It's perhaps a lesser known fact that there was a time when I thought my future nursing career rested not in a staff nurse's uniform but in the operating theatre.
Even I can hardly believe that at the age of twenty-three and that lifetime of wanting to be a nurse, all that saving lives and dedicated patient care and interaction with living (hopefully) awake and breathing people I had dreamed of, was about to be exchanged for the role of a scrub nurse. Letting my hair go frizzy as the autoclave door swung open, wearing a mask all day long, passing cutlery and needlework accoutrements to a surgeon, counting swabs and ministering to completely unconscious patients.
It was a bit of a one-way street and not what I had intended at all, though to be fair I think my nursing career and my life were both at something of a crossroads.
I'd enjoyed theatres as a student mainly because I'd done my placement in the smaller more intimate learning environment of Gt Ormond Street's branch hospital Queen Elizabeth, Hackney Road. We'd do on call and sleep in sort of flowery bower of a 1930s bedroom next to the theatre and it all felt very important and dramatic to get that 3am knock on the door to get theatre ready for Mr D to operate on an emergency.
I can still remember the cases, 4am and us all clustered around a newborn baby with intestinal obstruction which turned out to be caused by Apple Peel Syndrome when the surgeon finally got in to have a look...the intestines coiled and shaped like the complete peel off an apple.
Mr D was a real gentleman too, quite gave me a false impression about surgeons, talked to everyone as if they were a human being just like him.
Sorry... where was I...was I supposed to be talking about a book?
Anyway I loved it all so just imagine it, a few years later, qualified and looking very Holby City in my nice green scrubs and white clogs, first scrub as a staff nurse in theatres at Gt Ormond Street, bit slow off the mark and the surgeon threw some tonsils at me because my hand wasn't ready to receive. The surgeons were really higher even than the gods in the hospital heirarchy, many of them world pioneers but there still seemed no need to fling some throaty detritus at me.
Mr D would never have done such a thing.
Fielding tonsils was not to be my bag, I was over my love for theatres very quickly after that and hastily went back into starched uniform as per above, staffing on the metabolic unit for the few months I had left to work. I would be leaving to get married and moving to Devon where I had a place to train as a midwife.
That wasn't right either, didn't even make the first day because by this time I had decided I was fed up with hospitals and my future lay as a Clerical Officer in the DHSS as it was known.
That lasted a few months until I had to resuscitate someone who'd collapsed after being told they weren't entitled to benefits.
Then I realised I did like saving lives after all (yes he lived and was probably entitled to everything after I'd finished with him) but perhaps not quite this dramatically and the rest is well-documented history here, health visiting and the great outdoors it was for me.
I got a bit carried away and you will too if you have even a hint of any hospital experience (either side of the bedside, if you see what I mean )
I promise I'll talk about Direct Red tomorrow....no sorry it'll have to be Wednesday I must catch up with Endsleigh Salon tomorrow before the next one.