The blue lights were flashing on the ambulance as it hurried along the A92 towards the Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy. In the back of the ambulance, paramedics were desperately trying to resuscitate Martine who had taken an overdose of sleeping tablets washed down with a bottle of wine. A neighbour had noticed her blinds were still open even though it was nearly eleven in the evening which was unusual, so she peeked through the lounge window and saw Martine lying on the floor in a pool of vomit.
Despite the neighbour’s attempts to wake her by banging on the door and the window, she remained lifeless on the lounge floor so she immediately dialled 999 and called for an ambulance which had got there in less than ten minutes.
The paramedics managed to gain entry by going around the back where the door was unlocked, probably deliberately, and went straight to Martine. They couldn’t get a response from her and her blood pressure was extremely low so they wasted no more time and carried her to the ambulance where she was hooked up to various fluids.
By the time they arrived at the Victoria hospital, she was beginning to come round.
‘Martine? Can you hear me? I’m a doctor. Can you tell me what happened, please?’ The doctor asked.
There was no response from Martine. She just lay on the bed staring at the brightly lit ceiling, unsure of where she was or what she was doing there.
The doctor persisted with his questions and gradually she responded, firstly by bursting out crying.
‘It’s okay, you are in hospital. We’re going to get you through this.’ The doctor reassured her as the medical staff rushed around monitoring her vital signs and pumping more adrenalin into her to try and bring her around.
Luckily, it appeared that she had not taken a fatal dose of sleeping tablets and after an hour or so she became more lucid.
‘I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to put you all out. I just got desperate. Don’t tell my boys, please!’ She cried.
‘We need to tell someone, can you give me your phone and we will call somebody in your family so they can come and see you.’ The doctor replied.
She handed over her phone and unlocked it through her blurred vision.
‘Call Sam. He’s my son; he’s in Edinburgh.’ She told them.
One of the nurses scrolled through her contacts and found Sam’s number. He answered after a couple of rings and the nurse explained to him what had happened and asked if he could get over to the Victoria hospital as soon as possible.
Sam said he was on his way and should be with them in about an hour. That gave Martine more time to recover and come to her senses and it gave the nurses time to get her on to a ward where she would be closely watched in case she decided to do it again.
She complied with their actions, still sobbing, and regretting what she had done. Bradley wouldn’t be happy, she thought. Another occasion where she had embarrassed him, but she blamed him to an extent. And Brian. And everybody else but herself. Deep down, she knew it was ultimately her fault, but she tried not to admit it.
Sam tried calling Bradley and Brian but got voicemail both times. That wasn’t unusual for Bradley, he hardly ever answered his phone when it rang. That way he could filter out the useful messages from the not so useful as he did get a lot of calls.
He got in his car for the drive over the Forth Bridge to Kirkcaldy and drove as quickly as he could. What had his mother done now? He had been keeping in touch with her regularly and knew her drinking was getting worse, but he never thought she would take an overdose. He would have to discuss with Bradley what to do about her. She would need to go to a clinic to dry out and that was going to cost money. Money he didn’t have with his meagre teacher’s wage, but Bradley could afford easily. It was time for him to step up.
Brian was the first to return Sam’s message. He and Lucy had been out on their terrace having lunch and he didn’t hear the phone ring. Once Sam explained what had happened, Brian expressed his regrets and told him to pass on his best wishes. Just like that. No offers to fly back and be by their sides and all very non-committal. Oh well, they were divorced, he supposed; why should he care about her? Hopefully, Bradley would be more concerned and get back as soon as he could. He was only in Spain so he could be in Kirkcaldy in a few hours.
A few minutes’ later, he got the call from Bradley who sounded more concerned than their dad. However, he explained that he had some important business to discuss which he couldn’t tell anyone about, and there was no way he could just up and go in the middle of it. He would be there as soon as he could, and in the meantime he asked Sam to give her his love.
Now Sam realised just how neglected his mum had been. He was partly at fault as well. He only lived thirty minutes away but he didn’t make much effort to go and see her. Not once her drinking had spiralled out of control as she wasn’t great company. This was a cry for help from her family and it was time to do something about it.
He arrived at the hospital in 45 minutes as the roads were pretty clear at that time of the evening. At reception, he asked where his mother was to be found, thanked the receptionist and followed the signs to her ward. He found her asleep in her bed with a nurse sitting with her.
‘Hello, I’m her son, Sam. How is she?’ Sam asked the nurse with concern.
‘Hello Sam, she’s doing much better now. She will make a full recovery so no need to worry. I’ll get the doctor to speak to you shortly.’ She told him as he sat next to her bed and held his mum’s hand.
Sam looked at her drink ravaged features and wept.
‘I’m so sorry, mum. I should have been there for you. We’ll get you sorted out, don’t worry. Bradley will be here as soon as he can and we can arrange for you to get professional help.’
She responded slowly, opening her eyes and looking at her son’s face.
‘No, I’m sorry Sam. What have I done? I didn’t mean it.’ She started crying too.
Just then, the doctor arrived at her bed and introduced himself to them both. He explained exactly what had happened and told her she must stop drinking immediately or she wasn’t going to last another six months as her liver was in a terrible state. His manner was caring, yet serious and it was at that point that it was brought home to Martine. She had nearly killed herself and would continue to kill herself slowly if she carried on drinking. She promised she would never touch another drop, although all alcoholics make these promises, but Sam noticed she did look as if she meant it this time.
Sam told her again that they would arrange for professional help and if it meant her spending months in a drying out clinic, then that’s what she will have to do. She didn’t argue, but just lay there, still sobbing.
They needed Bradley here to sort this out, but in the meantime Sam spoke to the doctor privately about where the best place to send her would be, bearing in mind that money was not a problem. That way, he could just present Bradley with the details and the bill when he did put in an appearance.