A meeting with my past in an NHS hospital

Pushing through a crowded hospital corridor behind my father, I heard a voice calling me. Then a nurse grabbed me and threw her arms around me. She had heard my father’s name and recognised me, her old school friend from St Joseph’s. As we walked and talked, she told me, ‘We all read your articles’ and I thought: ‘Oh dear I’m about to be exposed as an anti-vaxxer in the middle of A&E while my father’s having a heart attack.’ But she was smiling, pleased to see me. In fact, she was beaming as she said, ‘I remember Alma!’ referring to my maternal grandmother. People would come in for a

The joy of Xanax

The greater the enervation, it is said, the greater the appreciation of a work of art. There was no place in Mme Benoit’s energetic life for art, if the austere interior of her huge consulting room was anything to go by. Human dynamos don’t need pretty pictures to look at. On a tiled floor the size of a tennis court were metal shelving racks filled with cartons of various sizes and loose piles of documents. The decorative theme of her workspace could be described as ‘warehouse’. The only nod to domesticity was a sink in one corner. This was my second visit to Mme Benoit in as many years to