Monday 15 November 2010

Pulp Fiction

We've all seen one of those B movies where another species live unseen alongside humans. Sometimes they are aliens, sometimes they are angels, but the formula is always the same.

The grey, concrete buildings of Addenbrookes are crammed daily with enough staff and patients to populate a small town. The campus is vast and has it's own shopping centre, burger bar and coffee houses. On a rare good day, a patient could spend the day shopping, having lunch and pretending they're not really in hospital at all.

If you were to walk through the doors into the vast concourse and stop to watch for a moment, you might think you've stumbled into the Ealing Studios.

The rainbow of staff, in their various uniforms or well tailored suits stride out with confidence across the marble floor. Their hair shines, their eyes glow, they are charged with determination. They stand tall with the restless air of those who have somewhere important to be. They don't see what you, the viewer can see, standing by the door.

You can see the others.

The others have loose flowing robes and strange machines. Their eyes look haunted and dull, their slow movements seem a lethargic parody of the bustle of the staff. They stoop and they shuffle, their hopes and dreams suspended indefinitely.

The two exist side by side but neither seem aware of the other at all.


  1. Sue...In a BUPA hospital it's the other way round, the staff know their place in the pecking order, much better for the patients, I won't spell it out 'cos you know where I'm going with this. :-)

  2. You know, for every bustling staff member you see in the concourse, there'll be others who look a lot more like the patients, who are hidden away... They'll be the ones who don't get to leave the ward because there aren't enough staff, or because they want to spend time with the dying patient and their family and see things through or because their idea of a break is a quick fag and a coffee round the fire exit...Those same bustling staff might be totally knackered by the end of their 12 hour shift and they certainly won't be shiny, happy people then...Some of us do see you lurking and living in the shadows, Sue, and the really good ones amongst us will do our best to get you up and out of them (but not necessarily into the light...)

  3. Sue - I hope you didn't read it as a criticism of the staff, I didn't mean it to be. It was more the contrast between the young and vital and fit and us stooped shuffling patients. I didn't mean that they ignore us, just that the two "species" live together side by side, lol.
    I was writing about when they are off the ward and mingling together.
    I feel guilty now and will have to go away and write a post on the real stars who have done amazing things for me over the years!

  4. Sue,

    Anytime I want to access your blog, I always type its title into google. Today, for the first time ever, it finished my typing for me. That it techno geeky world is progress for you!

  5. Haha! That's exciting.

    I got an email today, informing me I had made it onto Wikio's rankings. Amusingly, it didn't tell me what my rank was, just that I had one.
    I keep finding links to the blog all over t'internet. Today I found someone had posted it on a forum about pet rats!! How's that for random, lol.

  6. Wow, you have a rank, not sure what that means, but sounds good.
    Quality stuff you write here and it's clearly having an impact.

    My daughter, a midwife is so busy on an understaffed ward she frequently has to work through without even chance of a toilet visit. I don't know how they do it, I really don't. I'm not one for over glorification of people of a particular role i.e. Don't think all nurses and doctors are necessarily
    wonderful, but what we expect from people with life or death responsibilities is totally unreasonable.