REVIEW: Holiday SOS by Ben MacFarlane
Who do you call if it all goes wrong on holiday?
Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane – a very modern flying doctor. His job is get on a plane and bring patients home after holiday disasters, gap year crises, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head overseas.
Holiday SOS is his extraordinary story. It’s a unique medical memoir of the people he helps – and a year in the life of one of the world’s most frequent flyers!
Dear Dr. McFarlane,
When I read the description of this book I jumped all over the chance to get to read it. I mean how cool a job is this? It sounds like great fun and as always I enjoy seeing the “behind the scenes” reality of how someone makes a living. This was also eye opening as I never even knew this career existed.
The perks of the job – spending time in various wonderful places doing exciting things while getting paid to do it – might lure people. And the beaucoup air miles don’t hurt either. But the satisfaction of doing something that helps people who are hurt, scared and far from home shines through while reading about your adventures. Yeah so you’re at 35,000 feet when you need all your medical training and inventiveness to save a life but it’s still being a doctor and rendering care – either to your own patient or in answer to a flight steward’s request for any medical doctor on board.
Your experiences flying around the world on different airlines or – whoa Nellie on a Lear jet! – gives me an idea who which I’d want or not. Alitalia with people standing in the aisles as the plane taxies down the runway? Maybe not. German efficiency? Sounds great if I’m on a stretcher waiting for a connecting flight. Luxury first class on any of them? Sign me up. I can see that it pays to make friends with and be nice to the cabin crews.
Ah, the patients, the reason for the job. Spending a transcontinental flight with a patient loudly claiming you’re trying to assault him would not be my idea of any fun. Frances, the lovely older lady who sounds like Auntie Mame, would be my choice of traveling companion. What a hoot! The story of dainty Mrs. Dean made me cry too. If I had been the one to pick up the woman in Tunis along with her oh, so delightful daughter and granddaughter I think I might have given into temptation and left them there. But I guess the Tunisian doctor would have chased me down and forced them on me. Imagine, none of the nurses there speaking English and feeding her Tunisian food. How fucking dare they? The poor woman in Cairo – OMG what a horrible experience. What could go wrong did go wrong and how. The air sickness bag handoff had me in stitches.
Where would you be without the office staff doing the booking of flights and hotels? Well, not in the lovely hotel in Skiathos with marvelous views of the Aegean. Or be given a chance to book into Michael Palin’s choice of hotel in Cairo. I’ve seen plenty of his travel shows and he’s always got the coolest digs. I now know not to ever party with the “elves” in Lapland, that NYC ambulance drivers can get you to the hospital even through Manhattan gridlock and why it’s nice for hotel bathrooms to have phones.
What a wonderful job this sound like – well, minus the mid air cardiac arrest or dealing with that trio of women in Tunisia. They really made an impression on me. But if I’m ever stranded far from home with something broken or bleeding, I’ll hope for someone like you or your caring colleagues to be the ones to fetch me back. B