Poacher turned gamekeeper


Andrew safely home with cat bite wounds dressed.
Andrew safely home with cat bite wounds dressed.

On Boxing Day, foolishly Andrew joked that it had been a while since we had been to A&E. Then earlier this evening, Scholastica was sitting on Andrew’s knee and he had to get up to check on the apple crumble. Yes Andrew is a great maker of apple crumble.

Scholastica is deaf. Sometimes she panics if you try to move her and she does not know that that is what you are about to do. Tonight, she panicked. Bit Andrew’s right index finger. He says it felt like it went right down to the bone.

Remember, I am a First Aider. St John training kicked in (as well as a good dose of being a Scout leader too). We went straight to the bathroom. Ran cold water over the wound—it was only after doing so that we realised it was three not one. After cleaning the wound, and drying it with the closest clean cloth we had (a facecloth that had only just been put back on the pile after being through the laundry), I took a plaster out of the box and placed it on his finger covering as many wounds as we could.

At this point, Andrew started going into shock. We laid him down on the ground, head on the floor, feet elevated and resting on the side of the bath. Richard, the tabby cat that we nicknamed Cœur-de-Lion, arrived in the bathroom to check on his two daddies. He sat on Andrew’s chest and helped to keep him calm. At this point, with the casualty safely resting where he couldn’t get into any more trouble (well, not easily), I consulted the First Aid Manual on animal bites. It suggested that if a deep wound was suspected that we should go immediately to hospital and seek medical attention, preferably calling an ambulance to get there.

Well, we live in Gibraltar. To be more specific we live on Main Street in Gibraltar, about five minutes’ walk away from St Bernard’s Hospital, and Andrew said that he could walk there. Well, we got him off the floor, and then sat on a chair in the living room, whilst I darted about collecting his health card, house keys, taking laundry off the heaters, and switching off the oven with the apple crumble in it. We decided that if it was better to switch off and start again than to leave it and have it burnt.

With everything ready, including both our Kindles in case of long waits (can you tell we’ve been to A&E elsewhere before?), we set off. Across Irish Town, along Line Wall Road, down the American Steps and on towards St Bernard’s. On arrival we made our way to A&E, made ourselves known to reception (fortunately they didn’t say “Oh you again!”), and after a short wait (very short not like the City Hospital, Belfast), we were shown into triage.

The triage nurse took brief medical history, and took us to examine the wounds properly. She further cleansed them, and dressed them. She then did a quick check to make sure that Andrew had Tetanus immunity. Fortunately he did, so no needles required. We were sent back on our way.

We are now back home, the apple crumble is back on, with about ten minutes to go.

Tonight, Andrew got me back. For all the times when he has been up to A&E in the Ulster Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, and the Belfast City Hospital, looking after me — even when we were not going out together. (Honest, we weren’t going out when I had that dreadful migraine in November 2010. And yes, I do still know the name of the cute paramedic who came to take me to the Ulster. If you’re reading Paul, many thanks.) Seriously, it felt very strange for me to be the responsible adult and him to be the patient. But thank you to St John for training me and at least the skills have been put to good use.

If you are reading this, and don’t think you would have known what to do, please consider going on a First Aid course. I highly recommend the St John courses, for further information on local St John organisations please visit St John International. There are other First Aid trainers as well. But I am in St John so I recommend them.

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