Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Annual Leave

Another week off this week, so that I can use up all the remaining holiday before March 31st. So, what do I have planned? A trip to Costco, paint the toilet (the bathroom, for my trans-atlantic readers), daily visits to the gym. Not going to the hospital, not worrying about the Department, is a holiday all on its own.

So, just getting ready for my first trip to the gym this week, having spent FAR too much at Costco, and having looked at the walls and deciding that the preparation will, as usual, be far worse that the painting; guess what? "Can you attend an elderly lady, who has fallen off a ladder?"...

He sits there, on the front step, pulling his dog to him, in an embrace that is born from fear. She lies on the ground in front of him, not moving. The three of us work silently, securing her cervical spine, getting intravenous access, assessing for injury, and moving her from the ground where she lies to the back of the ambulance. He watches every move, his gaze a mute plea to save his wife of 49 years, his wife who was well enough to climb a ladder to clean the upstairs windows, yet not lucky enough for the ladder to not slip on the wet grass. Her stillness, her silence, tells him more than I do, later, after I have seen her CT scan.

Back at home, forgoing the gym for today (tomorrow, definitely tomorrow!), I look once again at the toilet walls, and start the grim task of stripping the old wallpaper.


  1. In view of the fact our daughters and son-in-law are all on holiday for the next 2 weeks, we were just contemplating yesterday that this is the beginning of the "don't be ill and need the NHS" weeks running up to the end of March! Why not just hang a sign on the door "closed for annual holidays"?

  2. True, but it gets even worse come the first Wednesday in April in the UK, when all the junior doctors swap to a new speciality. Imagine, an A&E Department filled with well-meaning, but completely wet-behind-the-ears juniors - oh I am looking forward to my shifts...

  3. Well yes - it used to be "don't get ill the first week in August and February"! I'm just thoroughly confused about which weeks it is nowadays, the swaps seem to change every year and be far more often - but these two weeks it's not just the lack of dried-out doctors, is it, it's the nurses, diagnostic services and everybody else who are on holiday leaving their departments short of staff too! But in A&E, no doubt, you have plenty of examples of the road to hell being paved with good intentions...