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Apr 4

It’s been four years since your last confession…

Posted on Monday, April 4, 2016 in Jobs, Strange and Unusual, Taboo

… is what the bloke behind the counter said when I scanned my blood donation card. He wore a poker face, I could tell he had cracked this joke many times before. I giggled, and ran with it.

“Well, nobody can resist those cocaine parties, I’m a sucker for those!”

He didn’t flinch.

“No, seriously though, I’ve got a few babies under my belt since I last visited.” I meandered and mumbled the last bit, he eyeballed me and sent me onwards, but I could’ve sworn he winked as he did so.

At the next station, after filling out all the paperwork and ticking all the boxes, I met a very bored nurse who insisted on asking the full lot of 50 questions all over again even though I’d just filled in the form 5 minutes before.

“Have you ever been employed in the handling of monkeys?” she asked. (I’d ticked ‘no’.)

“No” I replied, “but I live with a few.” She gave me the BDI.

“If you are a man, have you ever engaged in sexual intercourse with another man?” she asked.

“Hold on,” I retorted, “what are you trying to imply?” She smiled and explained the force of habit, and we had a brief discussion about gender equality. Apparently not everybody knows who Caitlin Jenner is.

I passed the tests and quizzes and signed things a lot, then finally I was told that I was allowed to give blood. I was very relieved about this, as sometimes I suffer from low blood iron levels so tend to be refused frequently. In the case that I may have been refused, the Accidental Terrorist had supplied me with a long shopping list to organise afterwards, and in my opinion, having a nurse stab you with a large gauge needle and sap a whole pint of blood out of you is FAR preferable to going shopping.

They stabbed me in the right arm, and the vein collapsed pretty much straight away. There was much apologising which seems silly as it’s not their fault, my circulatory system often seems to have a mind of its own. They removed the needle, and asked me to put pressure on the bleed with my opposite hand, which I did.

Then they took blood from the other arm which all went swimmingly, as was my head as I walked away and stole several packets of crisps, pencils and bumper stickers on the way out.

Today I woke up to find this image embedded on my inner elbow:crotch

 

The imprint left by my index and middle finger, along with the needle mark itself doesn’t look unlike a person’s crotch and bellybutton.

I have porn on my arm now.

Sigh.

Nov 26

Confessions of an Ambulance Driver

Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2015 in Hackney Cabbing, Jobs, Rantings, Taxi driving

I like driving. I always have. I remember watching my Dad driving as a nipper and looking at the gear-stick and wondering WHY? HOW does he know when to change the thing and what aren’t there more pedals? He tried to give me driving lessons when I came of age, and had a minor anxiety attack. I feel I’ll be in that seat, so to speak, soon with my own sproutlings.

 

The biggest thing I’ve driven is an aeroplane, but it was just little one, a Katana. The instructor let me take the wheel for a while and we did belly flips and anti-gravity tricks and things and I gave the instructor a minor anxiety attack and so he took control again. That was something I’ll never forget. But it’s expensive.

The next biggest thing I’ve driven is an LDV Convoy. That’s just a fancy way of saying ‘van’. It had a large water tank in the back of it though. When it was full it played havoc with turning on roundabouts what with your centrifugal forces and such nonsense. And, as every Irish person knows, you can’t sneeze without stumbling upon a roundabout in these parts. I have smelled several nervous farts dealt by passengers and co-workers on hectic days, but I didn’t say anything for I am a lady.

Now I’m an Emergency Medical Technician and I get to drive an ambulance. Ambulances are a lot like aeroplanes in that there is a lot of delicate cargo rattling around in the back. Explosive tanks.. metal things that can become dislodged… and obviously the odd delicate patient.

I hate ramps, by the way.

Getting to the point:

Being a female driver of a large vehicle, I find that the biggest novelty isn’t my own excitement, its the excitement of on-lookers. Recently I arrived at a job, and was required to reverse against the flow of two-lane traffic into a narrow junction. Instead of kindly assisting the traffic however, onlookers pointed and laughed and nudged each other. They were DYING for me to crash into something. Several of them had their phones out, recording my efforts.

No pressure.

When I successfully and safely reversed my baby into her place, and disembarked, I could literally smell the disappointment from the crowd. One bloke walked up to me and said:

‘I hope you don’t crash that thing on the way home, love!!’

So of course I replied:

‘I hope you don’t have a heart-attack, darling.’

Aug 29

First Draft… a letter to be filed under ‘BIN’

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014 in Family, Jobs, Rantings

There is a worrying situation developing here in Ireland regarding the construction of a new children’s hospital. I say developing, it may already be too late. Millions have been invested into the construction of a fancy new hospital, the skeptic in me prophesies that this new building is less about family and child-welfare and more about lining the pockets of architects and land developers, big brown envelopes, that sort of thing.

This new hospital is to be placed in the worst area of Dublin you could possibly imagine. I have friends from tough inner city ghettos who are dubious about hanging around this area for too long, even to catch a bus. They’d rather skirt around the area even in torrents of rain and hellfire. Cars have no idea how to manoeuvre the spurious crossroads, trams and trains have pre-booked the area making it a hub of transport confusion. It’s a big cramped half-erased yellow-box-junction broken-glass no-signage-whatsoever many-laned mess.

So, to summarize, the powers that be have organized to put a fancy new building in the centre of a very confused city, in a confusing hole of many long roads with traffic lights that are completely out of sync and roundabouts that have no place being roundabouts at all. No parking. No views of green belts. No extra room. Heroin addicts asking you weird questions. No bus lanes for rushing ambulances, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There is, however, a nice area which is free, it’s right beside a flowing motorway. It has building potential. It has lots of accessible space with lots of expansion possibility for education facilities… there’s even room for a maternity hospital that doesn’t sag under the weight of heavy machinery because its floors are too ancient. Developers seem to not want to have anything to do with it, but that’s politics for you. It’s up to public protest now. Jonathan Irwin of the Jack and Jill foundation for very sick children indeed, is tearing his hair out.

I really want to write a letter to help him out because he’s a brilliant advocate for families like mine but he’s just one man, and I’m crap with politics and would be glad of your help, if you have the time.

-o0o-

Dear (insert name of TD or whatever dude has power to do things)

RE: RELOCATION OF PLANNED CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, DUBLIN.

As a citizen of Ireland, and a busy mother, I hope to capture your interest in a subject that concerns a great many like me. I would love to have the time to write passionately about this subject, but I don’t, and I fear that your busy lifestyle and the constant demands for your time are harsh too so in the name of empathy I’m hoping to keep this message relatively short.

Close your outer mind if you can. Lock the doors to external distractions and focus on your imagination, because I’m hoping to tell you a story.

__________

You’re in a car. There’s a baby in the back-seat. It’s a baby that at one time you were very excited about, but now you’re not sure how to feel because some weeks ago you learned that it’s not like other babies, it isn’t developing the way babies should according to the books you’ve read. Doctors have scared you. You’ve scared yourself. Because your baby is broken, you feel as though you are broken too.

There’s something wrong with this child. It gurgles when it breathes. It’s pale and floppy, maybe this child is jerking uncontrollably, or perhaps the weird feeding device that well-meaning surgeons have placed before has come loose and now your baby is starving because you can’t re-insert it.

You live three hours away from the surgeons that can help this baby, according to your Sat-Nav system.

So, you put the pedal to the metal and you drive in panic along relatively vacant country roads for what appears to be an eternity, overtaking trucks, watching mindfully for motorcyclists. You yourself feel in a relative state of control, but you have a loved one – maybe a co-parent, or a sister or a carer in the car with you who is desperate for you to drive FASTER. You’re worried if you’ve brought change for a parking meter… did you switch off the central heating? There may be only a quarter of a tank of fuel in your car but you can’t stop.

Finally, your navigation system tells you you’re 30 minutes away, but you’ve hit heavy traffic on the city-side of a national road. 30 minutes later you feel no closer to your goal because it’s rush-hour, and there are roadworks. You try to de-tour but then you get lost, and can’t return because it’s a one way system which wasn’t signposted. Your Sat-Nav begins to give out to you and you wonder why you didn’t bin it months ago.

Meanwhile your baby is gagging wretchedly but you can’t stop because when you do, irate drivers behind you start to beep incessantly. Everyone is irate now, the whole world is collapsing, and you’re still negotiating cross-roads, you’ve officially lost control and you feel as though it’s a miracle you haven’t crashed by now.

Another 30 minutes later, your blood-pressure is high. There’s a strange smell in the car. Everything seems silent because you’ve blocked it out, good for you. You’re circling around a massive complex, trying to find parking, trying to find an entrance to a beautiful inaccessible building which you are starting to loathe because it’s a monument to your failure. You pass the same beggar many times as you loop around, you try to map his suffering against that of your baby’s, and you are confused. Finally, you find a parking space and discover that it will cost you the price of a three course meal in a fancy restaurant to park there for a day.

You wonder why the powers that be didn’t just build this hospital right beside the motorway you passed two hours ago, maybe your baby would have had a better chance in that case. Should you have called for an ambulance then?

Isn’t it wrong to make phone-calls while you’re driving though? Maybe the penalty points would be worth it, but the overstretched budget on the Irish health system would probably complicate things further seeing as there are very few ambulances out there to spare. You resign to the fact that you live in a country that doesn’t seem to care about people like you. Maybe you should have moved to Canada, after all.

You don’t know what you should have done. Maybe you should have written to your local TD before any of this had a chance to happen, and hope that their hands aren’t tied, that they have some power to invoke a miracle to override corporate inevitability; but maybe you were too busy with a sick child, maybe you were scared that the time spent writing to them would be a waste because brown envelopes are worth more than your monthly Carer’s Allowance so you don’t really matter, and neither does your baby because it’s broken, and doesn’t really have much to offer to its country. You feel guilty about that too, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

__________

That’s the end of my story. Thank you for reading it.

I hope that it’s obvious that the enormous funds already spent on the development of the new Children’s Hospital in a volatile spot could have been better spent on a more appropriate site. I hope that it’s realised that such funds would have helped individual families on a massive scale. Waste is a heartbreaking thing.

Please help, if you can, before it’s too late.

Yours Sincerely,

Me.

banksy-gray-ghost-2Banksy versus the Gray Ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 7

Gotham Unhinged

Posted on Saturday, June 7, 2014 in Arty Farty, Jobs, Rantings, Strange and Unusual, Tattoos

Has it really been three months? I should really explain myself, but the explanation albeit potentially cathartic, would bore you to death which wouldn’t be good so close to the weekend.

So. I’ll launch straight in to a story. Or, maybe a snapshot… ten minutes out of my life which summarizes somehow how things should be, or the way things be since last we spoke. I wrote this in the First Aid post at Dublin Zoo, for I had had far too many coffees.

– – –

Among my various other dubious talents, did you know that I’m a face-painter? I’m not a very good face-painter but then again my services are free; so I suppose you get what you pay for.

The trick to face-painting is not in the art in itself as you might think, instead it’s about placating small children, tactfully stopping them from fidgeting, telling them not to breathe in a nice way, and withholding a gag reflex when you need to wipe sticky matter from around their mouths. It’s also very much about the parents. You need to perform rapidly, smile at all times, and ultimately provide them with a wonderful Kodak moment with their little darlings for their social networking sites.

Hey, I’m a parent, owner of snot-streaked ice-cream-caked nose-minors so I understand.

Last weekend, I was volunteering at a ‘Family Fun Day’ (an oxymoron surely?) in aid of Cancer research. It was a beautiful day and the crowds were out in their masses. The queue for the face-painting stand was a half-hour deep. I had been smearing gunk on kid’s faces for two hours, and my back was beginning to hurt.

Next in line was a four-year-old boy. His mother was pushing him around in a buggy and reasonably (and judgmentally enough on my behalf) was quite chubby as a result. His hair was bright orange, and clashed weirdly with his skin tone which had turned an alarming shade of red upon being told that his hand-held console was to be momentarily pocketed.

“NOOOOO, MAAAAAAAA! NOOOOOOO!” he had the sort of voice that would remind you of a wooden chair being scraped across a carpet of birthing dolphins.

Then he noticed ME.

“He wants Batman” she said.

I regarded the kid dubiously. The kid regarded me with a look of pure horror. The brush I held in my hand might as well have been a large bore hypodermic needle. He screamed with pure unadulterated terror, snot and tears streaming down his face mixing unpleasantly with the undefined food stains on his chin.

“I’m not sure he does?” I offered tentatively.

“He does yeah, he’s been whining for face-painting for the whole day, we haven’t been queuing for this long for nothing! Just do it QUICK. BATMAN he wants.” she was becoming unhinged at this stage.

I smiled at the kid through gritted teeth, and told him what an amazing and brave Batman he would make, too. He continued to roar with a grimace nobody could possibly describe in the written word.

spongebob

Armed with a face-wipe, I began to clear the slimy crud off his face and as I did, a vicious looking rash appeared from behind the mess. Impetigo/Coxsackie/Measles/Thrush… I thanked the patron saint of face-painting for the fact that Batman make-up is mainly north of the noseline and need not go anywhere near this mass of pimpled sores. The kid continued to squirm and scream as I prepared my yellow and black paint.

As the brush neared his forehead, the child’s screams increased with proximity. Time seemed to slow exponentially. A smear of paint finally made it to the spot right between his eyes, Batman’s right ear was an eventual success.

The pain, however, of having a soft-bristled brush applied to that beautiful spot, that point between your eyes, your third-eye if you will… was far too much for him. His eyes widened to the size of teacups and a fresh pint of drool erupted from his mouth as his terror escaped. I loved that kid right there and then, but I don’t know why. He leaped from his chair and tried to run away. His mother caught him firmly by the arm and dealt him two fierce smacks to his shoulder and back.

“SIT DOWN AND SHURRUP!” she yelled.

cat

 

What a nice childhood memory.

“I’m sorry” I said. “I can’t do this, he doesn’t want his face painted by the looks of things.”

“HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? HE JUST NEEDS HIS NAP!” She shouted irately.

Other people in the queue shuffled, and glanced at each other knowingly.

She clamped the screaming head firmly between her hands and shouted: “DO IT!!” as though I was to pull a septic tooth, not decorate her darling’s face for the benefit of her Internet friends.

“no” I said meekly, and smiled. “Come back later maybe, when he’s more settled.”

“Tsk. Fafussakemuvafrkesferkenjustisfuk…” her cursed mumbles disappeared into the kid’s fiery hair as she turfed him back in the buggy and buggered off.

From that moment onwards, all money that went into the donations bucket beside me at the face-painting booth was made out of paper, not coin, so I’m pretty sure that cancer research benefited from at LEAST a hundred Euros as a result of this family’s dysfunction.

It’s funny how some things work out.

Feb 24

I hate to interrupt you but…

Posted on Monday, February 24, 2014 in Jobs, Philosophy, Something to think about, Strange and Unusual

… there has been an accident outside.

Imagine you are at a volunteer first aid meeting (if you’re into that sort of thing) where you are expected to sit and be relatively comfortable in your mindset, you are wearing your best jumper and jeans or maybe your pretty heels because you never know who may be looking at you and judging you. You might even be wearing a suit. You are expecting education on a formal basis.

It is a commonplace meeting and you may well want to be somewhere else but you are there because you are there, you are bored or needing an outlet, but you are a volunteer nonetheless.

Suddenly:

a person known to you, a contemporary if you will: runs in and announces that a horrible car crash has happened outside. You are dubious but somewhat alarmed.

I’d like that. I’d like to disturb people out of their zone of security and lead them out into a mayhem of contrived chaos. I’d like fake blood and ripped up pieces of paper to represent broken glass. I’d like to spill water on dry ground and let people wonder what this fluid is, and then flick a cigarette butt into it and cause an imagined explosion. I’d have a driver with a pretend brain haemorrhage who is the father of a child who has suffered minor injuries in the back of a crashed car (because he was wearing his seatbelt) who could give a full history of not just his father’s medical background, but that of his friend’s who is in the passenger seat and suffering an asthma attack brought on by stress.

Interesting, maybidge?

I and a fellow meeting volunteer have contrived sick plans in our sick minds because we want our stagnant meetings to have a bit of flavour, and to introduce an opportunity for otherwise bored people to go out and heal sick people on a whim. I and he would rather this be kept a secret, to which you are privy.

What say you? What sick and accidental contrived situation would you imagine if you could? Nobody is watching. Everyone that reads this blog is unjudgemental so please unleash your best! But shhhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

Think your worst. Think reality. Give us a scenario to practice our healing because we NEED it. We need to practice, they need to get their suits and high heels dirty. I would like to orchestrate the play from Hell, because that is life, that is what should be expected from us.

REALITY. Choking babies. Exploding supermarkets. Your favourite neighbour’s heart attack.

Reality is harsh, but plays are fun, and practice makes perfect.

No musicals though. Lyrics shall not be accepted.

gunnd

Is it cruel that I make light of such a thing if we’re to be rescuers? Should a love of horror be disturbing?

I fear for the day I find a teddybear at the scene of a car crash where a child has been decapitated.

Help us to prepare. Life is cruel.

Curtain opens…

Feb 1

Riot Police

Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 in Family, Jobs

Movie nights at the school. I’d bowed out of this lark at the beginning of the year but something drew me back in.

I’m not a huge fan of crowds, I hate shopping. Crowds of children are more manageable though, at least when I bare my teeth and threaten to punch them, they get that I’m joking whereas most adults don’t.

One child ran into a heating vent and inflicted a pinpoint wound in his scalp which he boasted with no pain at all but still made sure everybody knew how major the lump was.

Another was hit at point-blank range with a soccer ball and accepted the purist sorrow from a complete stranger. I did not kiss it better, but my 3 year old son passed my sentiments along.

I got to watch ‘The Croods’ for free, and I will admit to stealing a bag of sweets and a teabag from the staff room, but the biggest theft was that which could have had my family home earlier,  maybe to let go of responsibilities and relinquish them to others might make them stronger but it was nice picking up popcorn with them and re-arranging desks and hearing how things could have been done better, or worse.

I got home to my fire, and my wine, and my Criminal Minds. Study tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, then exams.

Then hopefully I will be an EMT.

Jan 28

Getting the hands dirty

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in Jobs, Philosophy

So I got called out to my first Cardiac Chest Pain a few nights back.

It was a friend of a friend of a friend, someone I’d facepainted for a few months back. I got a tip from a concerned relative, someone who knew what I was studying, knew that I might be of some help.

I drove to their house in a relaxed state of mind, found their house within a few minutes, knocked on the door and smiled and introduced myself as a student, a friend.

As it turned out, the Cardiac patient showed me the ‘real’ patient on the couch. His lover, the one he could not do without, was suffering from an acute throat infection and it was that which gave him stress, his concern, his pain.

I checked both their vitals, told them that there was nothing to worry about, they were both within normal vital ranges. I fetched water and offered to fetch coal, I sat on their rug and chatted with them and understood and listened and then I left.

It was in the leaving that the real pressure took place. Was I abandoning them? They had a doctor due to visit, but it was late, was I expected to hang around until the doctor arrived? I stressed that I was only ten minutes away, that I had an AED and equipment in the car, ready at a whim. They thanked me and asked what they owed me.

I laughed! ‘Nope! It’s what I do!’ I said. I think this confused them.

Then I left.

Did they think I was a doctor? Did I just lure them into a false sense of security? I called concerned relative afterwards and expressed my discomfort. They assured me that even the little that I did, did a lot to settle them. They have since been seen by a proper practitioner, they’re both a lot better now.

I like this role, the intermediate practitioner, the pre-hospital advisor albeit somewhat un-educated, sometimes it’s enough to calm and reassure. Maybe that’s what is all that’s needed, someone to listen.

I like this job already.

Jan 18

Nixer

Posted on Saturday, January 18, 2014 in Arty Farty, Jobs

calligraphy

So I’ve made up about 50 or so wedding invitations for friends of ours… it took me about five hours, including printing, writing of invitations and addressing of envelopes. I reckon supplies cost about €30. I’d charge maybe a tenner per hour.

So, if someone had 100 invites to send, it would cost them on average €120 and four days by my production ability. Is that competitive?

I’m wondering if I shouldn’t offer this service up somehow? I need money, I have a calligraphy skill, I’m willing to give it up for cheap.

How would one market something like this?

Jan 9

Officer Apollo

Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Awards!, Jobs, Rantings

Mashing spuds earlier, I got a nice phone call. It was from a dude I work with at a volunteer organisation, he was calling to leak gossip about the boss’ mumblings at a meeting the evening before, and told me that I’d been elected ‘Officer of Morale’, and that they are going to talk to me next week about it officially.

I doubt there are stripes for this, but a tattoo might not be out of the question.

Talk about tachycardia. My heart began to thump at the enormity of the job on top of my already extremely dubious title of ‘Chief Fundraiser’. An imaginary Imp popped out of the toaster and immediately convinced me that I now have the potential to let a lot of people down. But, then again that could be the DTs.

Depression (yawn) and anxiety are a pain in the ass. Why do these people have so much faith in me? it wonders. I am Eleanor Rigby, wearing my face that I keep in a jar by the door. Could be I’m a sucker for offering to do things or not saying no? Doing things is fun! That’s the irony. When a job is well done it’s a great buzz and the weight goes away.

Those potatoes got mashed very well this evening.

How does one raise morale in a volunteer workplace though?

Do we have a Silly Hats Day?

I know bowling should enter into it, a big old barbeque in the Summer maybe, but what else is there? I’ve no imagination with this sort of thing, not really being a people person per se. I like weirdness (see above) so have a large capacity for inappropriateness. Plus! There’s very little you can do around here that doesn’t revolve around booze which is getting boring.

Please let me know if you know anything about this sort of thing, any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Jan 5

Goddessing in its highest order

So. I believe I was telling you a story before I got distracted.

Once upon a time, not so long ago I was blessed with experience, an entirely different experience which is difficult to write about as most life-changing experiences tend to be. It was an adventure of the Goddessing sort of order.

I’m not a sort of Goddessy sort of person though, let’s just sort that out right now. If I had an altar, it would consist of several old birthday cards, a dead fly, a box of matches and an empty vodka bottle. My chalice would have coffee stains in it and my coven would be ignoring my texts. Nope, I’m not that sort that embraces Wiccan technology. I do love it though, when others bare their souls to me. I call it Goddessing here, because these souls just happened to be female, as a lot of souls tend to be whether they like it or not.

It happened during the Costa Rican adventure, which was an adventure within an adventure which is what happens when one is caught on-the-hop and one hopes that nobody is filming anything for fear that one would be caught in the act of being a gobshite: A fight-or-flight situation, if you will. They were quad-biking, these people. There were Minors. There were Majors there too but these Majors were highly trained in the ability to predict, prevent and warn against accidents so there was that element of false security because accidents always happen.

So, there was an accident.

The road was beyond bumpy, I had known this from my adventures the evening before and in my infinite wisdom I had thought ‘Ah sure they’ll be grand!’ in my Irish way. It was as though somebody had made a perfectly good path, then chewed it up, gotten drunk and spewed it back up and then poured acid all over the remains. Large pointed rocks stuck out at weird angles, scree and sandy pebbles made wheels spin, pot-holes the size of posh televisions threatened to pick up  the bikes and knock them into the ditch along side us. Total concentration was needed which was difficult given the view of the idyllic deserted beach to the left and a steep embankment of spooky wood with enormous Jurassic-leaved plants hiding alien forms with scuttly feet and eerie cries on the right. Distraction was everywhere, as was heat-exhaustion. If that doesn’t teach teenagers what rough is, I don’t know what will. I hadn’t accounted for the bravery of photographers though. Their angles escaped me, and it wasn’t the perilous road that was her peril. It was the slippery leaves, the things that were least likely to cause injury. It’s the innocent things that get you, in the end.

quad

The posse stopped all of a sudden and voices of alarm could be heard above the throbbing engines of the strange unpredictable excitement.  I turned my head as the paramedic ran past, and in slow motion it dawned on me that an accident had occurred, and that I might be needed.

I baulked.

I don’t have much experience with medical emergencies bar those that have happened to my family. I didn’t want to get in the way, didn’t want to be useless, didn’t want to waste my training, didn’t want to make mistakes and have people scorn me. Nothing seemed quantifiable.

The confusion cleared as I saw what had happened.

Arawa was our mother, our earth. I and Curly were employed as mothers to the children on this trip, but Arawa was our guardian to keep us mothers grounded. We went to her if we wanted somebody we could trust, she was our person we could call Home. She is the all-understanding type, a worrier, a warrior, our sense of humour when we were out of our depth, she also had a love of photography so she was always there taking sneaky shots of weakness and heartfelt emotions and we were all secretly thankful for that, she had a way of hiding our flab. She was hurt.

She had slipped from the rising embankment while trying to climb above our sweaty heads for a panoramic view of bike and beach. She lay on her side clawing desperately with one arm at her leg, her face was ghastly as she wore an expression of horror. Our mother was in need of help and I didn’t know how to act.

I ran to the side of the experts and offered my help from a distance.

Paramedics  threw me a Sam-splint.

“Have you worked one of these before?” they asked.

“Sure!” I lied. But. I have the ability to speed-read and thankfully this shit comes with instructions.

A Sam-splint is a pliable structure with a foam exterior and a metal innard, it comes in a 36″ roll which can be formed into a rough support for a damaged limb. I folded it in half, moulded it and loved it to its fullest extent because I loved its recipient. I made a heel, and studied her calf like a sculptor and did the best that I could.

“Good Job!” they said. Afterwards they offered me a Cheers in a verbal sort of way, the sort was like the American High Five and not as cheesy maybe but still feels very, very nice.

We suffered a gruelling ride in a big 4×4, all expenses seemed a piss-take when it came to CostaRican back roads because she felt every miniscule. Rugged maybe could describe it, but to say that it was a hole that had a road in it, would say it best. She screamed with every bump and I held her and asked her to focus, like I had focussed at childbirth. At least childbirth gives you something at the end… this woman had nothing. We both blessed her with all the Goddessing we could manage and she felt our being but she was at a loss. Pain. PAIN. Indescribable. Focus. BREATHE. I was amazed that she didn’t pass out. Bravery in Goddessability.

She was planted in a foreign room. They demanded an extortionate amount of money (tens of thousands!) for her to be treated but of course she had not got that money straight to hand. She was a film executive but even film executives would not ordinarily have that many digits at her disposal. I was fairly disgusted. Helicopters are expensive I suppose. Thank goodness for fortunate friends at the end of embarrassing phone conversations. I say embarrassing, but I have a feeling that the person on the other end of that bank balance would be only to glad to help because Arawa is that sort of person.  If it had been me, I would have probably lost that limb. Such is extortionism.

Broken Tibia and Fibula in a foreign country.  Imagine that you fell in a way that BOTH bones in your lower leg were fractured. How much pain would you feel? Imagine that the muscles in that leg contracted in response to this trauma, pulling the limb into a strange contortion so that every motion brought you into a fucked-upededness pain that you had never thought imaginable before? This is pain at its worst, and you are all alone, no insurance, no help. You pay thousands or you remain alone, you lose a limb. Forseeable thwartapossability and thousands of dollars for release. I didn’t know Costa Rica (America?) was Third World. “Gimme Money or you’re fucked”. I was suddenly glad of Irish Health Insurance and so was Arawa but she had no access to it because it was out of hours. Nobody seemed to care. She was so apologetic, disgustingly apologetic. Such is the irony.

You’d want help in the way of immediate medication, pain relief, if you can’t breathe and your leg was all fucked up?

What if you didn’t have medication? What if you couldn’t afford it? How long could you scream?

What if you only had two women. Me, and a scantily clad yoga instructor to help you?

Breathe” How useless did we feel?

“FUCK OFF AND FIND ME MEDICATION! I love you” That was what she felt. Dichotomy. Can you imagine?

We were all she had. And she is overly thankful to us in hindsight as we are to her but she can’t see this because SHE WAS IN EXTREME PAIN AND MEDICATION IS EXPENSIVE. Birth is nice because you get a baby out of it, but could you deal with PAIN OF AN EXTREME NATURE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY FOR TREATMENT AND YOU GET NOTHING BUT ABNORMALITY AT THE END? She felt embarrassed, but it was the healthcare system that should be embarrassed, not her. America is pretty, but it seems backward to me.

These things happen to teach us. We all learned from this. And we all became better people because of it. And there is no shame in that. Some things are not our fault.

There is no shame in pain. We all feel pain. Every one of us. Nobody needs to feel sorry, apart from the crappy system.

We all learned something, through our nakedness, because we had to beg in out darkest hour such is the nature of life, each and every one of us. Truthfulness speaks: In a strange country it is bad that in strange places you need money to pay for accident. Arawa deserved more than what she got.

When we are naked, may there always be one who will always spread her arms and shield us and make light and tell the world to mind its own fucking business. That will be our friend and wherever we all have friends may we have the strength to find them and not be afraid to ask.

Stick with it.

We’re all broken in some way or another.

Every system will someday be healed.

 

 

 

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