What an unpleasant world it can be for the helpless. Tuesday I gave Kay a lift into the city as usual. That afternoon I was at the office when the phone rang. She had had a fall in an office downtown and they thought she should see a doctor.
So I closed up and went down to pick her up. She was shaken and had a nasty-looking graze on the top of her head. They transported her out to my car in a wheelchair and I drove round to the emergency room at the hospital.
There was a long wait to see a doctor - "I can't wait that long. My back won't take sitting for hours in one of those plastic chairs in the waiting room."
OK, so what were the options. There was a private medical clinic just around the corner... who charged $60 for a 15-minute consultation. So that was out.
What about her GP? The hospital gave us a phone and we called the practice. The receptionist listened to my story, then checked her schedule. "No, we don't have any appointments. Tell her we can't see her today." I hung up, vaguely stunned; I know I don't follow the medical news closely but I wasn't aware they'd repealed the Hippocratic oath.
We walked out of the ER. Kay was pale and a little unsteady and said "I'm starting to shiver, but it's not that cold today."
"You're in shock," I said. "And that at least is something I can help you with." I took her back to the office and did all the things that they taught me in the St John's Ambulance first aid course at school in 1964. I calmed her, kept her warm and gave her hot sweet tea.
So far so good.
After that, I did what anybody would do next. I googled "head injuries".
This gave me a few questions to ask. "Any blurred vision? Any feelings of nausea? How bad is the headache? Do you have any - good heavens! - clear fluid running out of your nose or ears?" The answers seemed satisfactory, but I stressed that just because she felt better she shouldn't assume she didn't need a doctor.
I hurried through my work, then drove her home, gave her some over-the-counter pain-killers and recommended she see a doctor tomorrow.
Heading home I mused on the strange priorities that some people have. As we'd left the hospital, the driver of the car parked next to mine said "Can you get to your car? Or should I move mine?" I told him that we should be all right. But as I helped Kay into the car I heard another man loitering nearby lean over and say to him "He didn't scratch your car when he opened the door did he?"
Strike me! Here we are outside a hospital with people involved clearly suffering, and all he can do is stick his oar in. Some people!
This week's old time radio listening:
SUSPENSE "Alibi Me" 51-01-04
Stream-of-consciousness thriller with Mickey Rooney as the man who has impulsively killed his life-long enemy and now has only 90 minutes to arrange a watertight alibi before the body is discovered. Maybe overly frantic for some, but still quite entertaining.
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO 45-06-07 "Costello gets a tattoo"
Lou consults a dream analyst to find why he keeps dreaming about beautiful girls. No standout comedy bits but some pleasant songs from chanteuse Connie Haines. Nice voice. [Her fan website states she landed the A&C job in 1942 and stayed with the program for four years as well as performing with their touring show during the summer months.]
THE LONE RANGER 47-01-15 "From Outer Space"
No, not a western science fiction episode; in this story the masked man is asked to protect a chest of unique mineral specimens from a meteorite on its way to Washington DC. The Lone Ranger has embarked on his most thrilling and unusual adventure, the announcer assures us at the end of [aaagh] part 1 - I hadn't realised this was a 4-part story when I started listening to it.
MY FRIEND IRMA 47-04-11 episode #1
Some old time comedies are amusing partly because of their period feel or the nostalgia factor, but this is genuinely funny. It's the story of a blonde (very blonde) stenographer named Irma Peterson, played by Marie Wilson, and her screwy friends. One of Irma's best friends was her logical and very dependable roommate, the narrator of the show, Jane Stacy, played by Cathy Lewis. Their misadventures are very funny even today.
Wednesday I had a couple of hours free so I went into the city. Ellison Hawker's comic shop had phoned at the weekend to say that I had rather a lot of Disney comics and could I pick them up.
They were over-reacting - it was only this month's and last month's order, a total of eight comic books altogether. Hardly enough to panic about, I would have thought.
But while I was in town with time to spare, I had a rare opportunity to browse through the Red Cross second-hand bookshop. In years gone by, I was in there all the time, but nowadays I hardly ever get in there.
So I wandered around, picking up a few whodunit novels for my sister and one or two books by vintage authors for myself. Finally I circled round to the front of the shop and glanced at a couple of boxes on display by the door.
"Is that the English quarterly The Countryman?" I asked.
"Yes, somebody must have been having a clear-out and brought in a whole box of them. We've sold quite a few already."
"Hmmm, how much are they?"
"Oh they're only thirty cents each."
"How much for the whole lot?"
So I left with fifty copies of The Countryman - I must have known something when I took the extra large bag with me.
I notice someone on eBay is offering issues for $4-95 but I don't know if they get many buyers at that price.
I've read the magazine quite often over the years. It's a useful little volume to have next to the bed; sometimes you just want to read a few pages to let your brain unwind before you put the light out. This is perfect for that.
Of course whether I get through all fifty copies is another matter!