Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Civil Society 101-A course for beginners

So there I was on Sunday morning,fresh back to work after a combination of rest-days, Annual Leave days, and a stinking cold, -courtesy of flying economy class back from Johannesburg-, had given me an unprecedented 19 days away from work.

I was rested,relaxed,rejuvenated.Restored.Revitalised even.

I had washed my hair,moisturized my face,squeezed some blackheads,loaded a fresh cartridge into my fountain pen...I had even put on underpants...freshly laundered as the weather forecast was for a hot and humid day.

I was determined to have a good day...why not...it was,after all,the first day of the rest of my life!


The first patient on the most beautiful morning , still and cool with the sun rising over the gas works was a man of 50 who said that he had a painful knee and was wondering if he should buy a knee support.

On discovering that his knee had been bothering him for over two years,but that today was the first day that he could fit a visit to a hospital into his busy busy schedule of ...well...nothing really since he was unemployed...I duly advised him to buy the most expensive knee guard that I could find on a quick google search.
He left happy with my concern and advice.

I still felt marginally happy.

Fortunately that feeling passed when I met the second patient of the day.She was a young woman of 19 who had been out dancing with her friends and who had slipped and fallen in the nightclub and hit her head on the floor.
She thought she may have been unconscious...her three friends were adamant that she hadn't lost consciousness.

All were in agreement that she had vomited later...but they had all vomited later.
It was unnecessary to tell me that as their clothes were still soiled with flecks of their 4-a.m. kebabs...

"So...you're really not sure if you passed out or not?"

And in the dulcet tones of a virginal novice Nun offering the visiting Bishop an extra piece of shortbread,she replied...

Well...I dunno do I...I was pissed weren't I?


Now there are a number of questions that you routinely ask "head injury" patients which in the UK include asking them the "day and date(today)/place(where they are currently)/person (ie what do you think I do)/name of Prime Minister/name of the Monarch

Taking a reviving bite from the first of many many bars of choccie for the day,I started to gamely work through the list...

"So...do you know the name of the Prime Minister?"

The Prime Minister? Why would I know his name?He's nothing to me...I'm a mum!!

"Hummh...well...Mrs Thatcher might disagree with you"

Who is she then...your boss?

"Oy...so...what do for a living then?"

Nuffink...I'm a single mum on benefits arn't I?

"Uh huh...so...where do you think your benefit money comes from then?"

Sniggering and looking at her idiot friends for support she pointed at me and said....

Well...from people who work ...like you!

"Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay...and who do you think decides to give you your money ?"

I dunno...the 'Social' I suppose...

"Well...actually its principally the PM and the cabinet ...do you by any chance know the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?"

Yer what...you made that name up didn't you?

(Good grief!)

Julian stuck his head through the door...

"Excuse me Lucien...but the 'Village' just called. They said they were missing their idiot...I couldn't really understand them, but I think they were saying the name of your patient."

Honestly...she should be lucky to have a bleed in her head...at least there would be something in there to keep her ears apart.


  1. love it! nothing like 15 minutes at work to erase any potential rest and relaxation from the holiday!

  2. "And in the dulcet tones of a virginal novice Nun offering the visiting Bishop an extra piece of shortbread"
    ... oh my my, the images that presents ... :)

  3. i just got back from a jo-burg flight too. when on the flight they asked for a doctor. NO one stood up. so then they asked for a nurse. NO One stood up. eventually i detached the baby from the nipple and handed it to a priest sitting next to me and went off to see a VERY dead body in the gally at the back of the plane. THANKFULLY an orthopaedic surgeon also was there so i returned to my screaming baby and continued to suckle. PLEASE ADVISE ME NOW: what happens to dead bodies on planes. how do you keep it flat? is there a special storage space or is keeping is flat not a problem. we always try and keep them flat in hospital. maybe you just ask someone to move out of business class? maybe the priest would have been happy to sit next to it? Shit i was scared hey.....imagine if i had had to do mouth to mouth or something.