Dolly's blog: Help The Aged

clock Released On 02 April 2024

Dolly's blog: Help The Aged

There’s nothing like driving behind an ambulance containing one’s parents to get in the mood for Easter.  At least we’ve moved closer, so when the call came to say Dad had collapsed, I was there in 15 minutes and off to A&E we went.  That was our first mistake...    

Debate raged as to whether Dad had lost consciousness. “He did” said Mum emphatically to the triage nurse. “No I didn’t!” said Dad indignantly, reminding me of the bloke in Monty Python’s Holy Grail shouting “I’m not dead yet!” as he’s wheeled off in a cart.  “How would you know?!” said Mum. “How would you know?!” said Dad.  And on it went until we were thrown back into the waiting area, where queues of the unwell spread in every direction and all seats were taken.  My octogenarian, multiple heart attack and two times cancer survivor mother therefore stood, surveying the chaos.  Dad was laughing though – he had a hospital wheelchair – although there was nowhere to park him. 

The estimated wait time was 6 hours 30.   Four hours later we’d found a seat for Mum, a parking spot for Dad that only partially blocked a door, a space on the floor for me, and the end was nearly in sight.  Until they announced that the wait time for blood tests had jumped from 90 minutes to 12 hours. “We’re leaving” I said, and no one disagreed.  The reality is that Dad would have been better off not going to hospital.

But hey, it was better than our last family trip to hospital!  That one coincided with the day we moved house, and I couldn’t work out if this was good or bad timing.  Poised to start assembling a bunk bed, I got a text from Mum saying they were at A&E, followed by another saying it was “Very heartening to observe such a good relationship between the prison warder and prisoner”.  What?!  

I arrived to find Mum and Dad in a side room next to the aforementioned felon, who was secured by handcuffs and two sets of chains to one security guard and chaperoned by another, you know, just in case. “We’ve had a fascinating interaction with the underclass sub-culture,” said Mum.  “Yes, and the staff here are much less fat than the other hospital” said Dad, in an attempted whisper that everyone could hear, including both the felon and overweight nurse. “Dad, they can hear you” I said. “No they can’t!” he thundered. 

Dad did at least get some medical help on that occasion, and I returned home to assess how the boys were getting on with assembling their own bunk bed. Learning point: don’t do this.  They’d had a massive falling out.  “He broke it, so we had to improvise” said the eldest, staring daggers at his brother who stood next to a bunk bed that, whilst assembled, was ominously surrounded by multiple “spare” parts.  

My conclusion is that both the bunk bed and NHS are broken.  Is anyone else thinking about emigrating? But then who would drive behind the ambulance? 


Dolly works in a management role in a London law firm, having spent the first 19 years of her career as a fee earner.  Having worked part time for 17 years, she’s now back to full time and supported by her wonderful (though often absent) husband as they attempt to bring up three teenagers and a delinquent dog.  



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