Ambulance stories (20)

The expansive tattoo

People may be forgiven for believing that having tattoos is a fairly recent thing. It seems that all young people have at least one these days, and most pop stars, and famous actors, are covered in them, to different degrees. This is not the case of course; they have been around for thousands of years.

One afternoon, we were called to a local old peoples’ home, to transport an elderly lady into hospital. She was suffering with arthritis, and needed to go for x-rays, and possible admission, due to her general lack of mobility. On arrival, we were shown to her room, where we met a very friendly and chatty old lady, with an outgoing personality, and a ready wit. We were handed a doctor’s letter, and helped her from her bed, onto our ambulance trolley, making her as comfortable as possible, in the circumstances. Once in the ambulance, she adjusted the blankets covering her, as she felt too hot. I noticed some discolouration on her upper chest, and thought it might be bruising. I asked her if she had any pain there, and told her my suspicions that she may be bruised in that region. She just chuckled, and winked at me. ‘ I’ll show you something lovey’, she said, with a wicked grin.

Before I could protest, she lowered her night-dress, revealing her entire torso. What she was trying to show me, seemed to be a picture of some kind, a huge tattoo, covering the entire top half of her chest. I could make out sails and a hull, and what could have been waves. Unfortunately, age had not been kind to her body, and her once proud breasts now resembled a cross between deflated, week-old party balloons, and two un-stuffed pitta breads. This made definition of her work of art difficult. She told me that she had had the tattoo done in 1940, when she was 19 years old. At that time, few women had these, and the only types that did, were either entertainers of some kind, or prostitutes. ‘I wasn’t on the stage, so I will leave you to work it out son’, she said with a cackle. ‘It is HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship, and it was very popular during the War’, she added.

I can only imagine the many hours that she must have sat for this work to be completed, the pain endured, and the substantial cost involved. I gave her a wry smile, and said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you, but it looks like it is going down with all hands.’ She laughed so hard, that she almost choked on her teeth, and had to take them out, and hold them in her hand, until her guffaws subsided. It was at times like this, that I really loved my job.

45 thoughts on “Ambulance stories (20)

  1. A very funny and charming story which, along with its confirmation of the fabled, underlying strength and humor of the British people, one thing stands out, which is that people who get themselves tattooed should never grow old! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The weird thing is that around here, I see people my own age, who well know by now what the once proud flesh is heir to, getting themselves tattooed. It’s a form of madness that chem trails and fluoride in the water can’t fully explain. Do you fellows have chem trails over there or is that only a conspiracy of the American branch of the Dark Force? Happy Easter! We continued having Easter egg hunts for our unmarried and childless sons until the oldest one turned 37. Then we let it go. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t know what chem trails are, Charlie, but I am sure someone in England does. We definitely have flouride in the water though, as well as some ‘secret stuff’, no doubt!
          That 37 year-old son of yours must be missing his seasonal treats. πŸ™‚
          Best wishes, Pete.


  2. What a great story, Pete! Really enjoyed that one. I’ve not been commenting as much lately, because it annoys me having to log on (twice) each and every time, also I can’t β€˜like’ without logging on yet again. But I still read everything, rest assured!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a mystery to me, Marina. I don’t have my ‘Discussion’ set to that at all. It should allow any comments from someone, after their first ever one is approved by me.

      Like this.
      Before a comment appears.
      ‘Comment must be manually approved.’
      ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment.’
      I have ticked the second option.

      Another WP anomaly, perhaps?
      Glad you liked the story. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.


  3. Reblogged this on beetleypete and commented:

    There was mention of tattoos in a recent post, and that reminded me of this Ambulance Story, from 2012. A couple of you will remember it, but most readers have never seen it.


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