Monthly Archives: January 2018

January……

motivation collage

January – the first month of the year when you are supposed to feel motivated and energised to take on the challenges of the year to come.  Eh……maybe not!

January – cold dark month lasting at least 96 soul draining days…… I jest (slightly)

Did I feel motivated and ready to take on 2018 31 days ago? I thought so…..

In the spirit of honesty, I’ll confess to having struggled with my own  creative motivation   this month. The stresses and strains of every day life may have been a contributory factor or I may just be making excuses…who knows! We are now at the end of January and I’ve not met the goals I had in my head at the turn of the year and I’m mad at myself.

As part of the “day job” in the “salt mine” I’ve been delivering coaching sessions to my team to encourage them to think about what motivates them in a work sense and to think about what areas they wish to develop themselves in. I’ve now delivered the same session, tweaked to the individual, fourteen times.  It struck me earlier that I needed to deliver it one more time. I needed to deliver it to myself!

I’ll not bore you with the ins and outs of it all but the focus of the coaching was a motivational triangle. The three sides represent Clear, Capable and Motivated. Is it Clear what’s expected of you? Are you Capable of meeting these expectations/goals? Are you Motivated to succeed?

I paused for some self-reflection as I went for my lunchtime meander in the cold. A bit of soul-searching.

And the result……

Clear – YES I am clear of the expectation /goal I have set myself. I need to finish the first draft of book baby 4.

Capable – YES I am capable of achieving this. I need to remain focussed and not “waste” the time deviating off at a tangent and writing other pieces.

Motivated – YES I will finish this! I have invested too much time in the project to abandon it at the last gasp. It is so close to being finished in reality.

So, without further ado…. I have a book to finish! ….. Goodbye January. Hello February!

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A Little Excerpt From Book Baby 4.

AL church

GULP….. time to share a little tiny piece of Book Baby 4 with you all.  It’s still a work in progress but I thought I’d share a little excerpt with you….just to tease you.

For me this is more than a little nerve wracking. Not even my “infamous five” alpha readers have seen this yet!

Book Baby 4 still doesn’t have a title but features a band that those of you who have read Impossible Depths and Bonded Souls will be familiar with. It’s working title is AL – After Life.

Here’s just a little sneak peek into the After Life story. Enjoy!

After Life’s usual rehearsal hall was in the basement of a former church. The church above  had closed its doors a few years before due to dwindling numbers of worshippers. When Ellen and Taylor arrived with Rocky next day, they found that they weren’t the first to arrive, despite being deliberately early. Cal and Luke were already practicing.

“Morning, boys,” called out Rocky loudly. “No Jack?”

“He’s gone over to the music store to pick up some drum heads,” answered Cal. “He split two earlier. None left in the trunk.”

“Two?” echoed Rocky, shaking his head. “That boy’ll bankrupt us all at the rate he goes through them.”

Casually Ellen slipped off her leather jacket and laid it over the back of a nearby chair. As she crossed the room to join the band on the low makeshift stage, she was aware that all eyes were on her. Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, she asked, “What’s the plan?”

“To rehearse,” stated Luke tersely. “And to see if you can deliver the fucking goods, princess.”

“Luke,” growled Taylor as he lifted his guitar from its case. “Cut it out.”

With a sneer, Luke bowed his head slightly, “Humble apologies, Miss Lloyd. Ladies choice.”

Before she could reply, the door creaked open and Jack returned carrying a bag with his new drum heads in it.

“Sorry, people,” he apologised. “Are you all waiting for me?”

“Yeah,” drawled Luke sourly. “And on Little Miss here deciding what we’re playing.”

“Kashmir,” stated Ellen with a calm confidence.

“Kashmir?” echoed the bass player unable to mask his surprise. “You mess this up and you’re history! Hear me?”

“Luke!” snapped Rocky. “Enough, young man! Give her a fair chance.”

“It’s fine, Rocky,” said Ellen, praying she sounded calmer than she felt. “Luke, I’ll make a deal with you. One error and I’m gone. One from you and the result’s the same. You go.”

Both Jack and Cal laughed before Cal commented, “You asked for that, mate.”

“Harrumph,” muttered Luke sulkily.

“Luke, that sounds fair enough to me,” said Rocky. “Especially considering the way you spoke to this young lady last night.”

“Fine,” he growled, inwardly seething at having been backed into a corner.

 

A few minutes later, Ellen stood centre stage with her trembling hand wrapped round the microphone. Taking a deep breath, she heard Jack and Luke begin the thundering drum and bass intro then Cal and Taylor came in on guitar. Precisely on cue, she began to sing, keeping her voice low and even with a hint of menace.

“Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face.”

Over the next eight minutes, she poured her heart and soul into the vocal. Channelling every last ounce of her inner strength, Ellen shut out all thoughts of Luke and the pressures on her, focusing instead on nailing every note however high or long. Beside her, Taylor was playing with a passion to rival her own, almost as if he were willing her through the iconic anthem with his own music. As she reached the final couple of lines, Ellen’s heart was pounding and her palm was sweaty.

“Let me take you there!”

Her voice rang out across the hall as the band finished off the song with a flourish. It didn’t escape her sharp attention that Luke fluffed a section just before the end. With a small smile, Ellen raised her eyebrows and stared at him through her tinted glasses.

“Fucking insane!” declared Cal enthusiastically. “Awesome voice, girl!”

“That was quite something,” agreed Jack from behind the drum kit.

Without looking at Ellen, Luke unplugged his bass, laid it down and stepped off stage. As he walked towards the door, he called back over his shoulder, “The bitch is in.”

 

Book Baby 4 coming Summer 2018  (I hope!)

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing PF Gregory

TEFAY cover

I’ve said before, the world of social media is an incredible thing. It opens up so many avenues to explore.  As an indie author myself, social media is a great way to connect to other authors and to obtain book recommendations (hint…hint…). There is also a strong network of support out there for writers who are keen to support and help others. So, in the ethos of “pay it forward” please allow me to introduce you to P F Gregory, fellow indie author.

Author Profile

Paul and I “met” through a more business related social media platform as we both work for the same parent salt mine in our real worlds.

I’ll be honest, I don’t read a lot of crime novels (not my genre of choice generally) but I grew up on a healthy TV diet of Miss Marple, Bergerac, Taggart and Morse so I’m not averse to the occasional murder.

Paul recently published his second novel, The Evil From Among You, and having devoured it within a few days I was proud to leave a 5* review for him on Amazon and Good Reads.

Just in case you missed it, here’s what I had to say:

Great Second Innings

 Fantastic second crimebuster from P F Gregory. Really enjoyed reconnecting with Chief Inspector Kent and crime reporting journalist Merv Davieson. Both have really developed their personalities in this tale.

Throughout the book the reader is introduced to various interesting characters who could all have had a motive for murder but Mr Gregory succeeds in keeping the reader guessing “who dunnit” right to the final pages. Even, if like me you have no interest in cricket, this is an entertaining read. Check it out for yourself today and see if you guess the murderer quicker than I did!

Look forward to reading about Kent and Davieson’s next case!

 I invited Paul along recently for a “virtual chat”. Here’s what he had to say.

Congratulations on your second crime novel.   What was the inspiration behind the cricketing theme here

A- Without divulging any spoilers, I had an old idea banked of a retribution motive and needed some awful (but plausible) injury to take place. A couple of options were considered but cricket worked and it also lends itself to the enduring English image found on so many male greetings cards to this day – timeless, traditional and a perfect setting for the rural/nostalgic atmosphere I am looking for.

 

We first met Davieson and Kent in your first novel. Was a family wedding the inspiration behind your debut Kindly Invited To Murder

A – Certainly not lol! I’d like to the think the family wedding’s I’ve attended went off with a lot less mayhem, but a local church (Breedon-on-the-Hill) – which is quite a landmark here in Leicestershire, was certainly the inspiration for the setting, becoming the fictional St. Catherine’s Church. The wedding setting did allow me to bring the various characters together in the same place though.

The Evil Among You really develops the characters of Kent and Davieson. Will we see any more of them?

A- Yes, I am keen to retain both my Chief Crime reporter, Davieson, and Chief Inspector Kent. Davieson will always be after local comment and interview when a crime takes place and will have a business reason to be there in the heart of the developing investigation. They will certainly both appear in my next novel and then I maybe need to reverse chronology and temporarily retire Kent for one novel as I write the mystery that made Davieson famous – and for which he boasts about in my first two novels. Davieson had assisted others in the police force, back then, before he met Kent – although Kent had heard of his assistance.

Do you have plans for book number three?

A -Yes, plot devised, characters created and I am currently 36,000 words into writing the first draft with a fairly detailed chapter/scene plan to work through as my road map.

Your Amazon author bio says you’ve been inspired by Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Have you always wanted to write whodunnits? What inspired you to take the plunge and write a novel?

A –I had been entertained by the genre for years (since childhood really) and progressed from reading the Enid Blyton children’s mysteries such as ‘The Five Find-Outers & Dog’ series – to my parents’ Agatha Christie paperbacks. I read literally hundreds of classic detective fiction stories, heard audio books and saw a handful of plays such as The Mousetrap in the West End a couple of times. Additionally, when not reading, there was nothing I enjoyed watching more than the latest Poirot, Marple, Morse, Midsomer Murders, Sherlock Holmes on primetime weekend television. Eventually, this all rubbed off on me and I wondered if I could devise a crime myself, create a bunch of probable and possible suspects and tie it all together by the end of the book. This was the inspiration and driving force to attempt a whodunnit.

We all struggle with our creative work from time to time. What motivates you to keep writing?

A -Nice feedback, a steadily increasing word count – and a continually topped-up bank of ideas for current and future work (characters, scenes, great words, lines of dialogue). I am finding writing a great release too and very therapeutic/rewarding.

Do you have a favourite author and/or book? (I know, cruel question!)

A – So…no longer with us, but for me Agatha Christie and as a prize specimen I’d chose her ‘ Evil Under The Sun’ which is heavily-clued. For me, she delivered so many firsts in the genre and broke many conventions.

How do you approach your writing? Are you a meticulous planner or a pantser?

A – I am a meticulous planner so I love a detailed chapter plan. In writing crime fiction I want to know who did it, why and how before I even start – I then want a bunch of interesting characters and a detailed flow of how the novel will run. I had at least 40 scenes planned out before I even started to type up a sentence of my current project. 

What advice would you give to any budding crime writers reading this?

A – I would say, read widely in the genre and find the style of sub-genre you believe in. Write primarily for yourself unless you absolutely need your work to try and put food on the table – if you do, then pay close attention to conventions and expectations in the genre (everything from word-count, to cover design, to typeface – to procedural accuracy). Accept no barriers – there is plenty of help out there, both in books and on the net, to help you achieve and realise your dreams. Be prepared to put the work in – unless you are a self-made man, or have a cast of thousands, then consider that you will likely have to wear several hats (author, typist, researcher, editor, proof-reader, type-setter, cover designer, marketing, social media/Comms.)

 Publishing one never mind two books in a short space of time is quite an achievement. How did it feel when you held a copy of your novel in your hands for the first time and saw your name on Amazon?

A – I actually plotted my debut novel in my late 20’s and wrote half of the book way back then. For whatever reason, I parked that half-finished book for over 13 years and only picked it up again in my early 40’s when I felt suitably inspired at re-read to finish the job. My output, therefore, appears a little more industrious than it has actually been this last 18 months or so. I am glad I did finish the debut and proved to myself that I could write a detective novel  – the feeling of holding my own book in my hands was incredibly exciting and I had copies printed to wrap up as family Christmas presents last year. I could barely contain myself watching the recipients open them – hugely, hugely rewarding. Similarly, seeing my book on Amazon was surreal and I couldn’t stop looking at the screenshots I took for some time afterwards and enjoyed sharing a hyperlink to my page/product.

 

I also asked Paul for a bit of background on the man behind these novels and was pleasantly surprised to find a musical connection there. Paul revealed that in his late teens/early twenties he played bass for a band called Exit Laughing. Want a listen? https://youtu.be/RQuUkqRGKRM

I was mildly surprised that cricket wasn’t listed as one of his “likes” but Paul is also a keen runner and fell walker, enjoying exploring the summits around the Lake District. Maybe these or his early musical adventures will provide inspiration for future murders. (hint….)

 

I’d like to thank Paul for taking the time out of his busy world to chat to me  and I wish him every success with his books.

PF gregory

 

Please spare a moment to check out him out on Amazon. Here’s the link to Paul’s author page:

Amazon.co.uk link –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/P.F.-GREGORY/e/B01N4LYL4V/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1515094781&sr=8-1

Amazon.com link – https://www.amazon.com/P.F.-GREGORY/e/B01N4LYL4V/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

Our NHS 2018 – a parent’s eye view

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It’s that time of year when the news headlines at a local and national level are splattered with horror stories of extensive waiting times at A&E departments across the country and of lengthy response times from the ambulance service.
Unfortunately, over the first few days of 2018 we have had to make good use of the NHS.
I’m not writing this with the intention of seeking sympathy or attention but to highlight the experiences we have shared and to give a parent’s perspective on the issues we encountered.
There are three parts to this tale but I’ll start with a little basic background to set the scene.
My Girl Child developed an inflammatory condition called costochondritis in October 2016. Basically, its an inflammation of the cartilage between the breast bone and the ribs. It is excruciatingly painful and initially presented with symptoms representative of a heart attack. ( Here’s a link with more details – https://www.healthline.com/health/costochondritis#causes) Very scary to witness! After a few weeks, it all settled down and soon she had been pain free for a number of months – happy days!
On 30th December, out of the blue, the crushing, crippling pain hit her again.
Part One
Despite still being sore and worn out, Girl Child went to work on 31st December. Mid-afternoon, I got a call to say she had taken unwell and was suffering from chest pains. As her dad, The Big Green Gummi Bear (TBGGB) flew out the door to fetch her, I advised her colleague to keep her calm. By the time TBGGB arrived at the mall 15 minutes later she had collapsed, had been struggling to breathe and was barely conscious. An ambulance had been called. It took almost an hour for the ambulance to arrive by which time she had recovered enough to be sitting up with a drink of water. The paramedics checked her over thoroughly, concluded that the costochondritis was the most likely cause and, as her observations were all fine, they allowed her to go home with her dad. (He was now almost in need of medical attention having been totally traumatised by the whole thing.) Once home, Girl Child explained that the chest pain itself hadn’t been that severe but that she had felt as though her airway was being crushed. This was a new symptom…. and a worrying one.
Part Two
Mid-afternoon 1st January, she was sitting calmly watching TV in our study, when suddenly and without warning, she fell off the chair and collapsed on the floor out cold. Fortunately, she didn’t hit anything on the way down and after a few long minutes she began to come round. She was fairly unresponsive to basic questions for about 10 minutes. I wanted to take her straight to A&E but was convinced by her and TBGGB to call NHS24 instead to seek their advice. Girl Child explained that the pain level hadn’t spiked this time but again she had felt like someone was cutting off her airways so that she couldn’t take a breath. She compared it to standing on a hosepipe to stop the water coming out.
After being on hold for about 20 minutes, I spoke with a lovely, calming call handler at NHS24. She took all the details, conferred with the onsite clinician then advised me to take my daughter to the emergency out of hours clinic at a nearby health centre. It took about 20 minutes to get to the health centre by which time Girl Child felt OK-ish. With the absolute minimum wait, we saw a GP who again said it all still sounded like costochondritis. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem too concerned about the breathing issues. He prescribed a strong anti-inflammatory gel to complement the drugs she was already taking. It was after 5pm by this time and the local emergency pharmacy was closed. We returned home.
Part Three
Around 3.30am on 2nd January I wakened and heard a strange noise coming from Girl Child’s room. I rushed in and found her struggling to breathe. She wasn’t quite unconscious but again she was completely unresponsive to simple commands like “look at me” and “squeeze my hand”. I wakened TBGGB to help me with her and we considered dialling 999. He talked me out of it. Gradually she began to respond and about 15 minutes later she was back with us. I stayed with her until she settled then returned to my own bed. Sleep refused to come.
My instructions to TBGGB and Boy Child as I left for work a few short hours later were simple. Call 999 if this happens again.
To her credit, Girl Child hung in there all day without any major incidents.
Early evening, we sat down to watch one of the Harry Potter films. I was aware she was a little quieter than normal and was keeping an eye on her. Around 8pm things flared up again. Within a minute she was struggling to breathe, unresponsive and hot and clammy. TBGGB dialled 999 and passed me the phone. I spoke with the operator who was fantastic. She kept me calm-ish and advised me of what to do. Within 5 minutes two paramedics arrived by car. They had only just begun to attend to Girl Child when the ambulance arrived.
Within 10 minutes of dialling 999 my living room was crowded with paramedics. All four of them were brilliant.
Again, all of Girl Child’s observations were within normal limits but she was still struggling with her breathing so the ambulance crew advised that we should attend our local A&E.
After a flurry of fetching shoes, jackets and her medication, I followed as Girl Child was wheeled out to the waiting ambulance. Within minutes we were on our way to the local hospital.
The paramedic asked me to go in ahead of them and register Girl Child’s arrival.
When I walked into the A&E department, total chaos met me at the door. It was like a scene from a news report from a Third World hospital.
The waiting room was full and overflowing. The corridors were full. Every room and cubicle were full.
The information board advised the published waiting time was 6 hours.
I gave the receptionist Girl Child’s details and rushed back round to find her at the ambulance bay. She was wheeled in, transferred to a wheelchair and wrapped in a thin blanket. The paramedic gave a comprehensive handover to one of the nurses who then completed a fresh set of observations before warning us we’d have a bit of a wait to see a doctor. Somewhere in the midst of this TBGGB arrived.
My best guess at the time was around 9pm.
We were all scared. All a bit unsure about what was going on with her health. We’re neither stupid nor selfish and recognised that we were going to be in for a long wait as there were so many obviously sick people around us.
We waited. TBGGB paced. I sat on the floor beside Girl Child keeping a close eye on her.
We waited, watching the scenes unfolding around us, watching the ambulance crews return time and again with more patients.
Around 12.45am Boy Child was summoned to collect TBGGB to take him home. He felt there was no point in us both waiting and cluttering the place up.
We’d been there for roughly 4 hours at this point and, apart from the handover between the nurse and the paramedic, we hadn’t spoken to another medically trained soul. No one had even paused to check if she was ok. No one had paused to check if any of the waiting patients were ok.
Girl Child was asking for a drink of water by this time so I headed round to the nurses’ station to see if it was Ok to give her one and also to ask where to find one. There were three of them there laughing and joking and enjoying some festive treats. I was directed through the maze of short corridors to a water cooler. Not one nurse asked me if Girl Child was ok. Not one nurse asked if her breathing had settled down. I had also taken the opportunity to ask how many people there were ahead of us in the queue to be seen by the doctor and was told that there were seven.
Shortly after 2am the pain flared again and Girl Child began to get quite emotional and distressed. I ran back round to the nurses’ station to seek help. A nurse followed me back to the waiting area, repeated the observations, declared them normal but said she would try to speak with the doctor. While Girl Child struggled to get a breath, I sat holding her, willing this nightmare to end. The nurse returned with two plastic cups – one half full with water and one with some Gaviscon. She handed Girl Child two paracetamol and two ibuprofen and told her to take the lot. The pain was still increasing at this stage and breathing was obviously difficult for her. Girl Child was becoming very emotional. I asked what the Gaviscon was meant to do to help here as she was not suffering from any digestive issues. The response from the nurse was “Dr says she’s to take it.” I asked if there was anything else they could do to help me here with her and was told “No.” I asked, admittedly a little sarcastically, if I needed to wait until she collapsed again out cold on the floor before she got any help. The nurse said “Yes” and walked off.
I was stunned.
It took a while but I kept Girl Child calm and the pain settled down a little and her breathing became more regular once more.
Over the next few hours we went through a tornado of emotions. She cried. She shouted angrily at me. She sulked. She cried some more.
She’s only seventeen. She was scared. We both were.
Girl Child is a student nurse and the scenes around her were adding to her distress. It was going against everything she has been taught. It was breaking her heart to see not only how she was being treated but how many of the other seriously ill and frail patients were being handled around us.
One old man was brought in and parked in a bed beside us. Like we’d experienced several hours before, after the initial handover from the paramedics, no one came near him. He looked like death. No one was waiting with him. He was all alone.
We sat and watched as a woman was brought in by ambulance suffering breathing difficulties and was whisked more or less straight into a cubicle. Girl Child looked at me with both fear and anger as if to say “Why is she being treated and I’m not?”
At some point (sorry, I lost track of time a bit through fear and exhaustion) I went in search of a vending machine. Both of us were hungry and thirsty. The two machines, usually filled with juices and snacks, were empty save for a handful of dodgy looking cereal bars. The tea/coffee machine was out of order. There was nothing available.
At one point shortly after this, Girl Child needed the loo. When I helped her round to the toilet adjacent to the nurses’ station, we observed several of them again laughing and joking, as they shared a pizza. Now, I don’t grudge anyone a little light relief at their work and I’d never deny anyone sustenance but the perception that this created in the circumstances was that these healthcare professionals didn’t care about the dozens of patients and their concerned relatives filling the department, who were finding it a challenge to get so much as a drink of water.
As time dragged on, we both watched several people surrender and head home without being treated, including one patient with a leaking surgical wound.
Still no one came near us. No one came near the old man who by now had fallen asleep or lost consciousness. Who knows! At least we could see he was still breathing.
I went in search of the water cooler once more to fetch myself a drink. The route I’d taken through the plaster room was now closed as the room was in use. An auxiliary was cleaning the floor and I asked her if there was another way through. She asked where I was sitting, said not to worry myself that she’d fetch me a drink and bring it round. A rare moment of empathy and kindness that wasn’t lost on me. At last someone with people’s comfort in mind.
At 4am I asked how far up the queue we were. There still four people ahead of us.
In two hours they had worked their way through three patients….or had they? Had these poor souls actually surrendered and left? I’ll never know.
Finally, just after 4.30am we were taken round to a room. Girl Child was given a robe and told to slip it on and we were advised that the doctor wouldn’t be too long.
Then we waited….. and waited.
We watched the hands on the wall clock crawl round.
Girl Child was getting sore again and emotional.
Knowing it was pointless to seek help, I consoled her as best I could.
By 6.55am we had both reached the end of our tethers. She was sore and exhausted and had been for countless hours. She was sitting on the bed sobbing her heart out. By now I had been up for around 27 hours and was dead on my feet.
Calmly and wearily, I approached the nurses’ station in a final effort to establish how much longer we were likely to have to wait. There were four nurses hanging about- three who had been there all night and one fresh face. Through conversation I established that the doctor had lifted her file several hours beforehand but emergencies had arrived in between but that she would be seen “soon.” I commented that these repeated delays were creating the perception in Girl Child’s mind that no one gave a damn about her. Out of curiosity, I enquired how they prioritised patients, bearing in mind that Girl Child had been brought in by ambulance 10 hours earlier with breathing difficulties and chest pains. I was advised that obviously those most severely injured or ill took immediate priority followed by those who had arrived unaccompanied. I checked my understanding of what I’d just been told and asked that if I had left when TBGGB had gone home and left Girl Child on her own would she have been treated quicker?
“Yes” was the shocking answer. By staying by her side and caring for my daughter, I had delayed her receiving medical attention. That broke my heart. As a parent I was being told I should have abandoned my child to get her help quicker. I was beyond disgusted.
The nurse checked to see if she could confirm when we would finally be attended to. A young female doctor sat in an alcove to the side writing up her notes. She commented bluntly that she would be with us in a few minutes. Politely I thanked her and advised her that Girl Child was quite distressed and at the end of her patience and that she was very scared.
At 7.25am, 10 and a half hours after arriving at A&E by ambulance, the doctor came into the room. To my absolute horror, she proceeded to lecture my distraught teenage daughter in the most patronising tone of voice that they had had a very long busy night dealing with many patients who were more ill than she was and that three folk had in fact died. My daughter was sobbing her heart out throughout this lecture. She was now in a lot of pain and very frightened as well as being utterly exhausted. The doctor, in a challenging tone, asked her what she wanted to do. Girl Child sat there sobbing, “I just want to go home.” The response from the doctor, “So you want to go home and me not to treat you.” Girl Child was by now sobbing even harder and repeating “I just want to go home.”
I intervened, struggling to remain calm. How dare this doctor speak to my daughter or any other patient for that matter in such an unprofessional manner? She should be ashamed of herself!
After a cold, blunt discussion about what had been going on with Girl Child since 30th Dec, she fetched her two strong co-codamol to help with the pain then checked her over, declaring that it was most likely just a panic attack but that she would instruct an ECG to check her heart. She advised that if the heart trace was clear we could go home. I quizzed her on the panic attack comment, reminding her that this episode had started while we were relaxing watching a DVD. She was extremely dismissive of my concerns and stated it was a panic attack linked to the costochondritis.
She left.
Girl Child broke down again.
A short while later, a lovely nurse came in, helped calm Girl Child down, repeated all the basic observations, ran the heart trace which was thankfully normal, then asked if we’d been left a prescription for pain relief. I advised that we hadn’t and that I didn’t have anything strong enough at home. She said not to worry that she’d sort something out for us. A second moment of refreshing empathy and compassion.
Shortly after 8am we left the hospital.The board advising the current published waiting time was still showing 6 hours.
We had been in A&E for over 11 hours.
I was beyond relieved that they hadn’t found anything seriously wrong with my baby girl. I was beyond disgusted by the whole experience.
Having read a report in our local paper, other people have reported similar experiences that night. Knowing we’re not alone here does not help.
I’m a reasonable person. I don’t expect special or priority treatment for my daughter. We were happy to wait our turn. Ok not so happy about the length of the wait but understanding of the situation.
I was angry at the way I was spoken to when I asked for help and disgusted to be told that she’d need to be out cold on the hospital floor before they’d see her at that point in time.
I was angry at the lack of basic courtesy displayed to everyone around us for all those long hours. A quick “You still ok there? We’ll be with you as soon as we can.” goes a very long way.
I sincerely hope that the old man who lay beside us for all those long hours with no one near him wasn’t one of the three patients who sadly passed away.
I was disgusted to be made to feel that I had delayed my daughter’s treatment because I had done what any caring and concerned person would do and stayed by her side all night.
I was beyond furious by the attitude displayed by the doctor when she finally got around to attending to Girl Child. For a doctor to address anyone in that tone of voice and to use such patronising language is despicable, made worse in this instance by the fact that I had already highlighted how scared and distressed my daughter was.
I’ll not even begin to list the number of breaches of basic nursing protocol or hygiene on a professional practice level that my daughter noted. All I can say is that no wonder bugs spread like wildfire through hospitals if this is typical behaviour!
To the paramedics and ambulance crews – thank you
To the young female police officer who we spent countless hours chatting to – thank you for your company. It kept us both sane all night.
To the auxiliary who displayed simple human kindness towards me – thank you.
To the remaining medical staff whose paths crossed ours – thank you for destroying both my daughter and I’s faith in the emergency medical system.

2018 ? So what’s the plan?……..

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Well it’s a new year and I guess that means that there are new goals and challenges to be agreed.

As I’ve said previously on here, I’m not big on resolutions. I’m much more of a “don’t say never, cos you might; don’t say always, cos you might not” kind of person.

Did I achieve the goals I set out for 2017? (https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/a-new-year-means-new-goals-and-a-fresh-challenge/ )

Yes and No.

I successfully self-published Book Baby 3 aka Bonded Souls on 15 April 2017. Box ticked. Go me!

I did make steady progress with the first draft of Book Baby 4 but I didn’t quite get it finished before the stroke of midnight on 31 Dec 2017. I’m about 75% of the way there with it. However, in a change to the way I usually write and edit, the first 25000 words have been typed up so I am ahead of the game on that phase.

Am I disappointed in myself that I didn’t achieve both of my 2017 goals?

Yes!

However, I am not about to beat myself up about it.

 So, the goals for 2018…..

These are simple:

1-      Publish Book Baby 4 circa June/July 2018

2-      Bring Jake and Lori back out to play and return my focus to the Silver Lake series

3-      Keep blogging once a week

 

Life is complicated and busy enough without over-complicating the creative world I escape to. For me as an individual, my writing is meant to de-stress me not stress me out.

 

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful 2018.

Thank you for the continued love and support for not only my book babies but also for the various short stories that I have published via this blog. (Yes- the dark angel will return at some point in 2018)

 

And, as the traditional Scottish New Year blessing goes- 

lang may yer lum reek

 

 If you’ve not yet check out the Silver Lake series, it can be found on Amazon:

 Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Amazon.co.uk – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coral-McCallum/e/B00VYU1SZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1    

 

(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)