April 26, 2013 § 1 Comment
Mums, Dads, Diggers, Kids, and Memories
Anzac Day in Fremantle is always a little less precise on military precision but full of camaraderie. Poignant moments sometimes give way to gentle humour.
Here are a few photographs from yesterday’s Esplanade assembly point.
Finally a favourite from 2011. An old digger (sailor actually) was wheeled onto the parade ground but before he took his place in the parade he whipped out a hip flask and took a slug. The last picture was taken in 1977 in Perth. The parade was over and this old fellow walked over to what may have been his old regimental flags, took off his hat and stood silently, looking at them for a few minutes….
April 17, 2013 § 2 Comments
Ramped Up With Nowhere To Go.
My family had a virtual season ticket to Fremantle Hospital’s emergency ward. There were times when we felt we should have an apartment there, it may have been cheaper all round. We’ve had broken bones fixed; more stitches than a Chinese sweatshop could produce; cat bites treated and holes in the head patched up more than once. I doubt many people within striking distance of Freo’s hospital can be too critical of the service they have received. I can even remember the hospital being built. That would have been back in the mid 1970s and I can forgive it for being ugly with it’s overpowering neo-communist functional architecture.
A Shout Which Couldn’t Be Ignored
A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link and that link almost broke this week. In fact it may still prove to do so. A friend, I’ll call her Jane Doe for the sake of this article, had been helping my neighbour with some light decorating work, nothing at all strenuous. I was enjoying a quiet gin and tonic on my verandah when my neighbour shouted out in a voice bordering on panic: “Rog, get down here fast, really fast, quick” It was a tone which couldn’t be ignored.
I ran to her house. Jane had collapsed and was unconscious in the garden. Anne my neighbour (not her real name) quickly explained that Jane, who had been sitting chatting, had suddenly complained of a severe headache, looked at Anne, vomitted and fallen unconscious out of the chair in a matter of a second or so (nothing to do with Anne’s looks, she doesn’t frighten people that much). I asked Anne to call an ambulance, tell them it was very urgent. I had checked Jane’s pulse which was very strong and fast and I didn’t suspect a heart attack.
There’s no point in going into finite detail but this was obviously a life threatening situation.
The ambulance arrived within a short time and Jane had recovered some degree of consciousness but could not talk. A paramedic got to work, asked Anne and me some questions which we answered in detail with other information about how this had occurred. The medic said she felt Jane was dehydrated. Without any real medical experience between us we were not going to argue. However, we both felt that was a diagnosis which was way off beam. Jane was treated for about 30 minutes and then taken to the hospital.
Five Hour Wait For Diagnosis
This is where the system started to unravel. It was Monday 8th and by now around 6 o’clock. The ambulance was ramped for at least two hours as emergency was busy, treating cases on a priority rating. Jane was placed in a corridor for three hours and when a doctor finally diagnosed her it was to say there was a suspected aneurism – a life threatening condition. She was quickly sent to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital’s world-class neurological department and immediately operated on to relieve pressure on the brain and drain the cranial cavity of blood. The following day she had a five hour operation to place a stent.
The current situation is there has been an additional five hour operation and Jane is still in danger of not recovering.
Keep The Emergency Ward, Keep the Hospital, No More Ramping.
My argument, and I don’t think too many people will disagree, follows. It is not meant to be critical of the ambulance service or of the paramedic. A paramedic is not necessarily a doctor and they are well trained to deal with emergency situations. However, on this occasion Anne and I didn’t feel the paramedic had listened closely enough to our description of the incident.
However, as result it is likely the ambulance was ramped and Jane, who would have been reported as being dehydrated, would not have been considered the highest level of emergency. It took five hours for the critical nature of the patient to be realised.
The question of ramping at an overcrowd hospital has to be considered as a really weak link in an otherwise excellent statewide service. In this case it could yet cost a life or severe brain damage as a result of the delay.
Thus our new state member of parliament and Fremantle’s council must ensure Fremantle’s emergency ward remains open, ramping must stop and consideration should be given to additional training for paramedics.
Fiona Stanley Hospital will open shortly. Two emergency facilities should be retained … in fact Fremantle Hospital, the medical heart of the city, must be kept pumping.
We live in one of the wealthiest states in the world (if we’re to believe what we’re told). Thus we should be able to maintain a fine medical service for the public.
March 31, 2013 § 2 Comments
Dive for Cover – Fremantle’s Street Arts Festival had it all and more.
Easter Weekend showed the best face of the city to the outside world. Streets were packed; the fragrance of hot dogs blended beautifully with the unmistakable scent of a sheep ship in the harbour as tens of thousands of people happily rubbed shoulders and soaked up world class entertainment on their doorstep.
Even a handful of councillors were allowed out alone for this festival, all with smiles. And so they should have for they were strolling around and seeing first hand what people really enjoy. The seedy shadow of the city was well out of sight.
A warning from the Easter Bunny
A few people had experiences which turned their negative impression of the city around. One happy car parker had not purchased a ticket from a meter and the Easter Bunny gave him a parking infringement notice with a zero to pay note and a friendly reminder not to do it again.
Many buskers were armed with their favourite weapons – flaming torches chucked around with gay abandon in a practice called juggling. It’s designed to instil fear into the unwary. The city’s own favourite, the bagpiper from hell, was frightening every living creature within earshot. You can understood why the Scots let pipers lead them into battle, only to find the enemy had scarpered in terror. But no, the world’s only ‘Flame-throwing Punk Rock Piper’, as he bills himself, rapped it out to a massive crowd. I hope he and his somewhat less intimidating and infinitely more attractive fishnet clad partner made a healthy quid in face of the overseas competition.
Whispers Wine Bar in the Essex Street was comfortably full (the customers were not). A group of the city’s musicians, guitars in one hand, glass of red in the other, settled in the small upstairs room and started a small jam session, adding a musical moment
The only train was full of bunnies
In the High Street Mall, not letting the true Easter message be forgotten, a group of Roman soldiers in red cloaks were in the process of torturing a volunteer ‘Jesus’ to death on a large wooden cross. They were not in the least bit phased by a large electric train, loaded up with kids and colourful Easter Bunnies, as it roared at something less speedy than a bullet train, weaving through the crowds and baffling a couple of greyhounds which had to be restrained. There would have been carnage in the carriages had they been let loose.
For reasons which escape people who should know better Easter Weekend is probably the busiest in the year for Fremantle. So why on earth is the rail line closed? It can’t possibly help. This happens with monotonous regularity and the city, with its attendant parking problems, must feel a financial squeeze as a result. We can only conclude The Department of Transport may be few bunnies short of a full burrow.
And so it went on. It was a weekend of buskers, beer, champagne, high spirits and happy faces. The Buskers’ Festival, as it is commonly known, has become a legendary gathering spot for street artists from around the world. They love it and they help to endorse Fremantle’s reputation as the City of Festivals. The entire weekend’s entertainment was held against the backdrop of the West End’s architecture, underlining it’s value as a historical enclave. And yes, in case you were wondering, one of the stalls in Market Street was offering Fig Jam Face Packs. Yukky poo!
March 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
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