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by Mary Mippins
18 August 2008

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It’s just been “1” thing after another recently

Dear Diary …

I am obviously working too hard – and too late for that matter. This never occurred to me until I went to set the alarm the other Saturday (yes, Saturday. And yes, I know I need to get a life).

I banged in my personal pin number, pressed the “tick” twice and waited for the inevitable drone that comes when everything is working properly. I should have left there and then, but I happened to look up at the digital display. The number “1” flashed up, and stayed there. Something must be wrong. Could I leave in all conscience knowing there was a fault? I was tempted, believe me. It was past six o’clock, and a bottle of rose and a box of three walnut whips were waiting for me in the fridge. I struggled with my conscience.

Nope, couldn’t do it. I reset the alarm, plonked my bag down, and rang the engineer – who called me back two hours later.

“Ok, talk me through it,” he demanded.

I talked him through every move my fingers had made. “And ‘1’ still keeps flashing,” I said.

Silence. Huge sigh. Sharp intake of breath.

“So what’s the problem then?”

Only then did it dawn on me that I had never actually left the building in daylight, and that I had never actually seen what was on the digital display screen when I set the alarm and left. “1” means the alarm is working perfectly properly thank you very much, so sod off home.

I can’t bring myself to admit how sad that is, but at least I now have another new word in my vocabulary, and one that comes in extremely handy for moments of complete stupidity. Forgot to book a patient in? “1”. Every cloud …

Talking of clouds, what a washout this summer has been so far. I have never seen so many miserable faces and heard so many complaints – and that’s just the doctors! I fear I am working in the Twilight Zone.

In the space of one manic Friday morning, a man turned up to clean our aquarium (we haven’t got an aquarium, but one member of staff still had to ask me if we had one. “1”). An hour later, another chap arrived clutching a hand-carved stair rail, and asked us where we wanted the other 20 we had ordered. “Up by the aquarium,” someone sniggered, but he didn’t get it.

Our new defibrillator, with the sexy American accent, has developed a fault and keeps telling us to “remove all clothing” every time we walk past it. I am not going to have it fixed just yet. I shall keep it faulty for our flu campaign, and make sure all the old dears that come in get to walk past it at least twice.

Then perhaps they will have at least removed an arm from a sleeve by the time they get in to the nurse, which may save us a considerable amount of time and money in the long run. “1”