Age unknown Mother, grandmother and 24/7 childminder
Someone once told me that statistically each of us has just five people that we could call on in an emergency situation at, say, 3am in the morning.
I mention this because last week at not-quite-3am (actually early evening) I found myself in a not-quite-emergency situation and I could only think of one of my usual five ‘family and friends’ I could call who wasn’t on holiday.
I made three unanswered attempts to get through to Bryony – 40 miles away in London – on FaceTime to ask her help with a strange problem: I had returned home from a dog walk to discover that a tick had set up home in my neck.
To be fair, when she did call me back (and saw the offending parasite) she was very responsive. ‘Mum! That’s disgusting! You have to get it removed by a doctor NOW or you could DIE. Isn’t there a neighbour who could help you?’
The urgency in her voice gave me the courage to knock on the door of the only woman in the village I vaguely knew (she once took in a parcel for me). Thankfully, she turned out to be just the kind of person you need in a crisis: instantly deciding that I needed a vet not a doctor.
Anne (by now we were on firstname terms) drove me to the surgery and sat with me as I waited to be seen alongside two elderly pugs, a frightened kitten in a pet carrier and a rather threatening-looking German shepherd.
The vet who eventually very kindly (and gently) removed the tick ‘at my own risk’ (they are not insured to treat humans) told me that I was the first patient she had seen that talked back (apart from an African Grey parrot).
The best thing about this highly unusual incident was the fact that I now have six people that I could call at 3am in an emergency situation. The next day I left a bottle of fizz on Anne’s doorstep with a note saying, ‘ With love and thanks from the bitch at No 7.’ Little did I realise that I was about to have an emergency of a whole other order...
She turned out to be just the person you need in a crisis, deciding I needed a vet, not a doctor