The impact of a slogan

Or to put it another way by which I was equally tempted ‘The power of words’. There’s quite a story behind this but it intrigued me and so I’m hoping it might intrigue you.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Many of you will know that a couple of months ago I was taken into hospital really quite seriously ill, with various complicated elderly diseases, one of which had led to what the nurses and doctors delicately call ‘confusion’. In my case it was lunacy. I was convinced that the nurses were out to murder me and I was scared rigid. Not exactly the best chapter of my life. Had it not been for my daughter Mary I don’t know what would have become of me. But she fought my corner, got me the medical attention I needed. Sat with me for hours even though I didn’t know who she was – which I also did when my youngest daughter arrived to visit – and generally carried me through.

When I was home and we began to talk, I tried to question from my very limited knowledge, something odd that had come into the conversation. On two occasions the paramedics and nurses dealing with my daughter talked about ‘my advanced care planning and resuscitation wishes’, which sounded distinctly odd to me, particularly as two of them talked to her about it and they both used the same analogy. If I were to have a heart attack and they had to crack my ribs to get in to help me it would cause me immense pain and could be the end of it, had I been there and heard what they were saying, which I did not, and had my wits about me, which I certainly did not at that moment, I could have pointed out that there would be absolutely no need at all should I have a heart attack for anyone to break my ribs. I’ve had a heart attack and had it cured by the insertion of six stents into my arteries which was done via an artery in my elbow and another in my groin, I was never at any point in any danger or discomfort. So my mind leapt on a pace, now that it was healthy and working. What had made both those men use such an analogy? I gathered such papers as I could find and did a spot of homework.

And lo and behold on my discharge summary, in which all ten of my frailties were listed, I found the same ominous phrase word for word, under ‘Request for GP’, I’m quoting it verbatim. ‘We have started talking to her about ADVANCED CARE PLANNING AND RESUSCITATION WISHES.’ (News to me but than I was so far into lunacy I wouldn’t have heard them if they did.) It goes on, ‘she may wish to continue this conversation with you.’ Well, well, well, so they certainly want me to hear it. I wonder why? More ominously I’m wondering what they want me to sign my name to. The more I looked at the words, the more they looked like a slogan to me. ‘Advanced care planning and resuscitation wishes,’ sound more ominous every time I read them. It might be perfectly harmless and the analogy might mean very little, but that’s not the way it feels. So I thought I would put it up here and ask if there are any others out there reading this blog, who have come upon it, in a course of treatment and what they thought of it.

I also wonder, being very quizzy now that I’m getting better, where the original instructions came from. Some NHS centre? Doesn’t sound like it.

The Government? Hmmmm.

In the course of my ridiculously long life I’ve seen fascism come to power in three European countries and the leaders all worked with slogans. In Hitler’s case it was an unforgettable one and here it is:

‘Ein Volk, en reich, ein führer’ (One People, One Country, One Leader.) It makes me shiver just to remember it.

But their lead has been followed, we are flooded with slogans from every Party, it didn’t take us five minutes to collect this set and there are plenty more out there.

Get Brexit Done. Unleash Britain’s Potential. Britain Deserves Better – Conservative Party 2019 Slogan

Change Politics for Good – The Brexit Party 2019 Slogan

Or on a more hopeful note. For the Many, not the Few – Labour Party 2017 Slogan

7 thoughts on “The impact of a slogan

  1. Sinister in the extreme. Have you asked your GP about “continuing” the conversation? I can’t help thinking about the unnerving lack of care extended to care home residents during the first Covid wave…


  2. Hello dear Beryl, as you know my Mummy was very poorly in the last year of her life after her son/my big brother died. We had a three way conversation with her GP and she agreed readily, in fact told him that she did not want to be resuscitated if she had a coronary attack. “I am too old for that malarkey and I have heart failure “. It was agreed she would not be taken out of the Nursing Home to hospital and would be cared for in her own bed. Which is what happened, when she faded away. The last sensible thing Mummy said, 6 days before she died was – “that bloody woman (Mrs May) will ruin the country!”. Thank goodness she cannot know the awful mess we are in now. Love you


  3. They said that to my friend about her mother’s ribs being broken when she had been rushed to hospital. My friend didn’t take in that the moment was imminent and her mother died that evening! Obviously it’s not your time yet Beryl. I think they are obliged to have this conversation with the patient or someone. When I was at the hospital after my husband had just been admitted I heard a doctor talking gently to an old lady explaining that if her heart stopped it was very unlikely they would be able to start it.


    • What a lovely, sympathetic, understanding letter. Thank you so much for writing it and sending it. Some doctors handle the care of death so delicately, as we saw when my son was dying of sarcoma.

      Thanks once again.

      Beryl x


      Liked by 1 person

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