Archive | October 2018

Christmas has crept up on me!



I have to confess, Christmas has crept up on me this year. I’ve just woken up to the fact that it’ll be Christmas in two months and I haven’t made any preparations at all! Quick! Quick! The thought of it coming so near without me noticing, is odd. But it brings the same old excitement, the same old sense that no matter what, all is well.

My children are planning a Christmas meal here, which they are going to cook and that makes it feel possible and pleasurable and all the other things that you expect at Christmas. There are days when I simply  can’t believe how lucky I am to have such a family. In the next few weeks, I shall be going Christmas shopping and the lights will be up and everything will be normal and although there are still days where I feel that such blessed normality isn’t actually possible, I’m actually living in the middle of it.

Singing carols in my head as I move from room to room and wonder of wonders teaching my first great-grandchild how to play his first Christmas carol on my long, suffering and dependable piano, which has taught grandchildren and is now beginning on great-grandchildren. I didn’t foresee all that when I was learning the piano myself all those many, many years ago, for like my little Harry, I was seven when I started to play.

Now having woken up to the fact that Christmas is coming, I can’t wait for it! There are days that I shed the eighty years and I’m seven all over again.

Praise be for families, for fun and laughter and good food!

Happy Christmas everyone!





This entry was posted on October 25, 2018. 2 Comments

The nameless doctor

I have a story for you this morning, which is a very different kind from the last blog I wrote. For now, heaven help me, I am back in the world, not of the superb NHS – still miraculously functioning – but of my local GP’s Surgery, where I have encountered a very different breed of doctor.

When the team who’d been looking after me in Worthing, sent me home, they gave me a list of all the medicines I am now required to take and told me their names and what they were for. I was grateful, although baffled and I was having problems trying to swallow the very large pills that figured in the midst, so I was glad to see that they’d also added a note to my local GP ‘please liaise with Mrs Kingston regarding administration of her Atorvastatin, she may find a liquid a more suitable long-term solution’. Now, I thought someone from my local surgery will be there to help me. I was wrong.

This particular doctor, who is the Diabetes Lead in the practice, had absolutely no intention of helping me, until he had bullied me into doing what he wanted, which was quite straightforward, I was to join all his other diabetics for an annual review. He implied that he couldn’t attend to medicines until that was sorted out. I hate being bullied and I hate bullies, but I felt too ill to withstand him and had to give in. I needed to be able to swallow those pills. The doctor did not tell me his name, so I took a petty comfort from calling him ‘Dr Bully-rag’. How childish you get when you’re not well.

Two days later, the diabetes practice nurse appeared to take, what I thought appeared to be a blood sample. It wasn’t. It was a whole crop of them. And when I queried the number, she said she was doing as she was told, which seems an odd and ominous thing for a member of the team to be doing.

On the 5th of October, I had a letter from the surgery, with the headline ‘Recent Result’, it was a request for me to make a NON-URGENT telephone consultation with a doctor to hear my results, which I did.

It was a very profound shomaywoodck, for none of these results had anything at all to do with my diabetes, just as I had known all along that they would not. These were all to do with my now very fragile state of health since I started taking one set of pills after another. My liver was compromised, there was too much sodium in my blood, something which should be scoring 40 was scoring 100 or visa versa, but the doctor whose English was poor was unable to tell me what she was talking about. I put the phone down feeling low and depressed and that there wasn’t much hope.  I don’t know whose suggestion it was that Dr Bully-rag should conduct all these tests and then tell me the results so brutally, but it sure as hell hadn’t done me any good at all.

I got in touch with my very helpful and knowledgeable and friendly Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist Nurse who said she had the results in front of her as she spoke and was going to discuss it with my consultant and that she would get back to me. A real NHS practitioner, not a loud mouth street bully like the Diabetes Lead, I made it my business this morning to find out the gentleman’s name and it is Luke Webb, who describes himself as the ‘Diabetes Lead GP’. Hmmm.

I am getting better I think, but very very slowly and it will take me some time to work out what should actually be done about this (to me) very serious breach of confidentiality. Somebody must have told this man to take all those blood tests,  if so who was it? or did he get the idea himself? if so how and why?

A bullying doctor is not something that I am used to, nor one I really know how to handle. But when I feel better I will work out what has to be done and by whom and set the wheels in motion. Our NHS is now being very steadily dismantled and privatized. But that is no reason for blatant bullying and what I can only from my vantage point call deliberate cruelty.

I would welcome any advice, because all this will take time if it’s to be done properly and I’ll try to find a happier and more entertaining blog for my next sortie into the blog world.

In the meantime can I remind Dr Luke Webb of the Hippocratic Oath, which makes the case quite plainly and simply.

‘I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing.’ – Hippocratic Oath

This entry was posted on October 17, 2018. 1 Comment

Where have I been?

I’m cheating a bit here, because I’m using this blog to answer a question that I’ve been asked rather a lot over the last four weeks and I’ve used it as the title. It’s not a short answer, but a fairly long and complicated one. For iworthing-430x269n the first two weeks since I went off radar, I’ve been in hospital, not forgetting any of you but totally unable to answer you. To tell the story shortly; I had a heart attack during the night of Tuesday the 11th September and was in hospital early Wednesday morning. But these bald facts lead us straight in to the most extraordinary story of dedication, kindness, patience and all the very best aspects of our beleaguered NHS.

I had two rather lengthy and difficult procedures, during the second of which four stents were inserted into two of my arteries, I was astounded at the skill it took and how complicated the machinery was, quite amazed to be told that two of the stents actually took my blood around corners. It was as if I’d moved into a completely different world. I was attached to two very complicated machines, neither of which I understood at all, but which were obviously keeping necessary records, because from time to time during the night and day, a nurse would appear at my bed-side to say I’ve become detached and would gently plug me in again. And when the staff nurses, sisters, doctors and consultants did their rounds they had one of their number pushing a portable machine about with all of our details on. It was high tech and then some.

But the thing that impressed me most and absolutely stunned me on occasions, was the kindness, gentleness and thoroughness of all the staff involved. We take them for granted and we shouldn’t. They are sterling. And their attitude to the job, extends to every member of the team, the night staff, who never seem to be able to sleep and are always loving at dark times when you need it most. The doctors who take time to explain everything over and over again to all of us. It would give me the screaming ab-dabs but to them it is normal, the young boys who cleaned the wards very thoroughly and with gentleness when they removed any of our belongings so they could get to the floor. My favourite was a boy called Callum, who asked me very gently if he could move my bag so he could clean where it stood, and when I said I felt a bit of a fraud lying there and doing nothing while he was working so hard, he said “I’m sure you’ve worked very hard all your life. Now it’s our turn” I could have hugged him. And another young man who brought us tea and breakfast and always smiled, his name was George and very suitable. But probably the most amazing of the lot was the staff nurse called Marilyn who encouraged me to admit to being afraid and not to feel bad about it, now there’s a skill. And the consultant, came to the ward to tell me what he was going to do during a very complicated procedure and somehow or other, made me believe and understand that complicated though it was, he would do it and it would be a success. As he did and as it was.

They are stars. And we should be down on our knees, thankful that we have such people in our NHS. Respec’ to every single one of them.

So there you are, that’s what I’ve been doing. And now I’m home and recovering slowly and with a lot of support from my family. Thanking God for being given such a lot of help from so many directions. Even Dixie, has donned an imaginary white coat and appointed himself night nurse extraordinaire.


This entry was posted on October 9, 2018. 4 Comments