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.

37 comments:

  1. I used to work for a paediatric surgical oncologist as a secretary and saw the families and kids all the time. I came home on several days in tears but for the most part, I felt very privileged to have had the opportunity to meet these children. The strength and courage in them was awe inspiring and I gained a great deal of knowledge and insight from the kids and their families. Years after some of them died, the parents would send cards to the office or stop me if the saw me outside of the hospital. They remember and are grateful for every person that showed them and their child compassion and care during their illness, and the nurses were the ones they most connected with because they gave so much to the kids. I truly believe that nursing terminal children is incredibly special. The good nurses will always be remembered,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that aspect must have its own rewards - bitter-sweet ones.

      Delete
    2. Chania
      A good medical sec is worth their weight in gold

      Delete
    3. Worth more than 10,000 hospital 'managers', I dare say.

      Delete
  2. A friend of mine worked nights in a hospital which used to be a Victorian workhouse. He swears that he saw a woman in a long dress such as you describe walk towards a hospital building and simply disappear into a solid stone wall. My friend was stone cold sober at the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a lot of them around, it seems.

      Delete
    2. Sober friends or ghosts?

      Delete
    3. Not many of the former around here.

      Delete
  3. You identified the lie at the very end. I was reading carefully to try and spot it and then it was wasted. Sometimes it is better that people who cannot deal with accident situations walk away and leave it to those who can and those who turn away should not be condemned. I was once involved in such a situation and I was best on the telephone and my brother was best with the injured.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was just a tiny fraction of your time which I have already wasted, if what you say is anything to go by, or unless you tell more lies than I do.

      Delete
    2. I was trying to be nice. Read my comment properly. I meant it seriously. I know you may find this hard to believe/

      Delete
    3. Get a grip of yourself.

      Delete
    4. I find it hard to tell the difference.

      I can't believe you are tell ME to get a grip of myself. Anyway, thanks for being nice, or at least not being nasty.

      Delete
  4. Never in a million years could I contemplate being a nurse - particularly to the dying and even more particularly to children. I am in awe of anyone who can do such work - just as I feel about John working in intensive care. Horses for courses I say, and this horse is a million miles away from the racecourse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat, I could never be a farmer if Herriot si anything to go by, having to stand un the line of fire holding the cow's tail while the vet trie to manipulate his hand up it's orifice.

      Delete
    2. I'm gonna have to learn to type slower, I'm making far too many typos.

      Delete
    3. 'Arm', not 'hand', Gwil. I don't want to attend to the anal glands of dogs either. I would rather sacrifice the carpets.

      Delete
  5. People are surprising. Often it's the one you least expect who is able to best deal with a crises...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Broad - I agree.
      I noticed this when my father was dying. Some of us were really good at the day-to-day stuff. The ones who weren't handled everything so well and clear after he died.

      Delete
    2. It all boils down to how you feel about wiping your own parent's backsides. Simple as that.

      Delete
  6. I remember being shown a picture of Florence Nightingale, lamp aloft, as a child and being convinced that she was an arsonist.

    I have always been suspicious of nurses since my father brought a pineapple (next thing to gold dust at that time) into the ward where I was parked, to be shared amongst the kids. The nurses ate it.

    I can remember driving home very carefully on the back roads after a well watered evening only to be stopped by the police for driving too slowly....they very kindly decided that one of my tyres was bald and that I should produce the car, with replaced tyre, at their station at the end of the week.
    A fine in disguise, but a nice gesture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very wise not to trust nurses
      ...when I am approaching you with an emema
      I shall remind you of that statement

      Delete
    2. Sounds lie you deserved everything you got to me, Fly.

      I have never trusted nurses since I discovered what raving easy shags they all are, when I was still in the game.

      I knew a geriatric nurse (her patients not her) who would dose-up a dying person with oxygen if they looked like they were about to kick the bucket just before the end of her shift, so she didn't have to stay behind for an hour to wash them, take them to the morgue and do the paperwork.

      I shagged her too.

      Delete
    3. Have you been drinking all day Stephenson?

      Delete
    4. I believe the fly in the web man is the man from Suffolk who doesn't actually live there so don't forget to stuff the enema pipe up his arse.

      Delete
    5. No I have not. I did two things today that you can only do for a brief period of Springtime: I visited the bluebell woods with H.I., and I bought some goose eggs which are now cooking as I write.

      I went to the pub and had two and a half pints of beer before I came home to write this.

      I don't want an endless round of intense ping-pong with you every day and night, despite what it does for my viewing figures, and I don't need any advice about people who are not who they say they are and who comment on my blog.

      I have had plenty of experience of this sort now, not least because I am one of those people myself. Enjoy the rest of your evening - or, by my watch, early afternoon.

      Delete
    6. I didn't want this today, or rather tonight. I was being nice today as I thought it was a day of moving on from yesterday. I regret that I was wrong about you and how you would behave today.

      Delete
    7. It'll all be alright in the morning x

      Delete
    8. I suspect Rachel is a born and bred Norfolk dumpling...from the attitude.

      And John..there are many super nurses, but I still don't take them - or doctors - on trust.

      And as for nurses shagging, we as children heard all too much about that as they worked on us, totally ignoring us while they recounted the happenings of the night before...
      My father was fascinated by the questions I posed. So was matron when he recounted them to her.

      Delete
    9. Well I had a good night's sleep anyway.

      Delete
    10. I willed you to have a fucking horrible nightmare.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete