14th September 02

Whoever coined the phrase 'a walk in the park' to describe an easy day should think again after what's just happened.

This weekend the Holby County Fair set up on the common with all the usual stalls, rides and displays. I've been seeing the posters up about town for nearly a month now, and to be honest it did look fun. If Louis was here with me I would have taken him, and I know that Duffy was planning a trip with her boys tomorrow - I was wondering if I should offer to come along; give her a hand looking after them, but it's an academic question now.

Harry Harper, however, decided to go today, taking all five of his kids along, from Tally the oldest who is sixteen I think, to little baby Daisy. I gather from the way they and Beth, his wife, talked that there was some tension in the family, particularly between Harry and Tally - something about a boyfriend and A-levels - so I think the day out was supposed to be a bonding experience for them. Well, it worked, but not in the way that any of them imagined.

To be honest I'm not totally sure what happened. When we get that call through to tell us there is a Major Incident on way there's no longer any time to discuss the ins and outs with the patients, we just have to treat them and move on. It's odd, but although it's the time when I make the most efficient use of my nursing skills, it's also the time when I feel most like a robot - bring 'em in, patch 'em up, ship 'em off - and when I sit down at the end of it all, like I am now, it takes some effort to piece it all back together and come to terms with it.

It seems to come down to a display skydiver colliding with a bungee jumper. Rather than wait to be winched down safely the skydiver cut his parachute off and plummeted some twenty feet to the ground and in the process gave himself some serious injuries. Harry was there and saw it all, and knowing the state of Holby's traffic called for the air ambulance. It arrived, everything went well, but when they took off the discarded parachute got caught in the propeller. The helicopter had barely taken off when it crashed, scattering debris among the crowd.

By all accounts Harry was something of a hero. I know that he doesn't feel quite that way as the pilot, skydiver and a paramedic all died, and the onboard surgeon lost his leg, but the facts are that if Harry hadn't been there non of them would have stood a chance anyway.

Harry's only been with us for four months, and given his position filling Max's shoes, I've been a bit wary of him, but today he's proved his worth.

As I hope his wife will too. Beth is a solicitor, and has arranged some very good legal representation for Lara Stone. It saddens me that Lara is being put through this. Three months on suspension - she's been treated as guilty until proven innocent, and that infuriates me. Today in all the chaos we could have done with her here. I told her as much, but I think maybe she took me a bit too seriously. Harry had to remove her from resusc just a short while later where she was trying to pull a dislocated ankle. I know it was the right thing for him to do, and I would have done the same, but then if I was Lara I'm not sure I could just sit back and watch...

Roxy seems more than able to though. I understand she has a baby, and I can't force her to work overtime, but she's not the only person with a child to look after at home. She's never going to integrate properly with the team with behaviour like that. Mind you the way Duffy treated her today I can't blame her for running off the moment she could.

What was that phrase Roxy used earlier? Duffy has been like a 'wasp in a bottle'. Buzzing about left, right and centre, threatening to sting anyone who gets too close, and not actually getting anywhere herself in the process. I hate it when she gets into moods like that. I know things have been hard for her, but when they are at their worst she always seems determined to push me away rather than let me help.

I managed to corner her eventually and she explained the problem was that Andrew's life insurance payout had come through at last. 300,000! And she was planning to send it back.

She explained that she thought it devalued his life. I tried to make her understand that it isn't supposed to be in exchange for Andrew, it's just to make life a little bit easier for her and the boys in the coming years. It's a way for Andrew to look after them still, even though he's gone. She stood with her back to me as I spoke. I know she was listening, and I'm sure she changed her mind, but sometimes I get the feeling that she isn't really here anymore. Like she's just going through the motions of life. I wish there was something I could do to help, but she never seems to want to confide in me anymore, I practically have to force her to talk. I may not be much of a religious man, but I pray to God that things start to look up for her soon.

And the same applies to Nikki Marshall. It was her first day back today, and although when I bumped into her and Josh first thing she seemed amazingly enthusiastic, by the end of today she was in tears. They got a call out to the same estate where she got stabbed three months ago - an unpleasant case of deja vu - Josh told me that Nikki didn't want to go in without back up, and although if he'd been with a different partner he probably would have knocked down the door, he did agree with her argument: they shouldn't have to put themselves in danger like that. I really don't envy the paramedics their jobs. The problem was that because they waited for police backup their patient died. Those extra few minutes would have made all the difference. I know Harry took her to one side to comfort her, and so did Josh later, but Simon was much less helpful. I must remember to have a word with him first thing tomorrow about that.

But now... I think a small drink is in order. And a long bath. I hope tomorrow is a little less eventful.



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