Sunday, 22 November 2015

Drama in a cold climate

Or cold weather, at least. K decided, despite the bad news she'd had on Friday, to go to last night's 18th birthday party of a schoolfriend she'd been invited to. And she certainly seemed on an even enough keel when she set out, half an hour or so before I was due to leave for work. She wasn't staying over, planning instead on heading back on the last bus from that particular direction, so I was expecting a text from her, our usual mode of communication in such circumstances, at around 12:30 to let me know she was back at home. The text I actually received, though, was rather different. At 2:00, she told me she'd just been taken to our local general hospital in a paramedic car (a mini-ambulance, in effect), followed a few minutes later by a tearful phone call. It transpired that she'd (accidentally, as she described it) had too much to drink, and had fallen asleep at the bus stop - on what was easily the coldest night of the winter so far. Whether someone had called the emergency services, or whether the paramedic just happened to be passing, she didn't know, but there she'd fetched up, in the hospital's A & E department. And then her phone ran out of charge, so I couldn't get any further information. Work was immediately ditched, needless to say - fortunately, the shift manager was my recently promoted friend, who was suitably qualified, unlike some of his colleagues, to take over my position - but the drama wasn't over at that point. Not having a car, my only option was to head for the hospital by night bus. And while London's night bus network is pretty comprehensive, in terms of places you can get to 24/7, some of the routes are neither frequent - or punctual. The journey was, to say the least, tortuous, especially in the circumstances, taking all of three hours, well over an hour of which was, due to a narrowly missed connection and two lots of late running, spent standing at freezing cold bus stops. My immune system has been given a good workout, if nothing else! My trek finally ended at 5:30 with good news, though - K was asleep in a chair, still slightly the worse for wear, but otherwise unscathed. And, to be fair to her, she was very apologetic, both to the hospital staff and to me. I was never going to rant and rave at her - it would've been arrant hypocrisy, given some of the stupid things I've done through alcoholic excess over the years - but she was given a rather stern lecture by the ward sister along the lines that she could've been picked up by someone with decidedly less benign motivations than the paramedic, something I expanded on rather more graphically on the way home. Still, all's well that ends well, to coin a clichĂ© - K managed, after a couple more hours sleep at home, to head off on time and apparently compos mentis for her first shift at her new part-time job, while I've begun my very welcome three week break from work a day early, having asked for my shift tonight (which, being a Sunday, is classed as overtime anyway) to be covered by someone else, given that I didn't know what state I might've found K in when I left work this morning. I just hope there won't be any more 'thrills and spills' between now and December 13!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

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