Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Updates to the blog

I've been away from this for a while... mainly due to work pressures and other things going on but I've added a few bits and pieces that may, or may not, be of use.

One of the features I'm trying out is the live-chat function, which you will find right at the bottom of the page, where the hit map is. If I am on you can talk to me live. Many of you do this on Facebook but I try to keep the time I'm on there limited because I end up chatting with lots of people and answering pretty much the same questions. So, this little device will help, especially as I only write up my posts in the dead of night and the chances are I will be chatting to a fellow insomniac!

I will continue to write about wide-ranging stuff, if you don't mind but I will also make it relevant to my job, or my point of view. My no-nonsense approach may seem narrow to some but you'll have to forgive me; life is narrow.

Keep reading!


Monday, 29 November 2010

The misery of children

And I don't mean in the sense that they are miserable... I've had a month of heavy exposure to the distress that manifests when children are involved in serious accidents or are very ill. Mothers especially, become either muted and strangely calm or are utterly distraught and inconsolable.

For example, a mum who listened carefully to the instructions being given to her while her 2 year-old screamed in agony after hot tea was accidentally spilled onto her. 'Yes, I tried to put a wet towel on her but she won't let me touch her.' The child is moaning in between cries and clearly not in good shape. Mum wants to do something to ease her pain but the little girl thinks whatever mummy is about to put on her will probably make her feel even more pain; she doesn't want to be touched and she doesn't want anything else on her skin. Mum feels powerless but her child's skin is dying every second that she paused to think about it. It's heart-breaking stuff.

And there are other behaviours, contrary to those that illuminate parental protective instincts. Like the parents of an epileptic child who fitted for twenty minutes until an ambulance was finally called. The parents are immigrants and do not speak English; they come from a country where healthcare is neither free nor freely available but it doesn't explain their bizarre impulse to film their child having a seizure so that they could show the ambulance crew when they arrived.

Children with serious medical problems and who have terrible accidents are all at the mercy of their parents. In the time between the occurrence and the arrival of professional help, the difference between life and death, surviving intact or with life-long scars - the length of time in which there is pain - a parent can respond appropriately and accordingly or, notwithstanding excuses for ignorance and disabilities, can leave their baby to suffer or die. How many of them would throw their hands in the air and wail 'what took you so long?'

Mum, dad... I don't care where you come from - learn how to save your own children.

Be safe.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Told you so...

And there we have it folks! The psychology behind the behaviour is revealed just as predicted. I know I'm banging on about this but, as a bit of recreational nut-job watching I think it's relevant to my life and my job.

Gillian did what I thought she would. Up until tonight she was playing the fearful idiot to the limit. Then someone told her directly that she should go if she had so many fears. It was young Stacey Soloman in fact, that giggly, happy person, who decided the stupid woman needed a wake-up call... and what did she get? A rude response and a cold shoulder. The poor girl cried.

On top of that, Dom Joly decided to make it clear to her that she was a fraud by dropping not so gentle hints before they embarked on the challenge for food. Bear in mind that every time McKeith pulled that 'I'm not well' stunt or fainted for an Oscar... or simply walked away without even trying, the others went without food. So both Soloman and Joly were trying to change the course of things by confronting her with the truth.

And the result was... well, it was predictable for this kind of character disorder; Gillian met the next challenge with a few demonstrations of fear and then suddenly overcame them all - instantly! And she got to look like a hero. It was a bloody miracle!

No, it wasn't. People like this prey on the love and care of others like leeches and they let others run around for them while they 'suffer' from their phobias. People like this have lots of friends - a carefully selected circle of 'believers'. But when they are told to their faces that their game is up, they change and there's no point in carrying on the charade any more because there is no profit. That change is transient; temporary and only for the benefit of those who outed them. She will revert back to being a pathetic person when things settle down, now that she has been seen to do her duty... and she will crow on about how well she did.

Unfortunately, when you tell someone the truth like that, even if you love them and care for them as a person, you will probably lose them forever because YOU are the last person they want to hang around with now. YOU remind them of how weak they are. So, I doubt very much, despite the patronising on-camera regard that McKeith showed Soloman afterwards, that the two of them will exchange Christmas cards after the game is over. I expect McKeith to start defending her position in the next few days, so that she can gather support from the viewers. She could win this thing and become - God help us all - Queen of the jungle.

In support of this view, when it was announced that she was one of three that could not do the next challenge for 'medical reasons', she was heard in the background saying 'oh, bummer!' You see, she's already exhibiting feigned disappointment - she's a hero now; she's shown her worth (just that once mind you) and so, she will replay that effort and milk it 'til it dries up like a prune. Suddenly she has 'health reasons' for not doing stuff. Maybe she should examine her own poo and see what she's suffering from cos I think the answer will be right in front of her.

The last two posts have been useful I think. Whether you think I'm just rambling, ranting or generally losing the plot is up to you but they demonstrate that TV is great and TV is rubbish. I love this programme because you learn the mini-psychology of so-called better people and you can compare it to those you know in the real world. All of our traits are in that jungle.

Be safe.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

It's a jungle out there - let's talk TV

Well, it is for some people, eh?

I know it may not seem relevant to my blog but I think it's important that I point out, without of course piling any more pressure on the lady, that the fall-down act on live TV was just that; I've never seen a faint so badly played out (in my professional opinion). As I said with the BBC's amazing 'Helicopter Heroes' filming of the resuscitation of a cardiac arrest that took place on camera - that it was a brilliant educational tool, I say the same about I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here's Gillian McKeith and her fantastic display of on-the-edge anxiety neurosis pertaining to bugs, spiders, all food except the stuff she eats, cigarette smoke in the open air and... well, it would seem, everything! This is a grown woman with a 'PhD' whose job involves looking at other people's faeces in order to inform them about their bad dietary habits! She can't stand ants but she's okay with your poo?

The world has gone mad and the evidence is being played out on television as society tries to get to grips with real problems, like whole countries going bust. Her behaviour reminds me of the very worst people who call ambulances. They are not dying people - they have emotional, psychological and social problems that manifest as fears that go way beyond reasonable discussion or debate with any person other than those who pander to it, support it and sympathise with it, thus making their world much more tangible than ours. You simply cannot go through your entire life behaving like this every time a fly passes by or an accidental bit of ham gets caught in your salad.

People like this are running away from their responsibilities I think because they use these 'moments' to justify shutting down until everything they are being asked to face goes away - taken away I should add, by other people who do the 'bad' stuff for them. We have young men and women coming back in boxes from Afghanistan for Pete's sake; try not to make your life seem hard and pressured when they have paid that price for you to have the freedom to be able to be on programmes like this and to get yourself further ahead than everyone else by doing almost nothing to earn it.

And before you start getting all hot and bothered about my frankness here, I would ask why it is that the woman agreed to take part in a programme that (a) is filmed in a jungle, (b) is, by definition of (a), going to involve creepies and crawlies (and that's not the contestants) and (c) is famous for making people eat live things? It's like taking part in a climbing expedition to Everest with a fear of heights, only to disclose that fear when you are at the foothills.

My point? Well, unless we get a grip, we are going to be over-run by people who insist that their silly little fears and behaviours, such as fake-fainting to escape responsibility, are much more important than those bigger issues that we are tackling - starving kids, rising unemployment, whole countries having to beg and borrow to survive. I will be berated, once again, by the do-gooders out there and, yes, it's only TV but it is teaching our kids something; it is saying that it's okay to behave like that, even as a grown up because you will be able to get off with it and other people will love you and take care of you, so you don't need to face anything yourself.

Nobody respects that woman - you can see it on their faces on the programme. That's what happens when you live your life like this. People have genuine phobias and genuine reasons to faint. It's an insult to them for her to behave like this because true phobias can be controlled and dealt with and those with them avoid the triggers at all costs. They do not go into jungles with a fear of everything that has more than two legs.

Please, Gillian, behave yourself. If you are acting to win the show, then that's an even bigger disgrace. At least Nigel Havers had the decency to leave - he was honest about it all from the start. And sort out your accent. Are you Scottish, English or some kind of American? It's embarrassing to hear you speak.

Be safe.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Selfish society

You can say what you like in this town!

Working through the emotions of another person while they struggle with the death of their baby is a powerful incentive to keep those close to you special because life, especially for some, is short. This job wakes me up every so often. When I slumber under the illusion that all is good and there’s nothing more important than me and mine, I get sporadic reminders through other people’s realities, that, and without being permanently morose, I should keep myself grounded. What I am exposed to makes everyone in my life special to me.

I’ve been criticised, but not too harshly admittedly, for once again being less than sensitive with the issue of hyperventilation. I’ve responded to this comment, which I know was made without malice and I want to share the essence of it.

The diary is a process for me; I write it when emotions about specific things; calls I work on, people I encounter, conflicts I am involved in, or whatever, affect me in an immediate way. I can reflect upon them all I like but recording them for posterity to humanise them is essential, otherwise this is not a diary – it’s a reflective essay.

Yes, I have been a little off-hand about certain aspects of ‘illness’ that I’ve come across and one of those is hyperventilation panic attacks, but not because I don’t see them as clinically relevant – more often than not, individuals who call ambulances for these events are not having much more than a little dizzy spell accompanied by some very well acted out breathing routines. Sorry but it’s true. They want a day off work. They are upset about something. They want attention. Quite frankly, the emergency ambulance service is not here for that. It’s here for dying babies.

True hyperventilation, the spontaneous without warning type, is very scary indeed. The person suffering it will think that they cannot breathe and that they are about to die – I know because I’ve experienced it myself. I stopped breathing in my sleep (sleep apnoea) and when my brain caught on to this, I woke up suddenly and over-compensated my breathing – this resulted in hyperventilation, which was not funny. I had to calm myself down before it resolved and getting back to sleep was a worrying prospect, let me tell you.

That happened once only; I haven’t experienced it again since but I can at least draw on real life to justify my remarks. So, I deal with those suffering from hyperventilation that is changing their lives sympathetically and clinically but I have no time for those who are simply emotional. We are all running out of time for people like that and I’m not talking about mental illness; I’m attacking selfishness. We all have problems in life – most of us… the vast majority of us, get on with it and deal with it. We don’t bleed our emergency ambulance service, GP or hospital dry of funds and personnel by creating illnesses around it.

Be safe.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Tonsilpus is on the move

This little red ball has been causing quite a stir and we've already had good publicity about him in the Press and on Radio. He's just come back from Holland and will go to Northern Ireland next - after that a few more UK locations are planned and then he goes out to Canada, the USA and Mexico. Australia, New Zealand an Tasmania are on his tour list too.

BUT - he's trying to raise money for the London Air Ambulance and it's been slow-going on that front, so please help if you can. I know a lot of you asked to host him and since the launch I've moved a lot of the emails over to the Gmail account. If you haven't been notified and you are still keen to have him, please contact me on tonsilpus@gmail.com or complete the application on the website. Quite a lot of the original hosting emails I got here have either gone astray or haven't replied to the mail sent to them - wake up :-)

I want to make this fun for everyone. Who knows where it could go if enough people get involved! His website address is on the link line above. Go and watch his Youtube movie!

If you are Press, drop me an email and we can chat about him.