DONT GO TILL YOU'VE HAD A CUP OF TEA

By Len A.Hynds

I was patrolling my beat along Kennington Park Road, when an elderly lady told me that she had heard calls for help coming from the basement flat of the house next door. I went with her to the premises and could myself hear those plaintive cries for help. Looking through the letterbox, I could see a key on a string, and pulling it through I let myself in.

There was a middle aged lady lying full length on a sofa type bed, moaning pitiably, and rubbing the area near her heart.

She was absolutely obese, and it would not be untrue to say that she was bordering on the mountainous. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me that she had pains around the heart and she was convinced that she was on the verge of dying. Almost constantly, she kept saying, "ooh -ooh - I'm going". I felt her pulse and her heart beats were regular and normal. She was not clammy, and had a fairly healthy colour. I told her not to worry as she appeared to have a strong heart and the pain must be due to something else. The other elderly lady went to phone her doctor, and I made the obese lady and myself a cup of tea. This constant, "Ooh - ooh - oh, I'm going" was being shrieked out, and she was obviously in pain in spasms. I had seen too many people who were about to expire, to know that she wasnít at that time.

The doctor was some time in coming, and that constant shrieking was beginning to get on my nerves. Passing her tea cup for her to drink, I said in sheer frustration, "Donít go until you've had a cup of tea." It was a ludicrous thing to say, and she looked at me in amazement. The funny side of the comment suddenly struck her and she started laughing, until her whole huge body shook, and then suddenly she passed wind, and it was so loud that I swear the furniture vibrated. She then said, still with that smile on her face, "The pain has completely gone."

I stood in the open doorway, and when the doctor arrived, I saw his nose twitch, and he looked at me accusingly. I shook my head vigorously.

I was foolish enough to mention this incident at the station, and for a long time afterwards, some wag would call out, on seeing me about to leave the station, "Donít go yet Len, not till you've had a cup of tea."

The Sergeants were no better, and I entered the front office one day, to see one of our Sergeants on the other side of the counter, bandaging up the knee of an elderly lady who had fallen down outside. I heard him say, "We can deal with anything here love," and looking up and seeing me, "Why that officer there has special training in heart complaints."

Cup of tea