“Lara isn’t doing too well today.”
(Eh? Lara?? Who is Lara? Lara is Bink’s Christian name. Keep up!
Therapists won’t call her Bink. I won’t call her Robin. So we seem to have ended up with Lara. What professionals call a compromise, I suppose. Not my idea. My idea of compromise is you call a person what her parents call her. But a few years ago Bink decided not to be Bink any more so we all had to get used to calling her Lara, and that’s ok. Better than Robin, anyway. On account of, it’s her name.
Obv, if you’re nuts, the most basic fundamental you need in order to sanify is multiple names and identities. So you know who you are.
One email even resorted to “our patient” to put the matter beyond any confusion whatsoever.
There I was, having tea with someone who’d come quite a long way to see us. Met him through this blog, in fact. Had seen a great deal of appalling treatment, by the CofE, of its clergy, and having been following my blog had come to curl our hair a bit curlier with some of the horror stories he’d encountered in twelve years of working for a bishop.
So there we were, having a civilised meeting with a guest who had travelled a long way, when my telephone rang.
My fault for answering. In a meeting. Never a good idea…
Lara wasn’t too good, had been in bed all day, and not eaten anything until the afternoon. So they wanted us to nip over (remember the death of my lovely Rover? public transport would have taken us two and a half hours, if we’d set off immediately) and take her into A&E. (Not sure how, without a car...)
This was where I got a tad confused.
In case she’s dehydrated.
So... um, why not give her a glass of water?
We’ve done that.
We think she may have a urine infection.
(What?! Where did that come from?)
Because she seems a bit confused. (Yeah, well this is Bink we’re talking about. Or, I suppose, Lara. Or Robin. Or possibly Our Patient. Suddenly, confusion doesn’t seem such a psychopathic response.)
Erm... I tried to think of a way of putting this politely. If she were at home, we’d tell her to do a wee test and take it to the GP. Not Casualty. (I mean, it’s not exactly a casualty, is it? In the West. A urine infection. Possible urine infection.)
You don’t, er, think you might be overreacting slightly?
Well, we’re on the spot and we think she needs to be checked over.
Ben, can we borrow your car? Shaun, are you happy to drive (I’m not insured for Ben’s car)?
No, Shaun said. I’m not, actually. Ben needs his car this evening, and this is ridiculous. If they think she needs A&E they should take her. Straight away.
They haven’t the staff, I explained.
She obviously doesn’t, he said. If she did, they’d call an ambulance.
Yeah, but the last thing we want is for her to get thrown out again, like she did last time, when she had a panic attack. She wants to be there.
They are looking after her, and giving her structure, and getting her up in the morning, and providing her with regular meals, and insisting she goes to meetings, and it is really doing her good, all this.
She is getting better. This is her chance. Of life.
And they’re only being careful, after all.
I’m all for turning annoying things into good things. And a really good thing could come out of this.
“Jenny...” I rang my mother’s friend.
Jenny is amazing. Just a tonic to sit with her for five minutes. More use than a hospital-full of A&Es, that’s for sure. I mean, unless you actually need A&E, that is. If your leg’s hanging off because you’ve been in a motorbike accident, I’m not saying Jenny would sew it back on for you. But if you’re going in just because you didn’t have breakfast till lunchtime and you sound a bit down.
Jenny and her family came to visit my dad a couple of weeks ago, because my father is not long for this world, being 101 and all that. He may yet prove longer for this world than a lot of us, but nonetheless his clock is ticking. And friends gathering.
And I remembered how utterly wonderful Jenny is, and she always remembers how utterly wonderful my mother was (how could you not? well, you might not, if you didn’t know her) and in gratitude to my mother and life and God and His wonderful beautiful world, and because she’s such a lovely person, and given that she lives in that neck of the woods, Jenny had said she would be very happy to visit Bink and cheer her up. Any time.
Only, Bink has been so low recently, she hasn’t wanted to be cheered up by someone she’d never met.
So this was my opportunity. To get them met.
An hour or two later, Jenny and Bink were becoming besties in A&E, and Bink was explaining to me how she’d been doing so well until she got the text from Gatsby last week and everything had fallen apart since, and I was telling her to delete the blasted thing unread, and she was bursting into tears and wishing she could come home.
And an hour or two after that she and Jenny were sitting in a lovely warm pub and Jenny was getting a lovely hot meal inside her, and Bink was sounding as cheered an unconfused as if she’d spent an evening in the company of one of the loveliest people in the world.
Because she had.
And our poor guest was putting his coat on in the hall and saying goodbye... after I’d spent the last four hours on the telephone. Honestly. I might as well have spent it in A&E.
“What an impressive, smashing person,” I said to Shaun, after our guest had left.
“Indeed,” Shaun agreed, “though I’m not sure he felt he had your full attention.”
Sorry, impressive and interesting guest. I lost that a long time ago.
When God decided to give me a mad daughter.