So, I had my second encounter with Essex Police yesterday…
Let me start with my mother. She’s 85 has a lymphoma and is undergoing chemo therapy. She lives alone in the stupidly large family home which she can just about manage. The week before last she called me to say she needed to go to the hospital. I shot round to find her suffering from the shakes and a stomach ache, for the former of which she was, apparently, supposed to go straight to hospital since it could be a bad reaction to the chemo. She had phoned for an ambulance and was waiting for a call back from some medical professional. This person did call, asked a long series of questions about her symptoms, then sent the ambulance, which arrived pretty quickly.
The ambulance staff came in, asked the same series of questions while hooking her up to some equipment. By then her shakes were waning and they couldn’t find anything seriously wrong with her (well, besides being 85 and having cancer). However, after a phone call to the Oncology Department they decided to take her in to Broomfield hospital. I followed the ambulance there, stupidly expecting it to take the easy back roads route to the hospital. It didn’t, it instead went right through the middle of Chelmsford during the rush hour. I tried to keep on its tail but with various sets of traffic lights and about five roundabouts to go through I was beginning to lose sight of it. I had also completely forgotten how to get to the hospital via this route and at some point I must have run a red light.
At the hospital I spend about twenty minutes driving around in a two-storey car park searching for a spot to park, then I went into Accident & Emergency where my mother had been taken. There she had an X-ray, blood taken for testing, that list of questions asked again, and frequent checks on her BP etc. The upshot was that a doctor would see her but she could go home. We waited and waited for a doctor but none came, so in the end just checked out and later.
Promptly, a few days after, I got my traffic violation letter from Essex Police. I filled in the form and wrote a covering letter explaining the circumstances. I didn’t expect any leniency.
Maybe a day after this the same thing happened again with my mother: bad shakes, inability to sleep or keep still. I suspected something related to her depression (yeah, she has that too). Sometimes, if you get a bad panic attack it can feel like you’re dying. Phone calls ensued but I baulked at the idea of calling an ambulance again, especially as the shakes were waning again, and in the end took her to the emergency doctor. This quite sharp Asian lady examined her and checked over her reams of prescription sheets.
Apparently she had been prescribed another lot of anti-depressants because the chemo had dragged her down. Now, either the doctor concerned neglected to notice she was already on one lot of pills, neglected to tell her to stop taking them, or my mother failed to take in that she should stop taking the first lot. ‘You don’t take these together,’ said the Asian lady, looking puzzled and slightly alarmed. She told my mother to stop taking the second lot and prescribed diazepam for the shakes and instructed her to see her doctor. This she did and the upshot is that her problems were caused by mixing the anti-depressants.
I next got a phone call from the Essex Police and spoke to someone who wasn’t officious and was quite pleasant. After she got some detail from me she told me they were dropping the charges against me. I subsequently received a letter telling me this along with the line ‘not in the public interest to prosecute’. Well I guess that’s right. The last time I was ever told off by the police for a driving offence was when I was 18 and wasn’t displaying my L-plates correctly. So that was my first encounter with the Essex Police…
On diazepam every day my mother improved enough to go on an outing she had booked some time ago to Thursford. She went this Sunday with a friend, stayed overnight and came back on Monday evening. Shortly after her return I got a phone call. Her house had been broken into. I told her to call the police and then Caroline and I went round. Someone had smashed a back patio door then opened it with the key. This person had rifled through some cupboards and drawers, opened her jewellery box, but beyond the smashed door made surprisingly little mess. He’d (I’m guessing it was a ‘he’) found about £150 she’d kept in a drawer but otherwise seemed to have taken nothing else. I guess he was quite disappointed by the lack of laptops, mobile phones, family silver and by the costume jewellery.
A cop turned up quite rapidly from South Woodham Ferrers and checked out everything. Shortly after he arrived a fingerprint lady turned up (SOCO?) but could find nothing but glove smudges. After she had finished I boarded up and secured the broken door while the cop sat with my mother taking down details and telling her what would happen. Let me add here: pleasant big reassuring bloke and exactly the kind of guy you want turning up. And that, then, was my second encounter with the Essex Police.
Surprisingly, and perhaps sadly, though my reaction to this was, ‘Bastards!’ I didn’t feel hugely irate. This is because a break-in like this is almost a fulfilment of expectation. There are loads of shits out there with no respect for other people’s property. But really I should be very very angry. Back when I used to cut grass and hedges etc. for a living an old lady who was a customer of mine found a burglar in her bedroom. He didn’t harm her then and just fled. However, she died just a few months later and the opinion of her neighbours was that the incident just sapped her will – effectively killed her.
Today’s jobs: sort out a glazier and take a look at some burglar alarms on the internet.
Note: If you go out take the keys out of the inside of your double glazed doors. This won’t stop anyone smashing the glass and getting in, but the burglar will have to knock all the glass out of the door and go through it, increasing the likelihood of him being cut and dripping some blood somewhere. The police like blood.