Monday 29 December 2014

The lovely Jo Robinson lands on my blog today.

Jo continues her book tour about her new release and today graces my blog. I feel ever so humble! Echoes Banner Donna thought there was something wrong with her. That she was suffering from a mental illness that has caused her husband to despise her, distance himself from her, and cheat on her. She blames herself for the desolate, miserable thing that is her marriage and her life. Then she comes across a book that will change everything for her, and reading it, she discovers that there’s nothing wrong with her mind at all, but that there is something very wrong with her husband instead. Marco, she realises, is a malignant narcissist. A text book case. He has a real and documented mental disorder, and that he’s been controlling, manipulating, and abusing her for decades. The sudden full knowledge of all that he’s purposely done to her enrages her. Not sure how to leave after thirty years of what she finally knows has been intentional mental and emotional abuse from him, and believing that she has nowhere to turn, being so physically isolated, she bides her time. Then she meets and befriends a group of unusual people who share her passion for gardening, and so begins her journey to escape. She joins her new friends in their project to assist elderly people in old age homes care for their small gardens, as well as secretly supplying those suffering from painful and terminal illnesses with medicinal herb and plant remedies, including illegal plants such as cannabis. As weeks go by, she delves into her memories, relearns what it is to be respected, liked, and loved again, and slowly she formulates a plan to safely leave her dangerous husband. But unbeknownst to Donna, Marco is in serious trouble, and has desperate plans of his own, and absolutely no regard for her safety. ** This is a work of fiction, but malignant narcissists really do exist, and it is a recognised mental illness. Unfortunately, many people never realise that they are involved with a narcissist, because their actions are so demonically bad as to be unimaginable and unbelievable, and so they spend their lives in misery, depression, fear, and isolation. If only by the accidental reading of a fictional story, I hope that this book will help even one person, unknowingly suffering narcissistic abuse, to realise that they don’t have to, and that it’s never too late to start over, be happy, be fulfilled, to love and care for yourself, and be truly loved and respected by others. Narc12349N1T (2) Available now from AMAZON Jo Robinson very recently returned to her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for eighteen years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. She is the author of African Me & Satellite TV, the science-fiction/fantasy series Shadow People, and a couple of short stories, which will be free to download from Amazon from 26 to 30 December, Fly Birdie and The Visitation. To win eBook copies of Shadow People and African Me & Satellite TV, send Jo a message from THIS page. Jo Robinson Photo.jpg 1.jpg 2 Amazon Goodreads Google+ Facebook Twitter Blog

Monday 22 December 2014

Ambulance memoir: Happy bloody Christmas!


Ambulance memoir.
  • I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity and privacy I’ve changed the names of individuals and sometimes places, I may have changed some identifying characteristics, so the people described do not necessarily reflect the actual person or persons involved. Incidents and situations are as I recall.
  • Swearing happens. I have used, and will use, some words that some people may find offensive.
Christmas in the ambulance service is just another day. If you are working, that is.
For my first Christmas I was on a late shift – three to eleven – all over the festive period.
Christmas Eve was meant to be a fun time, full of expectation and goodwill to all men type of thing, with Christmas spirit supposedly overflowing. Well, spirit definitely came into the equation, but not of the type normally associated with it. When you sit in the high street and watch Santa Claus beating the proverbial out of an Elf while Tinkerbell is trying to scratch the eyes out of a nun, you tend to have a different perspective. We were waiting for the police to turn up, so we were a little way down the street, watching, trying to blend into the background, which is difficult when you’re sitting in a big white van with blue lights and AMBULANCE written all over it.
The ruck continued. Another fairy was attacking Santa now and was doing her best to corkscrew his head off while he was on the floor being kicked by what appeared to be a very large lady with extremely large breasts; it was the tattoos and shaved head along with the large muscles which indicated that perhaps this lady was a man. He didn’t have very good legs.
The police eventually arrived, piled out of the van and set to with the appropriate amount of vigour. Truncheons were flying, but after a brief couple of minutes some sort of order was restored. We were beckoned forward and after a brief check decided that two of the combatants needed to go to hospital. The difficulty was that they were on opposing sides. Ambulances were tied up everywhere so we had no option but to take both. My colleague nabbed a copper and virtually ordered him to come with us, just in case the two decided to carry on their disagreement in the back of our motor. So there was I, stuck in the back with Santa handcuffed to the stretcher and a roman in a toga, both with cuts and bruises and virtually unconscious through drink.
The policeman and I passed the time chatting while trying not to inhale the alcoholic fumes which were engulfing us. Santa then vomited to add a nice little extra to the aroma.
Once at the hospital we discharged our charges into the hands of the lovely hospital staff who were fighting against the tide, trying to sort out the needy patients from the waste of time ones. We left our two on the floor, a bucket nearby and went out to have a smoke. A few minutes later a nurse came out and asked us if we would like to give them a hand.
Back inside we went to the crash room where Santa was on a trolley. The doctor produced a big long plastic tube and we all grinned, especially the copper. While we held Santa down the tube was unceremoniously rammed down his throat and then about three gallons of water poured down. Santa didn’t like it very much…..but we did!
I will always associate Christmas day with corpses. Every Christmas day I worked I got a Christmas corpse.
It was a quiet shift for us after the night before and we were enjoying snoozing in front of the telly. We got a call to a collapse and motored off into the late afternoon, around tea-time. We were going to Tring, a small town just up the road.
We pulled up outside a little row of Victorian terrace cottages to see a man standing outside the address. The police had been called too and arrived at the same time as us. The man said he was a neighbour and was checking on the old lady who lived there; he had a little bag of Christmas goodies with him to give to her. He hadn’t got a reply and was now concerned as she lived on her own and she hadn’t any relatives that he knew of.  We peered in through the window but saw nothing. After a few minutes of banging on the door we decided that we had to break in. A couple of kicks later the door burst in and we all followed.
The house was dirty with battered furniture and lots of bits and pieces, pots and pans were littered all over the floor with junk everywhere. The carpet was rank. We pushed passed all this and entered the tiny back room.
Sitting in a chair with a rug over her knees was the occupant of the house; a tiny emaciated looking woman with thin grey hair. A single Christmas card was placed on the fire surround, next to an old mantle clock. The room was freezing cold, she had no central heating, the open fire the only source of heat, and that looked like it hadn’t been lit in days. The old lady was dead. I checked and found she had rigor mortis so she had died a good few hours previously, all alone in a cold dank house.
Her neighbour was upset, the bag of goodies still hanging from his hand. He thought to cheer her up with a visit but found that the grim reaper had got there first.
Happy bloody Christmas, I thought to myself as I stood there looking down.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Ambulance memoir: The one-armed bandit

Memories of an Ambulanceman

  • I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories of them. In order to maintain their anonymity and privacy I’ve changed the names of individuals and sometimes places, I may have changed some identifying characteristics, so the people described do not necessarily reflect the actual person or persons involved. Incidents and situations are as I recall.
  • Swearing happens. I have used, and will use, some words that some people may find offensive
I was working a late shift, three to eleven, and so far it had been quiet. The day crew had put their vehicle away and were ready to go home and we were having a last game of cards before they went. The phone rang, and as attendant, I rushed through to pick it up.
‘Collapse,’ said control. High Street, Berkhampstead. ‘No other details.’
‘Cheers,’ I said, scribbling the location down on a pad.
I was working with Chris, a Leading Ambulancemen, who was in the first line of management. I was lucky that most of the staff at Berko were seasoned ambulancemen, and Chris was another; someone who would teach me a lot over the years and who would become a good friend. He was one of the best ambulancemen in the service.
We walked out leaving the day crew to lock up and jumped into the motor, Chris fired it up and we swung out of the station, then up the road to the high street and turned a right. Blue lights flashing in the dusk we headed off into town.
I was still at the nervous stage, all manner of things flashed through my mind as to what was in store for us. A collapse could mean anything from someone lying dead in the road to someone who just felt a bit iffy. The only thing we could be certain of was that when we did turn up there would be an audience.
As we approached the scene we could see a little group of people gathering around a figure lying on the pavement. A few hands were raised and waving in the gloom. We pulled up and I jumped out. Grabbing my first-aid bag and the portagen I headed towards the group, Chris following closely behind.
‘What’s happened?’ I asked, as I pushed my way through.
‘He just fell over,’ said a man pointing to our patient. ‘He sort of went weak at the knees and then lay down; hasn’t moved since.’
I put down my bag and cylinder and knelt. ‘Hello, can you hear me?’ I said giving him a little shake. I could already see that he was breathing okay. ‘Are you in any pain?’ I sniffed and could smell the distinct whiff of alcohol. The man was small and thin with dark greasy hair, his clothes looked as though they’d come fresh from a midden.
There was no reply. I shook him again and this time I was rewarded with a grunt. I tried again, talking to him and shaking him, trying to get something tangible out of him.
Chris stood at my side with his hands in his pockets and was mumbling to himself. I turned my head to see what he was doing. He was trying not to laugh.
‘What’s up?’ I asked.
‘You’re still fairly new, so you might not have met our friend here. Just don’t take your eyes off of him,’ he advised.
‘Why?’ I asked.
Just then I found out why.
As soon as Chris had stopped talking there was a collective intake of breath as an arm came arcing through the air, aimed right at my head!
I ducked and moved my head just as the limb whizzed by, it came so close I could feel it tickle the hairs on my head.
‘That’s why,’ replied Chris. He moved in quickly, grabbed the errant arm and pinned it down. He then leant forward to speak quietly to our patient.
‘We’ve just about had enough of you.’
‘Fuck off,’ replied our patient.
‘No, you fuck off,’ Chris advised, he then turned to me. ‘This gentleman is one of our regulars and a nasty piece of shit he is too.’
The crowd moved back rapidly leaving just me and Chris within striking distance.
The patient waited a few seconds and then started to scramble to his feet, it was then I noticed that something about the arm looked odd. The man stood and then sort of staggered off, pushing people out of the way.
The air was thick with expletives coming from the onlookers and aimed at our ex-patient, they weren’t amused that they had been fooled and that their entertainment was nothing more than someone taking the piss. I would come across him quite regularly over the coming years; someone who’s only joy in life was to find some way of being the centre of attention, an alcoholic with bloody great chip on his shoulder.
Chris turned to me. ‘Notice anything about the arm?’ he asked, as we watched the drunkard head off down the road.
‘False?’ I enquired.
Chris nodded. ‘Meet the one-armed bandit. Alcoholic and violent. That arm has smacked ambulancemen and coppers alike; and it fucking hurts, I can tell you.’
It was nice to know that even old hands like Chris could sometimes get it wrong!