Down in the A&E.

My heart was thumping so badly by the time the ambulance arrived, that I thought I’d pass out myself. The whole village was there, with their mouths open and their ears pinned back, in case they’d miss anything. Lourda Kennefick was a very fortunate woman she didn’t end up unconscious, in the ambulance next to Peggy. She came flying into the garden as Peggy lay there, scarves and earrings flying, like a cheap imitation of a fortune teller, wittering on about Peggy taking deep breaths. Deep breaths, I mean, Peggy looked as if she was shuffling off her mortal coil and there was Lourda going on about taking deep breaths. That woman is a perfect fool.

By the time we arrived in A&E down in the Regional hospital, Peggy had regained consciousness and was screaming with pain, while heroically managing to curse the Brennans and all belonging to them, and threatening to do unspeakable things to the ginger tom, when she’d get her hands on him. I didn’t think it was the time to point out, that it was her absolute idiocy in first, chasing the tom and secondly, her failure to actually catch him, had her where she was, which was inside in the ambulance, with the fate of her leg in the hands of a vastly under-funded health service.

The minute we arrived, there was a bevy of professionals around her, it was obviously a quiet night at the hospital, the drunks must have been all at home, saving to go to the Euros in France or something. She was screaming like a banshee and nobody could touch her leg, she was that bad. They must have pumped a massive dose of morphine into her though, because after about ten minutes of bedlam, she began to quieten down and they whisked her off on a trolley. Well, I must have spent hours in that A&E department, wondering what in the name of Jesus, they were doing to the woman. I knew if she lost the leg, ‘twould be the finish of her, she’d die inside in a wheelchair. What the unfortunate woman would do if she wasn’t mobile, I couldn’t even bring myself to imagine.

Sometime around three in the morning, Bridie and Dolores arrived. They simply couldn’t credit the stupidity of the woman in trying to jump a three foot wall at her age. Dolores said you could understand it, if she was being chased by an axe murderer or a rapist or something, but pursuing a cat, for Jesus sake! Bridie was far more sensible, saying that there wasn’t much point in talking now about how cracked Peggy was, seeing that the damage was done, and how she’d have to make the best of it, and what was the bleddy point in giving out to her now, when ‘twas all over?

But there was no stopping Dolores. She’s a right prophet of doom and ’tis worse she’s getting lately. What, she wanted to know, was going to happen if Peggy lost the leg, how was she going to manage and who was going to look after her? Jeez, the woman went on and on, until I felt I wouldn’t be able to resist giving her wan right clatter across the pus to shut her up for good. I mean, I’d had a terrible shock myself and I wasn’t making a big performance out of it. I could see Bridie rolling her eyes to heaven and taking deep breaths – Bridie is very into the yoga and the deep breathing, imagining all the stress going out like a puff of smoke, through the balls of her feet, all that kind of visualisation thing. Actually, Peggy was only saying the other day, that she had a very strong feeling, that all wasn’t well between Dolores and Mick, the husband. Now, to be quite honest, that scenario wouldn’t surprise me in the least. What she ever saw in that Mick is a pure mystery, he’s wan right cabóg, so he is.

Of course, Dolores was very young when she married him. She was born and raised in Liverpool and met Mick at an Irish Club. He was working on the buildings or something and had loads of ready cash. She said he swept her off her feet and before she had time to draw breath, she was standing in front of the altar saying ‘I do.’ After a few years, they came back to the small family farm in Sugar Hill and there they’ve remained since. She looked right fed up anyway, as she sat there cnáthsaning about Peggy, and how stupid she was, and how she had no consideration for anyone, except herself. Honestly, she’d swear by her talk that Peggy had caused the whole accident, simply to discommode Dolores! If she only came down to the hospital to rant and rave about Peggy’s stupidity, I really don’t know why she bothered. I knew I’d have to change the subject or else, she’d be the next one in a hospital bed. So in desperation, I asked her how Mick was. Well, was I the sorry woman as she started off on another fecking rant. As the men slip the wedding ring on your finger, ’tis the ball and chain, they’re putting on,  no more romance or nights out or any other little considerations. Pure slave labour, cooking and cleaning and compromising. Then, she pauses for a minute, and looks at the two of us straight between the eyes, before she only goes and drops her bombshell.

‘Do you know,’ she asks, with a right wicked looking head  on her ’we haven’t actually had SEX since St. Patrick’s Day, 2011?  What do you make of that then? I might as well be in a fecking convent.’

Well, that shut us all up, I can tell you. Bridie even stopped taking the deep breaths.In fact, I think, she might have stopped breathing altogether for a few seconds. The pair of us sat there with our mouths open, staring at Dolores! Imagine, no sex since 2011.  Jeez, the woman had to have miscalculated, shure,there’s no way she could have been celibate for, like, five whole years! But before we could manage to utter a word, we heard footsteps behind us and there was the doctor and a small nurse advancing.

All thoughts of the sex life of Mick and Dolores flew out of our heads, as we waited to hear what was after happening to poor auld Peggy!

To be continued.


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