Simon Says

I submitted this a while back, but possibly because of the reliance on my name to make it work, it hasn’t been posted yet. Or it isn’t considered good enough, lol! So here it is in full. Hope you enjoy!

This happened back in the 90s. For a couple of years during the summer I did residential voluntary work at a charity holiday home for the elderly and disabled, until the charity sadly had to sell the property. It was the opportunity for couples and individuals to go away for a couple of weeks and have other people help look after them.

(Nothing to do with the story, but this took place at a former holiday camp that was later used by the popular British sit-com Hi-De-Hi. The old chalets had long since been replaced by a modern and well equipped building)

There were a lot of volunteers, and we were each assigned to one or two guests to provide as much help as they needed throughout the day. We were also expected to help other guests if their volunteer was not available. There was always at least one fully trained nurse or doctor on the premises at all times.

It was hard work, but I loved every minute of it. Except possibly that time I was woken up at 2am by the nurse to help change the sheets of my guest, as it was urine-soaked. He’d not wet the bed, but the idiot who emptied his catheter that evening had forgotten to close the tap. But before anyone in the comments says the nurse should have woken up the idiot and gotten him to clear up the mess, I can assure you she did. Let’s just say that half-asleep me soon woke up and was VERY apologetic. Both the guest and his wife were alright about it; it wasn’t the first time that had happened to them, and I made certain I didn’t do that again!

To say one this next thing was an annoyance would be a massive overstatement. It was more a mild frustration that quickly become a bit of a running joke: no one could remember my name. We all had name badges, those plastic types with a removable card. Mine clearly said “Stephen”, but I was always called “Simon”. Everyone else was called by the right name, but for some reason no one could remember mine.

I didn’t get cross, nor did I blame anyone. It could be because of their eyesight or memory; hardly their fault. I did always politely correct them which worked briefly, but by the next time they saw me, I had reverted back to being Simon. One of the biggest “offenders” was a lovely gentleman who was recovering from a stroke. It was all taken in good humour, but I really did want people to stop calling me Simon.

So after a day or two of this, I removed the card, turned it over, and wrote “NOT SIMON”. And it worked… they stopped calling me Simon!

Everyone (especially Lovely Recovering Stroke Chap) happily called me “Not Simon” instead. Ah well.

And as an epilogue, LRS Chap improved incredibly well over the holiday. He was wheelchair bound at the start, but after every evening meal he would try walking a few steps. He went from only managing 3 or 4 steps at the start of the holiday to managing over one hundred unassisted steps by the end!

Great times…

And to the editors, you do have my permission to use my name(s) as shown in this story.

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Glad to see this one did appear. Did you find out the reason for the delay ?

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No, it just eventually popped up