Monday, 7 November 2011


The front door is ajar and as I knock and enter, a voice from upstairs directs me to the drama. Two people are in the room; one frantic, one calm. Violet, lying on the floor with a weeping head wound is relaxed and resigned to her fate. Her son, Donovan, tries to sit still and move out of the way all at the same time, causing him to trip and almost fall on top of his mother.

"I'm sorry," he says, "I'll just... Well, I'm... Oh, I'm not much use in a crisis. I'll get out your way now."

"Donovan!" calls his mother. "Will you settle already. I'm alright. They'll look after me now!" The gentle sing-song of her West Indian accent finally seems to have an effect, and he's able to step out of the way and relax a little.

Distraction tactics at the ready, I ask him to find me his mother's medications, write down a few basic details and generally try to keep him out of the way for long enough to assess some basic observations and wrap a bandage round Violet's head.

"Oh, that's better!" he says, returning to the room once some of the mess had been cleaned up and the bandage hid the injury. "Did I mention that I'm not much good in a crisis?" 

"Don't worry. I'd fret too if it was my family." Turning back to Violet, I gently break the news, worried that I was about to have a fight on my hands. "Now, miss, we need to get you off to hospital. There's a hole in your head that needs some proper fixing." 

"I knew you were going to say that. Can you just get me my slippers?" 

Without a word, Donovan turns to find the footwear. 

"And I'll need my keys." 

"Keys, right." 

"And don't forget my handbag."

"Handbag too."

By the time he's half way down the stairs, the list has grown to almost a dozen items, each call from Violet repeated with a resigned sigh from Donovan and an amused smile from the ambulance crew and me. Whilst he runs around the house turning off lights, checking doors and gathering medications, we get Violet as comfortable as possible in the carry chair and move her downstairs and into the ambulance, the crew carrying Violet as I carried the bags. 

After a few minutes, Donovan knocks on the back door of the ambulance and hands a bag through. 

"Did you find everything?" Violet quizzes him.

"It's all in there!"

"Keys, money, tablets, phone?" 

"Yes Mum. Keys, money, tablets, phone."


"They're on your feet, Mum." 

"Oh yes. So they are." 

"What about the lights? Are they off? Did you check the back door's locked?

"Yes, Mum. Off, and locked." 

"Oh, and what about my hairbrush?"

"Hairbrush? What do you need a hairbrush for? You're going to hospital, not a fashion show!"

"Donovan, don't argue with your mother. A woman always needs a hairbrush in her handbag, no matter where she's going!" 

As he runs inside to retrieve the hairbrush, muttering the whole way there and back again, Violet relaxes back on the trolley bed, and allows herself a smile. 

"Kids, you know what they're like, don't you? Even when they're grown up they're hard work sometimes. I mean, look at all of this. Just a simple trip, and he falls to pieces. But he's a good boy really, always looking after his mum. He's just not very good in a crisis." 


CyprusMedic said...

You always need a hairbrush, it's part of my med kit! If you have awesome hair, then any patient will have faith in you!

MK said...

Hahaha, I love this! Thanks for the much needed chuckle. :)

Anonymous said...

Aw bless her, I hope she made a speedy recovery.
Lovely posting, thankyou.

InsomniacMedic said...

CM - I have no hair, so don't understand the concept :)

MK - thanks for chuckling!

Lollipop - thank you once again for taking the time to read and comment

Anonymous said...

Awww. Great retelling, and vivid depiction of the strength, resilience and good humor that good moms seem to have in abundance.