(continued from The King of King’s Road (10))
The homeless man continued to lay in a coma at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. The nurses kept a close watch of his vital signs and meticulously recorded every change in his status. The patient’s anonymity had no impact on their vigilance. Each day the consultant in charge called the Chelsea Fire Station to report on the patient’s condition.
The firemen sat around playing poker and speculated on the identity and history of the homeless man and worried for his recovery. They remarked on his non-communicative nature and how little he ate. They talked about his peculiar obsession and skill with the Rubik’s Cube. They discussed his prowess with a deck of cards and fondness for the William Hill betting shop. They agreed that their mysterious neighbour was an intelligent man who gambled away everything he had. They resolved to help him get professional care if he survived his current condition.
One of the firemen went to see the Head Minister at the Chelsea Methodist Church on The King’s Road near the fire station. The Head Minister also served as Chair of the West London Churches Homeless Concern, which he ran out of his church. He explained that the Homeless Concern was a collective effort of the local churches of various denominations that offered night shelter in the winter months to the homeless people in the local community. They also offered laundry, showers and food year-round, and provided a case worker who could help get identity papers, medical services and mental health care.
The fireman explained about the homeless man who he and his colleagues had adopted. The minister smiled and acknowledged that he was aware of the man who had been sleeping next to the fire station. He had offered to help the homeless man on several occasions with no success. The minister agreed to try again and promised to visit the hospital if he regained consciousness. Feeling a sense of hope and accomplishment, the fireman returned to his colleagues and reported on his conversation with the minister. They all agreed that they would help the minister in whatever way they could if the homeless man survived.
After four days and nights, the homeless man continued to lay in a coma at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.