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w/e 2024-04-21

To be clear, universe, last week I wasn’t complaining about not much happening.

First, the patient is on the mend now.

Yesterday a family member was taken ill and so, after a period of “is this bad enough to cause a fuss?”, a typically laborious call was made to 111, resulting in a “clinician” calling us back, soon followed by an ambulance arriving, and its two friendly women filling a room with their machines and tubes and wipes and gloves and syringes and wrappers and printouts and tablets until the patient was ready to be wheeled out to the waiting vehicle.

I had my first ever siren-sped ambulance ride and, as the companion sitting in a fold-out seat, was able to watch Essex passing by, with its pedestrians staring, its cars edging apart for us, and its many identical edge-of-town housing developments lining the A-roads.

At the hospital we transferred from a quiet triage room to a quiet ward, as more tubes were applied and tests were done. Staff were either smiling and friendly or gruff but efficient, and my head kept repeating the grateful national mantra of “God bless the NHS”. I feel there should be an atheist version but it’ll do.

Watching the proceedings, while trying to keep out of the way, it reminded me of a film set: a surprising number of people all concentrating on their precise individual tasks in service of a single collective goal, all with their places in hierarchies that are invisible to an outsider, and all focused on the patient/talent at the centre.

The metaphor fell apart when a new, very troubled and loudly difficult patient arrived, and I could only marvel at the patience, determination and resilience required by the staff.

Even at the best of times I felt humbled by every single person there “just doing their jobs”. Jobs that are the most essential of all, and that made me feel embarrassed of my easy B Ark career, one that feels not only largely irrelevant but that also avoids too much human contact, the very opposite of these people constantly dealing with others in the most intimate ways possible.

A few hours after arriving, the two women from the ambulance reappeared, smiling, just to see how the patient was doing. I nearly cried then and now.

Anyway. While the cause and cure are not yet fully determined, the tests and drips and medications have improved things enormously and we hope normality will soon be resumed.

§ The previous five days of the week now seem a long time ago.

We had a happy day trip to visit a relative during which we met a man with a huge muscular dog, muzzled as per the law, who he of course assured us was friendly and soft. If you wanted a friendly and soft dog I don’t know why you’d get one that can pull you along and looks like it could tear you in half with little effort.

I also had a brief, and damp, couple of hours in London, during which I met R & A for lunch, a nice little dose of city.

§ We watched the second and last season of the blandly-named Secret City which was mostly better than the first season. It felt tenser and better paced. But then by the final two episodes I’d kind of lost interest in it all, so.

And we watched Past Lives which was just as calmly wrenching the second time around.

§ May all of our weeks be uneventful.

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