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The Story of Mrs Davies

Page 4

Darryl Emmerson

But no one wanted to hear any of this, and the nurse smoothly steered the discussion away from the flashpoint. Not long after the meeting (less than an hour later), there was a knock on Dan’s door. It was Caroline, the occupational therapist. She was a kind-looking, approachable lady in her forties who had, several times during previous weeks, somehow given him the vibe that there were things to discuss, if he was open to that. She was now just letting him know that the ‘family’s arrangement with the ward’ was that Mrs Davies would stay on virtually indefinitely, her daughter was a very busy person - teenage children, part-time job, travel plans – who happened to know Dr P socially, and so… She stopped there, neither elaborated, nor recommended any course of action, but quietly withdrew.

Relations with some of his colleagues over the next week or two were what you might call, strained. Outwardly the business of the team proceeded calmly enough, though he noticed that Doctor P seemed to have dropped his males-against-the-rest policy. And Dan did have the sense, at the next few ward meetings, not to make too much of Mrs Davies’s situation. With some determination, in fact, he had simply continued to plan her now fortnightly visits home, arranging support services as needed, and speaking as needed with Frank (who now dropped into the ward to see him, as well as Mrs Davies). And it is true to say that she invariably returned looking refreshed and happy, saying it was nice to be in her old neighbourhood, to look at her own things again, to water her plants, to do some cleaning and to be a ‘hostess’ to Frank for their little gatherings, when he dropped over. It started to occur to some people that she might actually intend to return home permanently.

Dan had now been in the job about three months. For the most part he believed he was doing his work creditably, certainly there were no complaints from his barely-there manager, his patients or his colleagues. But he wasn’t surprised one day, when he was checking some patient records at the nurses’ station, to be approached by Robyn, the ward nurse. They had never got on. She had tried, in his first weeks, to dictate his duties, and had not hesitated to page him during clearly-scheduled meetings with patients. And, as we have seen, she would do pretty much anything to maintain her alliance with Doctor P.

But today her manner was unusually conciliatory. In the hearing of several other staff, she began: 'So you’re still working towards Mrs Davies going home, are you, Dan?' He had learned by now never to directly reply to her, so said, 'Why do you ask, Sister?' She looked around, possibly for both support and audience, then said: 'Well Dan, it’s this way. If Mrs Davies does go home, how do you know we won’t get someone much worse?'

He drew breath, then walked away. Three weeks later Mrs Davies did go home permanently, settled in well, and never returned to the ward. Three months later Dan himself resigned.



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