Medical Providence
Saturday May 16th 2009, 5:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The morning
Open curtains
Sunny day
And it was sunny
But not clement
There was a wind
Like some kind of travelling desert wind
That had lost it’s warmth
It was just like the mistrale
That I remembered from Avignon
It just added more confusion to the pre programmed public
And also added picturesque beauty to the city streets
As storms of swirling blossom
Migrated in chaotic swarms

As I drove along the seafront
I got a call to go to Dunstans
Dunstans is a home for the blind
More specifically blind war veterans
It stands atop a hill…facing south west towards the sea…alone
As alone as a Bates Motel
And as curious as a Hotel California
I left the cab
Buffeted by a huffing wind
Which followed me into the foyer
Flicking over the pages of the visitor book on the desk
The old guy behind the check-in
Said nothing
And for a moment we just looked at each other
And for a moment I just looked at the crooked picture behind him
“Taxi for Sterling”
He blinked and then reached for the phone
He picked it up then stopped
And put it back down
‘There’s nobody here by that name’
And for a moment we just looked at each other
I was held by the suspense
“Ok” I said
And turned and left
Just what is this place?
Surely the world has seriously lowered it’s supply of blind war veterans
How many of them can be left?

After a rather long gap
Watching the crazy blossoms
And trying my best to read ‘El Pais’
The data unit beeped
And I set off to pick up some NHS staff on account
Unusually…the passenger was waiting outside
It was a woman
From the management team
She described how she was off to do a power point jobby
On the subject of patient after care
Somewhere in my head…a door opened
And I carved open an opportunity
I quickly rattled off my misgivings about my own patient after care
I told her all about the heart operation
And highlighted the problems of lack of information
And factory style diagnosis
All she could say at the end of it was
That I really ought to see another cardiologist

I pondered for while after she had gone
I had treated it like one would
When trying to arrange a visit to see the Wizard of Oz
Sidestepping my usual doctor
For the other lady doctor would be my plan
A new direct decisive approach

I took another passenger on the way back into town
As we entered the town centre
I could hear an ambulance coming
But I didn’t know yet what to do
Because I couldn’t work out the direction of it’s approach
Those damned stupid American sirens
Why don’t they invent one that signals it’s position?
Blast…there it is right behind me
There was nowhere I could move to…so I kept still
Whilst up ahead of me
As usual
Drivers panicked
Skewing their cars into daft positions
Until the ambulance got to the last car in its way
The person in the car was frozen
By the banshee behind him
And the red light in front of him
He lurched forwards and then stalled
I sighed and shook my head
He managed to start it again
And relief for him as the light turned green
Giving him permission to move for the emergency vehicle

We arrived at the station
I stepped out of the car
Sorry I forgot to mention
I am no longer in a car
The owner of the nice swish auto saloon
That was parked round the corner
Has wibbed out on me
No longer has the stomach for the hackney fight
And has decided to sell up
I am now temporarily
Or so I would hope
In an 8 seater transit
That is why I got out of the vehicle
To open the side door
And kick out the step
But the point of this paragraph is this
The man steps out of the cab
Onto the station
The fare is £4-50
He hands me a fiver
Then he says thankyou
Now the combination of the tone of the thankyou
And the ever so slight posturing
And the oh so subtle look from his eyes
To him….
Is an indication….to me
That I can keep the change
I have to decipher this
And I have to decipher this correctly
Nothing can be allowed to be assumed
Often…throughout the day
Similar situations arise
They are very close to this one
And I will hover for a moment
And then hand them the change back anyway
Or they will say something about taking a certain amount from a note
And I take the mumbled phrase
Looking at it like a palaentologist would study a rock
Is that the shape of a claw I can see there?
No it’s just a rock
And I give them back the normal change
I never ask them to repeat what they just said
It all adds to the incredible mental wear of this job

For a while I kept yo-yoing to and from the station
On one of the return to the station legs
I was running up one of the approach roads to the station
It has been sliced in half recently by road works
But today it was all being disassembled
So the ‘no left turn’ sign had gone
But as I turned
I saw that the ‘Road Closed’ sign was still there
About 30yds before the traffic lights
So all the traffic was now running up another little side street
It was packed
So I took the initiative
And drove around the ‘Road Closed’ sign
Up to the red light
Standing to my right…just under the traffic lights
Were 2 traffic wardens
One of them was a wizened veteran
Behind me was a bunch of cars that had followed my lead
The motor was running
And the red light was taking ages
The two wardens were quietly discussing the situation
For sure…the lights had been fixed for the road works
They were not going to change
The wardens were still discussing
Sly and surreptitious
There was an ambush in the offing
They crossed the road and disappeared behind the building on the left
After a few seconds
I nudged forwards
Sure enough both of the Nazi wardens had stopped
And were leaning on a railing by the side of the road
Waiting for me to break the lights
This just highlights the constant war between the wardens and the cabbies
I informed the passengers
That the goose was cooked
Pulled forward…and did a u-turn
There was no way I was going to play into their hands

As I was doing
What I thought was the last job of the day
One more appeared on the screen
It was for Lewes Hospital
Out of town…I sighed…thought of the money
Thought about the fact that I was on the edge of town
And then felt the urge to go and do it

It was a golden move
Tinkered from an outside quantum dimension
I arrived at the hospital
Ventured into the lobby
To see a tall German woman waiting for me
She sat in the front
To more enjoy the view of the passing countryside
As we pulled out of the drive
I asked her what she did at the hospital



I set to work immediately
The first task was cholesterol
When you hit high cholesterol
And report in with blocked arteries
You are put in 1 of 4 pidgeon holes
Poor diet….Obese….Family History…Old and worn out
The current statistics of Family History
Which means Genetically predisposed without the expensive analysis
Is 1 in 500
This is my hole
I asked her if this statistic was from the pidgeon holeing
It was
She told me that to get a much better analysis
Thereby getting far more acurate treatment and advice
I should see a Lipid Doctor
I didn’t know such a doctor existed
Or the Lipid Clinic in which they work
The NHS more and more feels to me
Like a great big DIY health store

Next was the palpitations that have been present since the op
I told her about the electrical imbalance theory put forward by my doctor
She agreed with this
I told her that they enhance under thought and stress
But not under physical pressure…like exercise
She puzzled over it for a moment
Then said that I should apply for a full day test
Where I am wired up and monitered throughout a normal working day
This would reveal far more than the static hospital test

I was doing well here

Next she told me
That the bypassed arteries were still intact
They weren’t cut off
So instead of 3 arteries in
I had 6
Only one of which was completely out of service
And this may be why I feel queer after a really hot bath
Which she said lowers my blood pressure
I have stopped taking really hot baths

Inspired by all this
I saw the lady doctor the next day
She has freckles and a slightly pointy attractive face
And great boobs
A ‘Great Rack’ as the Chavs say
I had to fight their ‘Eye gravity’ throughout our meeting
But I was direct and decisive
And I got everything that I wanted

As I left
I thought about a recently dead friend
A punk busker named Dooge
One of his great chat up lines was

“Gis a go on yer tits!”

Every Jobs r Us
Thursday May 07th 2009, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It was to be the last job of the day
One of those “Oh…I’ll just do one more”
I arived at one of the condo’s
That are occupied only by old folks
And waited for at least five minutes
Then out he came
Mr Jenkins
He walks with a curved posture
Like lots of the old men do
As he approached
I noticed that he was wearing an outstanding silver wig
And had half-inch long whiskers all over his face
He reminded me of a theatrical mock lion
His eyesight was awful
And I had to meet him to draw him in to the cab
I clipped him in and we set off for Somerfields
We were nearly there when he started shuffling through his pockets
“Oh no…I’ve left all me money”
We had to turn around and go all the way back
I went around to the passenger door to help him out
Everthing that he was wearing
Was several sizes too big for him
Including his shoes
And it served to make him look even more ungainly
He set of to return to his flat
And took the best part of ten minutes to return
We set off again…the meter was already at £12
On arrival at Somerfields we realised that it was closed
‘It’s closed’ I told him
‘It’s closed…It’s Sunday and it’s now past five o clock’
“Sunday?…I thought it was Monday”
All I could do was offer to take him to the nearest Co-op
He agreed
On the way I realised that he would be relying on the taxi batphone in Somerfields to get back home
There was no batphone in the Co-op
Which meant I was going to have to wait and take him home
I dropped him off and drove around the side to wait for him

Since my operation last summer
I have watched old men
And wondered about my own mortality
I have noticed how few old men there are
And what are poor state they are all in
In my time as a taxi driver I have seen quite a few old ladies become widows
One of them even blossomed
And came to life once her husband had gone
Just a quick skim through the obituaries in the paper
One can cleary see that you are fair game
Once you pass the fifty mark
There is no wonder
That men have that inate feeling
That going out in a blaze of glory is better
Than turning into a fungus at the bottom of a bin

He had now been gone another ten minutes
It occurred to me that he would not be familiar with this shop
So I decided to get out and go see how he was doing
He wasn’t doing well at all
I walked up to him and got hold of his basket
He couldn’t see me properly
‘How are yer doing?’ I said
“Ohhh..” he groaned “I can’t see”
I took his basket
And insisted that he dictate to me what he wanted
We quickly whipped around the shop and filled the basket
He spent another five minutes at the till
Doing god knows what
When we got back to the cab the meter was at £19-60

When we arrived back at his flat
The cost of mission transport read £22-60
And the primary objective of the mission was to feed his cat
“How much is it?”
I stared at the meter
My face muscles jerking and squidging
Under pressure from my Yorkshire integrity
“Just give us a tenner”

To the many tasks that hang upon a taxi driver
Add Careworker

On my way home
Another last job was landed upon me
It was in the right direction for home so I took it
The name on the data unit was an obscure terrace
The carousel of streets swivelled around my mind
Until I crystalised it’s location
But there was a small element of doubt
So I pulled out the scruffy map just to check
As I did so
I felt the urge to look up to my left
There was a white van man
He was giving me one of those knowing laughs
And shaking his head
It was saying
“Look at the great taxi driver”
“Having to look at his map”
“Cause he doesn’t have a clue where he is going”
“And I have caught him sneaking a look”
I laughed back at him
Shaking my head in disbelief
He dismissed me and drove off
I have never done a job where so much is expected of me
The public think that I should know
Every road, street, terrace, mews…by heart
Even though some of them I have never been to
Every block of flats
And there are tons of them
Some of them having the same name
Every pub, club, restaurant, cash machine, shop, business
And lets not forget the weather
I am supposed to know that as well
I really can’t think of any other job where you have to remember so much shit
Come on Mr and Mrs Public
If I stuck you on the Generation Game
And sat you in front of that conveyor belt
Do you think you would even remember half of it?