I was double-booked again today - I'd said I'd work for Al in the morning, but then the meeting I'd expected to be in the afternoon was set for 10 am. So, being endlessly good-natured, Al agreed that we could go in early so that the main work would be done in time for me to set off for the high school.
The meeting, which was the head's performance management, was productive and finished by 12.30. It was, in the end, as well that it was a morning meeting as Dilly had asked me to babysit Pugsley (the baby, a boy) while she took Squiffany (the toddler, a girl) to her dance class. Tilly (the dog, female) did not require a babysitter.
When I arrived, Dilly was cleaning the carpet. "We've had a bit of an accident. I took his nappy off, but he hadn't quite finished." I was glad I hadn't been any earlier.
The Sage offered to mind the baby while I cycled into town. I'd only just come from there, but the rule is that I shop by bike. When I got back, half an hour later, Pugsley was spread-eagled asleep on top of the Sage. He slept until his mother arrived home.
Before the meeting, one of the governors told me that his wife had had a visit to hospital yesterday. She had suddenly felt ill and breathless at work and, realising it was an allergic reaction, drove herself (yes, not the wisest thing, but the quickest) to hospital. She was treated quickly but went into anaphylactic shock - my friend said that it was very frightening, especially when the consultant was evidently concerned. The odd thing was that she had not eaten anything she was allergic to. She'd had a banana and felt that it didn't taste right, but she might already have been affected by something else. Two other people in the office were eating nuts, but not near her.
The consultant wanted to keep her in for observation, but there were no beds. I see on the news tonight that that hospital has declared a state of emergency, because there are more casualties arriving than there are places to treat them. People were being treated in the ambulances as there were no beds, even for emergency admissions, which meant that people dialling 999 were having to wait, however ill they were. This hospital is only a few years old and was deliberately built with fewer beds than the one it replaced. Furthermore, the Primary Care Trust is closing beds in the local cottage hospitals, which means that people who do not need to be in the Norfolk & Norwich but still need nursing care can't leave and so block beds for new admissions.
Last night, I was out with friends when the Sage rang, at about 10 o'clock. "Didn't want you to worry," he said, "but I'm going round to the H's - they've a bit of a problem. I'll take your car." He arrived home at about half past midnight. The husband has a kidney or bladder (didn't ask for details, but I know he's had it for some while) problem and is very prone to infections. He'd started to pass blood and rang the doctor, and was told to come to the medical centre some 10 miles away for antibiotics. He and his wife are nearer 80 than 70, she doesn't drive and he was in no condition to. No one was available to come out. Just what has been done to our National Health Service?