JonnyB’s Holiday Report – #1 of 3.

Accident and Emergency is a bleak and joyless place.

As far as I can see, it works like this. You walk into the department with, say, an axe sticking out of your head. A lady greets you from behind bullet proof glass and leaps into action to establish your ethnic group, address and date of birth. You are then given some notes, which say something like ‘axe sticking out of head’ and record your address and date of birth. These notes are to be put in a tray.

A while later, a nurse emerges and collects your notes from the tray. Frowning, he or she studies these before calling your name. You follow the call into an ante-chamber, being careful to mind your axe on the top of the doorframe.

“What seems to be the matter?” you are asked.

You go through the axe business again, and the nurse carefully writes ‘axe sticking out of head’ on a new page in the notes. They then enquire as to your address and date of birth, before leaving you back in the main area for a bit to make contact with the axe-removal department.

The axe is probably beginning to smart a bit by now, so you amuse yourself by watching the television that’s screwed to the wall, high up in the corner. The BBC News is on. Of course, as it is a hospital, the sound is turned down completely. They have paid for a television in the corner to entertain people, but they have tuned it to a station that generally features programmes that require sound, and have turned the sound off.

Another while later, your name is called once more. It is the axe specialist, who looks at your head-addition with interest. Opening your notes at a new page, he asks you for your date of birth and address, which he records importantly. He then asks you what the matter is. You explain the business with the axe once more, and he writes ‘axe sticking out of head’ on his new page in your notes.

“Mmmm,” he says, sitting back at the end of the consultation. “You have an axe sticking out of your head.”

“I think,” he continues, “we will need to admit you to have a look at that.”

You wait for a while for a porter to arrive, so that you can follow him to the axe ward. The porter is friendly and cheerful, and follows the clearly signposted directions competently. In the axe ward, you are shown to a room with a bed and told to wait.

An auxiliary nurse arrives with your notes, in order to ask you your date of birth and address. She writes this down on a new page in your notes, so that they know where you live and how old you are. The consultant will be round in due course, and is sure to find out what’s wrong with you.

We sit in the A&E reception area, waiting to be seen. Looking on the bright side, I do not have an axe sticking out of my head, but I am otherwise pissed off at the general direction of the beginning of our holiday.

If I were in charge of A&E, I would put Charlie Chaplin films on a continuous loop. It wouldn’t matter about the sound and it would cheer everybody up. There is nothing like a Charlie Chaplin film to make the world seem sunnier, and it would be better than a mouthing Huw Edwards.