginning to get really fed up. He was still lying flat on his back on the stretcher, and the neck brace was making his head hot and sweaty. And he still had a throbbing headache. ‘How long do I need to keep this thing on mi neck for Trev?’ he asked. ‘It won’t be long now son, hang in there, you’ll be seeing the doctor soon.’ Five minutes later Trev and Sid wheeled Jimmy down the main corridor, and into a small room to be examined by the doctor. Carol and Mrs Cartwright were right behind. Trev and Sid gently lifted Jimmy off the stretcher and onto the treatment table. This was the end of the journey for the two paramedics, they’d done all they could for Jimmy, and now it was time to get back to the ambulance, ready to respond to the next incident.
‘We’re off now,’ said Trev. ‘The doctor will take it from here.’
‘Thank you so much for all your help,’ said Mrs Cartwright. ‘You’ve both been brilliant!’
‘Yeah, thanks for everything,’ said Carol.
‘Our pleasure,’ said Trev, as he leant over and ruffled Jimmy’s hair. ‘See ya Jimmy,’ he said. ‘Look after yourself lad.’
‘See ya son,’ said Sid. ‘Watch out for those flying hockey balls next time.’
Jimmy got all emotional once again, as he tried desperately hard not to cry. His bottom lip began to quiver, and seconds later tears were streaming down his face. He just about managed to hold it together, to thank the paramedics. ‘See ya Trev, see ya Sid. Thank you for looking after me.’
‘Anytime son.’ ‘Yeah anytime,’ replied the paramedics before leaving the room, pushing the stretcher.
Shortly after, the doctor arrived. He was a Pakistani doctor with short thick black hair, parted down the left hand side. He also had a really bushy greying mustache, that covered both his lips. He sat down on the edge of the treatment table and smiled at Jimmy. ‘Hello I’m Doctor Hurst, and what have you been up to young man?’
‘He’s been hit with a hockey ball doctor,’ said Carol. ‘I’m his Mum.’ Doctor Hurst looked surprised. ‘Hmm….. hit with a hockey ball? How long have you been playing hockey young man?’ Jimmy started laughing. ‘I don’t play hockey. I was running around the football pitch warming up with the rest of the class. The girls were playing hockey, and I got whacked with a hockey ball right in the head. It knocked me out cold. Didn’t it Mrs Cartwright?’ Mrs Cartwright nodded vigorously. ‘Yeah, it knocked him out cold doctor.’
Doctor Hurst looked even more surprised. ‘Knocked him out cold did it? Well, well, well. We’d better get you checked out then young man.’ Doctor Hurst leaned over and took a good look at Jimmy’s lump, before prodding it gently with his right forefinger. ‘Hmm….. hmm, that’s a nasty one young man, does it hurt?’ Jimmy grimaced. ‘It does when someone touches it.’
‘Oh I’m very sorry young man,’ said Doctor Hurst, as he ruffled Jimmy’s hair. (I wish people would leave my hair alone thought Jimmy.) ‘We need to get an ice pack on that straight away young man, to get the swelling down.’ Doctor Hurst then looked at Jimmy’s notes on his clip board. ‘Oh yes, blood pressure is normal, and you don’t have a concussion. How are you feeling young man?’
‘I’m fine doctor, although this thing around my neck is too tight, and I’ve got a throbbing headache.’
‘Not to worry young man, we’ll get you sorted.’ Doctor Hurst then took out a slim torch from his white coat pocket. (Not again thought Jimmy.)
‘Look straight ahead young man,’ he said, as he shone the bright light into Jimmy’s eyes. ‘Well everything seems to be fine. Any sickness or dizziness?’
‘No, none,’ replied Jimmy. Doctor Hurst turned off the torch and shoved it back into his coat pocket. He then removed a ballpoint pen attached to his lapel, and wrote down a few notes on Jimmy’s file. ‘I think we can take that neck brace off now young man. There’s no evidence of internal bleeding in the brain, or damage of any kind. You don’t need a CT scan or any further tests.’
‘Are you sure he’s ok doctor?’ asked Carol. ‘Yes, he’s ok. He’s took a nasty whack on the head, but he’ll survive. We’ll get an ice pack on that lump straight away, and get him some medication for the headache. He can then go home.’ The relief on Carol’s face was obvious. Now she was overcome with emotion and burst out crying. She started blubbering like a two-year-old, who’d just dropped her ice cream on the floor. She had to be consoled by Mrs Cartwright who gave her a compassionate hug to calm her down. ‘What about school doctor?’ asked Jimmy, who was feeling a lot better all of a sudden, and had acquired a sparkle in his eyes from somewhere.
‘Hmm….. well young man, you can’t go to school until that lump has gone down. I should give it at least three days.’ Jimmy’s face lit up like Blackpool illuminations on a dark December night, even the lump looked pleased. No concussion, no brain damage, three days off school, and a beautiful close encounter with Julie Richardson. Things didn’t seem so bad after all. Doctor Hurst ruffled Jimmy’s hair once again. ‘Right young man, the nurse will be here shortly to sort you out. Now look after yourself and don’t go heading any more hockey balls.’ Jimmy smiled broadly, relieved that he would finally be going home. ‘I won’t doctor, and thank you,’ he said. ‘Yes thank you for all your help doctor,’ said Carol and Mrs Cartwright. Doctor Hurst then left the room.
‘Hey that’s alright int it mum?’ said Jimmy all excited. ‘Three days off school, that’s what the doctor said.’
‘I’m not bothered how many days you have off school love. All I’m concerned with is getting you better,’ replied Carol, who’d finally stopped crying, and was also relieved to be going home. ‘Can you imagine if I was playing football mum, and I headed the ball with mi lump? WOW! How painful would that be!?’
‘Oooh, it doesn’t even bear thinking about love,’ said Carol, as she screwed up her face, as if she could feel the pain. A few minutes later the nurse came in, holding an ice pack. ‘Hello, I’m Nurse Sharpe,’ she said. ‘Right, where’s this poorly footballer I keep hearing about?’ Jimmy raised his right hand.
‘Here I am nurse, the one and only Jimmy Spence, the egghead himself.’ Nurse Sharpe smiled as she sat down next to Jimmy. She looked in amazement at the sheer size of the lump. ‘WOW WEE! Ya right there Jimmy, it’s the size of an ostrich egg if you ask me.’ She then touched it very gently with her left thumb. Surprisingly Jimmy didn’t feel a thing. However, he did get a real good whiff of her perfume, which was a welcome relief from the sweat and B.O. coming from his body.
Nurse Sharpe was about the same age as Jimmy’s mum, with shoulder length curly hair, (a kind of reddish-brown colour). She was wearing a very smart nurse’s uniform. It was a navy blue dress with white cuffs and a white collar. She also wore a white hat attached to the top of her head, (a bit like the cooks wear at school, but not as big). And she had a dark blue elasticated belt around her waist, with a silver buckle in the middle.
Jimmy counted the number of pens in her top pocket. There were five in total, two with tops, three without, probably a mixture of blue and black ink. And she had a small silver pocket watch, pinned to her left chest. Despite Jimmy’s best efforts, he couldn’t quite make out what the time was.
‘Ya smell nice nurse,’ he said.
‘Don’t be cheeky Jimmy!’ snapped Carol.
‘That’s ok,’ said Nurse Sharpe. ‘Funnily enough a few people have said that today. It’s a new perfume I’m trying out called Estee Lauder. My husband got me a bottle for my birthday.’ Carol was impressed. ‘Oh I really love Estee Lauder, it’s a bit out of my price range though. There’s a stall in the market that sells it, it’s a bit cheaper than the normal price, but it’s still expensive. I’ve had a few free sample squirts.’
‘Why don’t you ask dad to get you a bottle for ya birthday mum?’ suggested Jimmy.
‘Yeah, I might just do that love,’ said Carol. Although Nurse Sharpe smelt nice, she didn’t smell as nice as Julie Richardson, thought Jimmy.
‘Right Jimmy, first things first, let’s get that neck brace off,’ said Nurse Sharpe. She put the ice pack down on the table, leant over and released the two velcro straps on the neck brace, before carefully removing it. Jimmy was so relieved and began rubbing his neck frantically with both hands. ‘Thank god for that!’ he said. Nurse Sharpe then handed him the ice pack. (It was actually a blue, round pleated fabric bag, full of ice cubes, with a white plastic screw top.) ‘Hold it on the lump love, it will reduce the swelling. Try not to press too hard.’ Jimmy took the ice pack and gently eased it onto his lump. It was very soothing, and instantly reduced the throbbing pain. He then dabbed it all over his hot flushed face and neck.
‘Right Jimmy you can sit up now love,’ said Nurse Sharpe. ‘Take your time, you might feel a bit dizzy.’ Jimmy slowly sat up and swung his legs over the side of the treatment table. His face was as red as his Liverpool football shirt, and his hair was all over the place, (thanks to some people giving it a good ruffle). Nurse Sharpe handed him a paracetamol and a glass of water for his headache. ‘Here love take this,’ she said. Jimmy put the tablet on his tongue and took a mouthful of water. He swallowed the tablet before gulping down the rest of the water and handing back the empty glass. ‘Thank you nurse,’ he said. Nurse Sharpe then gave Carol a box of paracetamol. ‘Give him one tablet every four hours until the pain goes away,’ she said. ‘Oh thank you nurse,’ replied Carol, as she pushed the box into the back pocket of her faded denim jeans. ‘Right then,’ announced Nurse Sharpe. ‘You can all go home now.’
‘Great!’ shouted Jimmy.
‘Thank you for all your help nurse,’ said Carol. ‘Thank you,’ said Jimmy. Nurse Sharpe smiled. ‘My pleasure.’ Then right on cue, she gave Jimmy’s hair yet another good ruffle. ‘See ya love,’ she said. ‘Keep using the ice pack until the swelling goes down.’ She then left the room.
Jimmy kept the ice pack on his lump for as long as he could stand the coldness. Twenty seconds a time was his limit. It was certainly very soothing for his red sore lump, but it was also freezing his brain, just like it does when you eat ice cream too quickly. ‘What about this ice pack mum? Is it ours to take home?’ Carol thought for a few seconds. ‘I suppose it is love yeah. We can always get ya dad to bring it back when you’ve finished with it.’ Jimmy looked disappointed.
‘Oh no mum, I’d like to keep it if I can. Ya know like as a souvenir, to remind me of this eventful day. After all, I’ve had a close encounter with an unknown kind.’ Carol looked puzzled. ‘A close encounter with an unknown kind? What do ya mean love?’ Jimmy realised he’d said too much. The unknown kind was of course Julie Richardson, and he certainly had no intentions of telling anyone about her, and certainly not his mum. ‘Oh it’s nowt mum, I’m just messing about.’
Shortly after, they left the treatment room and headed down the corridor to the reception area. The three of them sat down on the plastic chairs near the entrance. ‘How are you getting home Carol?’ asked Mrs Cartwright. ‘Oh, my husband’s picking us up straight from work. He should be here soon. We can give you a lift if you like.’ Mrs Cartwright looked well pleased. ‘That would be great Carol. It saves me getting a taxi. Thank you.’ Carol took hold of Mrs Cartwright’s left hand. ‘Oh no Mrs Cartwright, thank you! You’ve been a godsend! Me and Jimmy really appreciate it, don’t we Jimmy?’
‘Yes we do, thank you Mrs Cartwright.’
‘You really don’t have to thank me. I’m just relieved you’re ok Jimmy. Now you won’t come back to school until you’re fully fit will you?’
‘I don’t think there’s any chance of that Mrs Cartwright, is there Jimmy?’ smiled Carol, as she let go of Mrs Cartwright’s hand. Jimmy was about to say something, when he caught sight of his dad Brian, walking through the entrance doors. He leapt up from his chair still holding the ice pack on his head. He ran into his dad’s arms, and once again burst into tears. As ever, Brian was the calming figure and soon put Jimmy at ease.
‘Now let’s have a look at ya son,’ he said, as he knelt down in front of Jimmy and began wiping away the tears with his fingers. Jimmy stood there red-eyed with a snotty runny nose, feeling all sorry for himself. He removed the ice pack from his head to show Brian the lump. ‘Wow! that’s a big one son! I’ve never seen one that big before! does it hurt?’
‘Everyone keeps asking me that dad. Yeah it does hurt a bit, but the ice pack is helping.’ Jimmy then put the ice pack on Brian’s face. ‘Feel how cold it is dad,’ he said giggling, as he wiped his runny nose with his shirt sleeve. Brian pulled his face away immediately. ‘Whooo that is cold son. It’s colder than a polar bear’s foot. Now keep it on ya lump son, let’s get that swelling down.’
Just then Carol and Mrs Cartwright stood up. Carol gave Brian a loving hug, followed by a peck on the cheek. ‘This is Mrs Cartwright Brian. She’s a teacher at Jimmy’s school. She’s been looking after him. You’ve met before at the parents evening, if you remember.’ Brian shook Mrs Cartwright’s hand. ‘Oh hello Mrs Cartwright, yes I do remember, how are you? Thank you for looking after Jimmy, we really appreciate it.’
‘Hello Brian, I’m fine thank you. I’m so sorry about Jimmy, it was a freak accident. I’m sure he’ll be ok though. No doubt Carol will fill you in with all the details.’
‘I said we’d give Mrs Cartwright a lift home Brian, is that ok?’ asked Carol. ‘Yes of course it is love, I think that’s the least we can do. Right let’s get going.’
A few minutes later they were all in Brian’s car heading for home.
An Extract From The Book: Jimmy Spence 8th Of June 1974 By Kelvin Rush.