Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 21 April 2014
There is one lie in this post
My oldest sister was a Staff Nurse at the children's hospital of Great Ormond Street, London, and now G.E. is sort of following in her footsteps with a paediatric nursing course, albeit in a different London teaching hospital.
I remember my sister coming home with various slightly disturbing stories to do with her work - like being asked to carry a heavy bundle from theatre to the incinerator which turned out to be an adult's leg ("It is surprising how heavy legs are"), and ghost stories about the old building during night-shifts.
One child rang the bell in the middle of the night, so my Sis left her booth office to find out that the kid wanted a glass of water. In the journey back to the office, she somehow forgot the request - probably tired - and when she eventually took the water to the child a half hour later, she found a glass already by the side of the bed, half drunk.
"The nice lady in the long, grey dress brought it to me," explained the kid. The 'nice lady' would have had to walk past her office unseen to have reached the tap and fill the glass, and corresponded nicely to a legendary 'grey lady' who was supposed to haunt the ward.
Then there was the sound of someone running down the long corridor outside and plunging down the open lift-shaft. When Sis went to investigate, the lift was there with the doors closed. This also corresponded to a real accident which happened there many years before.
She once came home with a charming photo of her holding a beautiful, smiling baby in her arms, the both of them bathed in warm sunshine outside. Within hours, she said, the child was dead. That was the worst.
G.E. was taken into a ward recently, and warned not to over-react to the information that every child within it would never leave it, but they would all be gone within weeks.
Which makes me wonder what draws people to this sort of job, despite the obvious fact that someone has to do it, but just not me please. In certain situations, these sort of things are thrust upon you and you just deal with them, but to actually seek them out is almost beyond my understanding.
I have witnessed nasty car accidents before now, where as I ran toward the scene to see if I could help, I had to avoid people running in the opposite direction. This happens all the time, I think.
I was sitting in a wine bar in Bath one night, when there was a metallic scraping and crashing sound, and I looked out of the window to see a car flying through the air, upside down. Everyone sat there gaping in horror, and I was the only one to go outside.
The car was on its roof in the road, with four people trapped inside it. I bent down to see if anyone was badly hurt, and the occupants - shocked and disorientated - were scrabbling around trying to open the bent and jammed doors.
Someone on the high pavement asked me if I needed a crow-bar, and I shouted 'yes' back, even though using ferrous metal against ferrous metal is not a good idea when there maybe petrol flowing about. Because they came back with an unusable, six-foot wrecking-bar, I was not placed in that dilemma.
All the time, I was aware of a young woman sitting on some steps nearby, crying and sobbing uncontrollably. She seemed unhurt, so I thought I would deal with her later.
It dawned on me to instruct the car occupants to unwind the windows, as winders work in an anti-clockwise direction nomatter which way up you are. This did the trick, and soon they scrabbled out with minor cuts and bruises which were attended to by the recently arrived ambulance crew, inside the wine bar.
I went over to the weeping girl and asked her if she was alright. She pointed to an old car parked in front of her and, between sobs, explained that she had just passed her test and this was her first car and now it was ruined. I left the silly cow to it and went back into the bar.
Seeing the police arriving, the driver of the up-turned car tried to make a run for it, but was persuaded to stay put by the drinkers. The police gave him a breath test, and the little red light flickered on. He was arrested on the spot, in full view of the packed bar of drink-drivers.
Most of us left our cars where they were that night, and I caught a bus back to the hamlet where I lived at the time.
Ok, that was a lie. I drove back, but I drove back very carefully - probably too carefully.