Christmas – My Arse!
Well that’s another Christmas over and done with and a pretty dismal one it was too. I’ve worked Christmas every year since I became an ambulance man. It’s no big deal; there’s only me and the cat and he’s not big on Christmas dinner; unless it’s a double helping of Wiskas ‘Oh so fishy’ sardines (and none of that Felix ‘roasted’ range shite, thank you very much). Generally I like working Christmas; there’s usually an atmosphere of festive cheer, the punters are often ‘nicer’ than usual and there’s always lots of nibbles and things around the ambulance station and in A&E. If I’m really lucky I might get a Christmas kiss from my favourite nurses.
This year though there seemed to be a distinct lack of seasonal goodwill. The run up to Christmas was the usual round of ‘granny dumping’. For those not familiar with this concept, this is an arcane ritual seen prior to most bank holidays in the UK whereby relatives decide that granny/granddad, who’s had a chronic illness for the last umpteen weeks/months, has suddenly taken a ‘turn for the worst’ and needs to be in hospital. What this really means is that they can’t be arsed with the inconvenience of looking after their elderly relatives while they snuffle into their Christmas turkey and overdose on cheap mulled wine. At the same time the hospitals are attempting to send patients home ‘for the holdiays’ to make way for a possible rush. It’s really just a game of NHS musical beds. After the holidays all the new admissions get sent home as they don’t really need to be blocking beds and all the ‘early’ discharges get sent back in as they’re really not able to cope at home (even with the help of grumpy relatives).
Christmas and Boxing Day were filled with gripes of belly ache and assorted odd ailments. Don’t these morons ever realise that ‘over doing it’ is likely to lead to a spot of indigestion/trapped wind/belly ache. It’s amazing how those paracetamol tablets that have coped with their hangovers for the previous 363 days of the year stop being effective and we get calls for “something stronger”. – Bugger off and get a life.
Of all the people I met during my run of nights only 1 family had the courtesy to wish me a Merry Christmas; and what a lovely family they were too. A young foster couple who had agreed to ‘take on’ three young African children only days before. The children spoke absolutely no English but the lady spoke a number of languages and one of them just happened to be the one these children spoke. If I had been asked about the chances of anyone in Scroatsville speaking this language I’d have fallen over laughing. The fact that the lady who did is also a foster parent makes it all the more remarkable. And she was so, so lovely. She is one of those people who just exude love, understanding and comfort; with a mischievous glint in her eye and a smile to lighten up the darkest of rooms. She was wonderful. The couple knew next to nothing about the children. It appears they’d been ‘dumped’ in the UK by child traffickers and they needed homing over Christmas until Social Services could sort out something more permanent.
After a lot of translation, questioning, some prodding and poking on my part and a few tests, nothing conclusive was found. We dismissed all the obvious causes and all agreed, at least I hope the child did, that she would remain ‘at home’ and try some of the paracetamol they had available. If things got worse the lady was happy to run her up to A&E. The couple wished me a Merry Christmas and even offered some of their Christmas dinner. They really were a joy to be with over an otherwise pretty morose Christmas.
Now we can look forward to the joys of all the pissheads on New Year’s Eve.