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 in 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.