Usually I like to get up early, but this morning when my phone alarm went off at 5.15am I wanted to pulverize it into little pieces, and sink back into a deep sleep. As I had very little sleep over the weekend, my head felt heavy, as I dragged myself out of bed to begin the day.

Unfortunately, I had to wake Mr Grump up as he was taking me to work today as Einstein was going to be fixing my car. His bulging eyes in a blanched, pale face told me that he still had his man flu, and just to confirm this, he let out one of his enormous sneezes. This is going to be a good day, I can tell……

As I entered the ward I realised I had forgotten to put on my belt with my uniform (Great, now I am going to be in the shit with the boss)! I might have mentioned before that I have no waist, so this bloody belt does nothing for me anyway, and I spend all day trying to re-arrange it so that it is somewhere around my middle. I could of course, wear the  tunic and trousers but for some obscure reason, I always get an ugly-looking rash on my lower leg that itches like hell, besides the fact that I look even worse in trousers than I do in the dress! Anyway…it was no good fretting over the belt, I was not brave enough to ask Mr Grump to come all the way back with it, so I would just have to hope that it went unnoticed.

Handover arrives, and out of the six of us that have turned up (Still short-staffed as usual), four of us have had this awful lurgy, and as the night staff tried to hand over, they were drowned out by various, snorts, sniffs, coughs and splutters, that had still remained with us. The other two poor unaffected staff are subtly moving their chairs out a bit from the table we are all sat around, trying fruitlessly to avoid the germs that are no doubt whizzing around in the air, looking for someone new to latch onto.

I was allocated to my usual Bay with six ladies, but the difference was this time, I was on my own! Usually there are at least two of us to a Bay, but as there weren’t enough of us to go around, and my bay was relatively easy, as I had 2 patients that could get about to the toilet, and could wash themselves with only a little help, it was decided that I could manage by myself, and if necessary ask the nurse-in-charge to help out.

It started off ok, breakfasts eaten, drugs administered, washing equipment given to those that needed it etc, and I was just going to give some help to someone else that needed it, when I was distracted by a patient from another Bay who was desperately trying to escape from the ward by the exit, which is right next to my bay. The nurse looking after her was trying to coax her back away from the door, but she was not having it, and lashed out at the nurse with the small teddy that she constantly carries around with her.

I tried to help, but to no avail, she was pulling at the doors, and banging on the glass trying to get out (we have a code to get into our ward as the doors have to be locked to stop absconders, and to get out you have to press a button on the wall some way from the door). Meanwhile, people were trying to get through the doors so there was a lot of dancing around trying to stop her getting out, whilst letting people in, trying to avoid getting whacked by the teddy at the same time!

After a while the patient got annoyed with the doctor who was innocently  reading some notes near to where she was standing, and once she had vented her spleen at him, she seemed to temporarily calm down and headed off back down the ward away from the door, swiftly followed by the harassed nurse, looking rather bedraggled as a few well-aimed blows had managed to dislodge some of her hair that was carefully tied back.

Normality resumed for a while and I got on with getting everyone washed,dressed, beds made, and helped them to sit out on their chairs, as it was by now nearly lunchtime  I could hear some shouting coming towards me , and I knew that it was the same patient coming back to have another go at getting away, this time even more angry and determined than before, and she was sparing no-one that tried to stand in her way…

It was at this moment,, that a senior matron came onto the ward, with about 10 eager Italian nurses in tow, who had just been employed by out hospital, and were visiting various wards to get a feel for what work here is like…luckily, the patient’s husband (who had been called to try to calm her down),had turned up, and had whisked her off into an office, uttering soothing words, as he went. It didn’t last that long before she started shouting at him though, before she wore herself out, and went to her bed to sleep for a while.

I managed to get through the rest of my shift (I usually only work ‘short days’) uneventfully, and just as I was writing up the last of my notes, the ward phone rang and it was for me. Mr Grump had come to pick me up and was waiting outside ( I know he is ill but it was bang on finishing time, and there was no need to ring me on the ward phone, for goodness sake) Impatient to get going and get home where he could suffer in peace,  I informed him that I had offered for him to give the ward clerk a lift home as we had an unexpected downpour; as she had a 30 minute walk, and would get soaked, I knew he wouldn’t mind dropping her off in the opposite direction to where we live, on a very busy road, with a huge school that had just finished for the day, culminating in a massive traffic jam!

Credit where it’s due, he put a smile on his face and even chatted a bit on the journey, and didn’t  swear when a van pulled out of a side street and he had to jam on the brakes to avoid it!

It’s quite sweet really, that although we might take our partners for granted a bit, they do put up with a lot. That poor patient’s husband bore the brunt of her tongue lashing as well as a good few clouts from teddy, with patience and understanding, even though it really hurt him to see her like that… and although Mr Grump does love to have a moan about everything, he was good enough to take me to and from work although he didn’t feel like it at all.