Kate Livinstone: Thankfully for all I’m not Nurse Kate

Kate Livingston
Kate Livingston

An early morning phone call at the weekend turned all my plans upside down.

It also gave me an insight into the work of today’s NHS – and made me realise that we’ve got so much to thank those working in our health service for.

I was allowing myself the luxury of a long lie safe in the knowledge that Emma wasn’t likely to descend with her brood. They had plans for the last weekend of the school holidays ... and so did I.

A couple of friends and I had decided that we were going to have a wee jaunt on the train to enjoy a bit of shopping, some lunch and a lot of chat!

Nothing was going to be rushed about our day as we had all the time in the world – or so we thought.

I was thinking that it was about time to start moving when my phone rang. I hate to confess that my first thought was it Emma wanting me to take the children, but no, it was one of my friends.

“Kate it’s Jane. I’m really sorry but I’m not going to make it,” she said, her words barely audible.

“I’ve been awake most of the night and I still feel terrible. Must be something I ate.”

My first thought was that like me she lived alone and perhaps needed someone to call round to help her.

“No I’ll be fine. I’m just going to rest today and hopefully will feel better tomorrow,” she insisted.

“I’m just going to get up for a glass of water then go back to bed and hopefully get some sleep ...”

Her words were punctuated by a loud clatter and a thud.

“Are you okay?” I screamed down the phone.

Only hearing a moan, I jumped up, pulled some clothes on and dashed round to her house.

Letting myself in with the key from under the plant pot, yes I know, if I know it is there so does every cat burglar around.

I was greeted with her lying in a heap at the top of the stairs with one of her feet caught up in her dressing gown.

Closer inspection confirmed that something needed done about her swollen ankle.

I managed to wrap her up and helped her hobble to my car before driving to A&E.

Once there we were treated with nothing but kindness and professionalism.

However, listening to how some patients spoke to nurses, doctors, paramedics and clerical staff, all who were only trying to help them, was a shock.

If someone spoke to me like that I would have told them to forget getting their wound dressed, a painkiller for their headache or a plaster cast on their arm.

But thankfully there are people in our NHS who are always prepared to look after others, no matter who they are.