Sunday morning and by 11h30 ,some 83 patients have booked in from when we opened at 08h00.
There is the usual mix of PFO-wrists;PFO-ankles; one patient who was caught 'drunk-in-charge-of-a-leftover-turkey';patients with colds;patients with coughs;patients indeed,with both a cough and a cold;and a young lady...well...I say lady...who has clearly tried to replace her circulating blood volume with a mixture of alcohol and sperm...that Pelvic-Inflammatory-Disease shuffle is recognisable at 50 meters.
And she feels nauseous.
And is clutching a cardboard vomit bowl given to her by the ever-trusty Julian.
It is so busy that patients are queuing outside the department into the parking lot;there is a three hour wait to see a Practitioner;and the Christmas decorations are being steadily destroyed by the rotten kids who have been brought in because they are soooooo sick.
All that stands between the hordes of Genghis Khan and the four practitioners working inside are the two clerks at the reception desk.
They are an unlikely pairing.There is Big-Bosomed,Bottle-Blond,Battleaxe-Betty who we call B6...or ,more often, "Vitamin" as in Vitamin B6...(geddit??)(apologies to Private Eye)
An aging, 'already slightly-past-her-prime when she was 20', blowsy, pink-lipsticked woman of strong opinion,she is nevertheless quite good at what she does,is often up for a laugh,but suffers from that typical REMF-person belief,that hers' is the most important job/role/position in the entire company/Unit.
Working with her today is Di...Di Oxin...who by her own admission is a 'party-animal'. Or,as we say in Johannesburg , a drunk.
She is -frankly-, gorgeous, with a sweet heart-shaped face,long flowing chestnut coloured hair and all the necessary perky,pointy out anatomical bits that make women so attractive to men.
But she is stupid.
Dear Lord,she is stupid.
She wears a wrist watch that is made for blind people,one that tells you the time when you press a button because she is unable to work out all the complicated 'big-hand,little-hand' relationship stuff.
She is 'hyena' stupid.
Which is to say that if you slept with her,and woke up first in the morning and found her lying in your arms,that you would chew your arm off at the shoulder rather than try to engage her in any meaningful or intelligent conversation.
And so , there we are working feverishly away...I too have a temperature...(geddit?)
Suddenly a shout of "help" rings through the Unit.
I rush out of my cubicle,stopping only to pick up my PDA and then my stethoscope...and my prescription pad...and then the chocolate bar hidden under my computer...to find both Vitamin and Di standing at the Nurses Station,with the door to the reception closed firmly behind them.
"Whats wrong ?"
There is a woman at the desk ,shouts Di,who has vomited...into a bowl...and we don't know what to do with it!!!
"What !?! You've come running and shouting into the department taking us away from our patients because someone has vomited ?!? Are you freaking serious !?!"
Well I don't know what to do with it , wails Di
"What do you mean...you don't know what to do with it ?"
Well I'm not an air hostess, she snaps
"Good grief ...have you never carried a bowl of warm soup from your kitchen to your dining room without spilling it ?"
Well......yes......I suppose I have
But I haven't been trained to carry vomit bowls,she wails again
"Trained ? Trained !!"
"Imagine its a bowl of soup then !"
"And...by the way...they are called 'cabin crew' these days"