SHARON RACE

performer Writer Speaker producer

"Multi talented." Newcastle Journal “Awesome”– Frog & Bucket "Fantastic host... Kept the night flowing" - Laughing Cows

  • One Geordie, the Big Break & a Pantomime Part 4

    “What happened to you? Full of drink were you?” asked the taxi driver who came to A&E to pick us up and take us back to my home that night.

    “I slipped on the wet pavement,” I began, my story perfected. “On my way to the theatre. To see the pantomime. I hadn't been drinking. Hadn't had a drink. Just slipped, didn't even fall.”

    The taxi driver began regaling a tale as soon as I stopped speaking. A tale he had obviously told more than once: “I had a man who I often picked up privately when he came here for business. He was always complaining of a bad neck. I sez to him, 'it's your pillows. The shit ones in the hotel. That's what your problem is' So next time I picked him up he told me that he'd brought his own pillow with him and his neck was perfect. I said 'I told ye so. I told ye' and he says 'You were right'”

    Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realise, when you weren't driving a taxi you were a practicing orthopedist.

    I suppose, I thought, it was better than him being a usual taxi driver and making racist remarks.

    “The problem with the NHS,” he began, “are that there are too many foreign nurses. Too many foreigners...”

    I spoke too soon... the ignorant twat.

    It's only when you break a leg or an ankle that you realise how immobilised you become. How much, in small things, you rely on your freedom of movement. Even making a cup of tea becomes the equivalent of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Getting washed felt like a surgical procedure, laying out all of the necessary tools to perform ablutions. Thanks to a towel placed on the foor, no drips were present for fear of another slip...

    I got around the hot cup of tea problem, rather inventively, especially after a friend suggested using a thermos flask, which was a stroke of genius! Said friend also suggested I contact the local authority for them to provide a wheelchair, which wouldn't have helped in an upstairs flat.

    As well suggesting the council for a commode, which, out of principle, I wouldn't have used. Come hell or high water, I was going to go to the toilet!

    (The tips were appreciated however...)

    So, hot cup of tea and inventiveness was made easy as I've two thermos flasks. The large one was filled with boiling water; the small one with milk. Both were carried through in my satchel, which some have scoffed at when I've taken it out and about, but up theirs as it was my trusted friend, companion, a life saver.

    A mug was also carried through, along with tea bags and hey presto – a fresh cup of tea was mine.

    Screw you, crutches!

    Making food wasn't the problem part of eating. No, but transporting the food from the kitchen to the licing room certainly was. The meal was put into tuppaware, sealed and then carried through in my trusty satchel until I was settled . Eating out of tupparware though just isn't right. Felt like was on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here...

    Exhaustion.

    Exhaustion was a curse upon me. Not only from the broken bone, but the painkillers. Codeine, whilst killing any pain, meant slept day away. So when people asked was I bored just sitting around, I truly wasn't. Thanks to the codeine, I wasn't waking and getting up until lunchtime. By time a short shower was had, dressed, tea and breakfast (which I had a cheek to call it...) it was nearing teatime.

    Then, being exhausted from all of the former, another nap was needed. Just as well as early evening TV is shit.

    Thank god for Miss Marple repeats...

    My moonboot was comfortable. Far more than the temporary plaster cast that had been put on me for the first night. So I felt blessed – apart from the breaking of the ankle in the first place, obviously...

    I was able to remove the moonboot as and when, which was a huge, huge plus for sleeping and being in bed. I was able to climb into bath to shower, which was a real boon and made me feel like I'd achieved something. Even though it was just being clean.

    I was able to wash my hair after a few days.

    I was even able to condition my hair, as I'm not a total animal.

    In the moonboot, I could also pretend I was Michael Jackson in the 'BAD' video...

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  • One Geordie, the Big Break and a Pantomime Part 3

    I'd sat in a vacant wheelchair, which was unbelievably heavy, so when they called my name, Mum began pushing me over toward the treatment centre doors. Unfortunately, it was too heavy for her to handle, and, much like a supermarket trolley, it had a mind of ots own. So much so, that I was heading straight for a pillar! Another accident was looming and I felt like I was in a Fast & Furious film as the wheelchair swerved at the last moment, avoiding my sore leg ploughing into it.

    The worst part was the junior doctor who had called my name, simply standing, holding the door open, watching vacantly.

    “You can't push the chairs forward,” he informed us. “I'll take over.”

    He then dragged me in said wheelchair at what felt like the speed of light, round a corridor and corners. I felt like I was on the Big Dipper

    I was put into the same A&E room as when I had recently accompanied a friend who fell and injured her leg. She had thick black tights on and, despite having split her knee open, was more concerned when the nurse was cutting the tights to get to the wound as she  couldn't remember if she had shaved her legs.

    "You want to see my legs. I'm waiting for the wax cycle.” the nurse had told her. “I wont even mention my nether regions, apart from one word - forest.”

    After the consultation, I was sent for x-ray. Which, being so late after 10.30pm, was empty, x-rayed immediately and sent back to wait for my junior doctor.

    “I've got bad news – you've broken your ankle,” Junior told me.

    Now, I didn't think, for one moment, that I had actualy broken anything. I was convived I had torn the ligaments. Like the footballers do. So, for the first time since the accident, the tears came.

    “Let's hope you don't need an operation,” junior added, casually.

    More tears.

    “We'll put a temporary cast on it and you'll be back here to the fracture clinic first thing tomorrow morning.”

    It was now 11pm. What time was “first thing tomorrow morning”? Was it even worth going home...

    Junior left the room sheepishly and we waited what seemed an eon for the nurse to arrive to plaster my leg. Maybe she was plastering that bit of cracked ceiling I'd noticed in the corridor first.

    “We're to put a temp plaster on for you, are we?” Nurse said abruptly on entering.

    Was that the Royal 'We'?

    She manhandled my leg to have a look how best to perform the task, hmmm'd and harred to herself.

    “These trousers will have to come off,” she declared.

    “What will I wear to go home?” I asked. A fair enough question, I felt.

    She rolled her eyes and sighed: “I could give you a hospital gown.”

    I'm no fashionista but even I have standards.

    It also occurred to me, what a waste of resource that was. How many people a day did they offer to give hospital gowns to take away to – times that by the number of hospitals in the UK – the NHS deficet soon adds up...

    “The jeans split at the crutch when I slipped, so cut this leg off at the knee,” I said.

    “Okay,” she said and came at my injured leg with a huge pair of scissors.

    She gathered the jeans at my knee and then moved the scissors toward my crotch, cutting the jeans just under the pocket, making it into a hotpant. Could she not have cut them off just above the knee as I'd suggested!

    I'm sure I saw a complacent glint in her eye as she smugly said: “There!”

    She exited, returning some moments later with a loaded trolley of plaster etc. She was very brusque in her manner and movement, sweeping past the broken ankle to get herself into postion. Well, as long as she was comfy.

    “Hop up onto the couch,” she barked at me as she surreptitiously attempted to hoik it up higher. Erm – she was aware I'd broken my ankle...?

    After four attempts of hopping up onto said couch due to being off balance, bulky and giggling to myself – out of embarrassment more than it being funny – Nurse had begun soaking the bandages.

    “Come on, come on,” she clipped. “Lie on your front.”

    Err...

    “Lie on your front, please,” she bluntly said.

    Hold your horses, I'm not a contortionist. Again, much effort to turn around and lie on my front and Nurse began applying plaster-soaked bandages to my left leg.

    “How did you do this?” she asked.

    “I slipped on the wet pavement,” I began. Due to repeating it to so many staff, I now had the story perfected. “On my way to the theatre. To see the pantomime. I hadn't been drinking. Hadn't had a drink. Just slipped, didn't even fall.”

    “You hadn't been drinking?” Nurse asked in surprise. And with that one statement, her whole attitude changed. “Oh, you poor thing. Did you get to see the the pantomime?”

    “No, I missed that. Have been here all evening instead.”

    “Oh dear. How awful. What a shame,” she cooed.

    What develiment was this; why the change in reaction; what was her game...?

    She clearly thought that, as it was Saturday night, I had been rat-arsed out my skull, fallen, likely by thinking I could fly or some such nonsense, and broken a limb. All from being a pisshead, draining her and her fellow A&E staff members time, patience and the resources of the NHS.

    Now that she knew the truth, her conscious has been pricked and she knew she was in the wrong. It felt good seeing her backtrack and apologise, through approach and body language.

    Bet she regretted cutting my jeans off at the crotch.

    I know I did.

    The cow.

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  • One Geordie, the Big Break & a Pantomime - Part 2

    So many of the people waiting to be seen in A&E made me play a game – Guess The Emergency. The man who constantly walked up and down the waiting area, always returning to the reception desk and lying on it as if it were the chopping block and he was awaiting the axeman. He clearly thought that if he 'bigged' up his symptoms, then he'd been seen sooner. Well no, there's a queue, pal.

    After he'd lain across the reception desk several times, the staff, who up until this point had totally ignored him, began to politely shoo him away back to sit and wait his turn to be seen. I silently cheered them, as did the middle class, middle aged couple who sat in front of me. Especially as the wife had continously turned and looked at her husband with a look of disgust I'd not seen since a changing of my baby nephew's nappy.

    The leaning man then decided, as his former ploy hadn't worked, he would make himself sick. So kept clearing his throat in a fashion equal to Tom Hanks in any given film and sticking his fingers down his throat. The middle class wife was further disgusted as her and her husband looked at one another and back at the man with pure hatred. I knew my face replicated their's as I glanced around the waiting room. No on else seemed remotely interested. They noticed me and nodded. We smiled at each other in camaraderie.

    "He won't get seen any quicker," said the wife. She was right. He wouldn't.

    “If you're going to be sick, you have to go the toilets,” a senior nurse intervened. “You canot stand here and do that.” Again, I cheered, though less silently, especially as I now had the middle class couple on my side.

    The leaner disappeared whilst making more noise than when BP drill for oli.

    Another man was sat near the entrance doors in a wheelchair naked.

    Well, in his underpants.

    Passed out.

    I could only surmise he was completely, utterly pissed, especailly as he had a bag of clothes sat on his knee tied up tight in a hospital waste bag. A yellow hospital waste bag, which usually indicates highly infectious human or animal waste requiring disposal by incineration...

    I was hoping he's only vommed on himself and the yellow bag was all the nurses had to hand. Plus, the bag would stop the smell of puke filling the waiting room.

    Three police officers brought in and checked in a man and all took a seat. Three police officers for one sick man? His emergency wasn't as transparent. Turned out, as they were sat two seats away from me, that the man had been out drinking and taken some”unknown substance”. Kicked off, been taken into custody and then told them of the “unknown substance” so they rushed him to A&E. With three officers when he was as quiet as a lamb? Good waste of resource as the officers sat gossiping about what they'd gotten off of their Nana for Christmas as the man sobered up.

    They reassured him he'd wait “About forty five minutes to be seen and with a Doctor. Not long to go now." Good luck with that.

    A woman lay across several seats in a bright pink onesie with a carboard kidney dish on her stomach, heaving and groaning worthy of a RSC production. I'd prefer not to have been sat there, for obvious reasons, especially if many of these had communicacle viruses. I certainly didn't want to catch the vomming bug too!

    Surprisingly the time went over fairly quickly - the painkillers had kicked in, so I was feeling fine, bar my ankle swelling up like a balloon.

    The non-barring of using your mobile and 3G was a boon. So replying to the girls as they messaged me in the interval was a plus. Thankfully they didn't give me a scene by scene run down of what I was missing. Bless them.

    Though, thanks to the entertainment going on around me it felt like I hadn't missed the pantomime at all!

    On the two hour mark, my Mum and sister-in-law swept into the A&E reception. Charging past the Bruce Willis-wannabe, the overweight women in hot pants and flip flops and naked, inebriated man.

    They were so efficient in their haste, dress sense, scan of the room and loudness on spotting me - “She's there!” - that they reminded me of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in True Detective. Only with better hair...

    After a lengthy explanation as to what had happened; how they had driven down and been able to park up outside A&E – though the parking meter was broken, so score! – and a quick call for me to see a nurse so she could check my blood pressure, heart rate and pain level (A five, I told her, but only because I'd had the painkillers) it was nearing 10pm. So sis-in-law made an escape and Mum and I waited a little while until the third hour of being in A&E struck and I was called in. The triage nurse's forecast of the wait being three to four hours was correct. Who was she, Mystic Meg?

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  • One Geordie, the Big Break & a Pantomime - Part 1

    Christmas is over. A long, distant memory.

    A new year had rung in and I was excited to be going to see a pantomime. A pantomime with a group of friends, no kids, just us adults, just us girls on a Saturday night. Something different. It was a welcome change – "Oh no it wasn't!" - "Oh yes it was!"

    Little did I know how the evening would go.

    I was walking down the street to meet the girls before heading to the theatre, when I slipped on the wet pavement. Slipped, a short, silly slip, resulting in me doing the side splits, looking like something from Magic Mike XXL. Well, maybe not. More like something from Trainwreck'

    It's not even an exciting story.

    No drunken antics.

    No rolling down anything.

    No screaming.

    No crying.

    Not even a Prince Charming coming to my rescue.

    The most exciting thing was that I split my jeans at the crotch. Exciting, you ask? Yes, ripped jeans have made a comeback.

    The pain, immediately on rising, was excruciating. How would I make it to the bar to meet the girls? Through sheer willpower, that's how. As I hobbled down the street, I could see the theatre where the pantomime was on. I could see fellow theatregoers making their way up the grand staircase running through the auditorium. I knew then, as I breathed through the pain, that the pantomime was not to be – "Oh yes it was!" - "Oh no, it wasn't!"...

    So, a taxi was called by the girls to take me A&E.

    “We'll come with you, to the hospital” they said.

    “No. No,” I said, “there's no point us all going to sit there and everyone missing the pantomime.”

    Selfless to a fault.

    A&E loomed, with the entrance not appearing especially busy. Thank god there hadn't been a footy match on in town. How deceiving an appearance can be!

    Busy with dubious looking people where shgellsuits, flip flops and pyjamas were the fashion de jouer. One man was dressed in a vest. Perhaps he'd thought he was Bruce Willis whilst watching Die Hard, the perfect Christmas movie...

    On the plus side, in my split-at-the-crutch jeans, for the first time in my life, I fitted in, fashion wise...

    I waited in line to speak to the Triage nurse.

    A receptionist caught my eye and looked at me sympathetically - perhaps because I was wearing shoes – beckoning me towards her at the desk. I hobbled toward her.

    “Can I help?” she asked.

    “I've had an accident,” I said.

    “Oh right," she said, surprised. I mean, why else would I be at the Accident & Emergency Department. Certainly not for the social life. "You'll have to wait inline to speak to the triage nurse,” she told me.

    Wait in the line you called me out of? Bloody hell.

    Now some lass holding a milk pan as a spitoon had taken my place as I hobbled back to the quque.

    Feeling faint, I waited my turn. Finally, after what felt like an four hours (in reality about ten minutes), I was next. The triage nurse booked me in and advised it would take three to four hours for me to be seen. Oh joy.Three to four hours and I was already around an 8/10 on the pain front. I mentioned that I gone dizzy and begun to faint on slipping.

    “Oh that makes a difference. Thanks for telling me,” said Triage.

    “Will I be seen quicker?” I asked in hope.

    “No.”

    More joy! Not to mention pain, which I promptly did.

    “I'll get you some painkillers,” Triage told me and emptied a couple of capulets into a medicine cup, but no water. Paracetamol sucking is never a pleasant task - "Oh yes it is!" "Oh no, it isn't!" (Joke running thin....??!)

    I limped toward the main doors, past the Bruce Willis-wannabe and a pair of overweight women wearing hot pants and flip flops (in January, remember) and went through the automatic door, which fortunately worked.

    I was out of the bellowing heat that eminated in the waiting area into the refreshingly cold, wintry night air. I got my phone out and I dialled a number. I dialled my Mummy.

    “Hello,” she said breezily.

    Hi.(beat) I've had an accident - “ I said.

    “What? What? Oh my god! Are you okay??!”

    Her hysteria prompted a response in me. I giggled, embarrased, and was unable to speak, resulting in more Mummy hysteria, as she thought I was sobbing:

    “Oh no. You're crying! What's happened? What's happened?!!”

    I garnered my breath and stopped laughing as I explained what had happened.

    “So did you see the pantomime?” Mum asked.

    “Erm – no.”

    Mum asserted that she'd come up to the A&E, which wasn't necessary. Though I had been concerned about how I would shuffle up the steps to my front door and then up to my first floor flat despite not having been diagnosed with anything. So Mum's arrival would be a welcome relief.

    “I'll call you when I'm sent for an x-ray for you to then come along,” I told her before hanging up.

    I hoped that would be in the next hour or two.

    I didn't want to be in here all night.

    Especially as I'd wanted to get curry & chips from the Chinese on the way home after the panto as well...

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