Monday, 17 September 2012

A Flannel Over The Eyes

Last night Lady Mary had a somewhat tentative snog with hubby-to-be Mathew Crawley. 
In this age where everyone is exposed to on line sex, Kate Windsor's bare boobies and everyday  language that even the most inarticulate Liverpudlian docker would blush at... this sweet little scene reminded me that in times gone by, people did live gentle,uninformed and somewhat innocent lives.

A few years ago I remember nursing an Indian lady who had suffered a TB paralysis. She was in her late 60s and although she had a large number of visitors from her extended family, she had never married or had children of her own.
All of this lady's personal care was carried out by female staff but I do remember one occasion when she required a turn in bed and only one female support worker and I were available to do the deed.
I explained the situation to the patient and assured her that by folding the sheets in a certain way, I would not compromise her modesty, and she agreed I could help with a quiet passivity.
Just before I started to pull back the covers, I remember the lady reached over to her locker to pull out a face flannel which she placed over her own face before the turn, and I remember the support worker ( a delightful Sheffield lass called Diane) putting her hand over her own mouth in a gesture of sympathy.and concern
Even though the lady agreed to me to help, she just could not face to watch 
me complete this everyday and usually unthinking procedure.She was just too ashamed

With great presence of mind, the support worker took the flannel away and gestured to the patient that I would close my eyes during the whole turn, which the patient agreed to with a huge sigh.
I shut my eyes and the turn was done, without me seeing an inch of uncovered flesh.

Lady Mary's  chaste snog may be just the briefest glimpse of Edwardian innocence.. but it did remind me of one of those red letter moments only good nursing can give someone
.....a bit of sweet humanity.

37 comments:

  1. I think you may mean, "chaste", unless Mary had to catch that feller first. Tee hee.

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  2. Imagine the concept of not being able to see what was happening making it more bearable. Poor old soul.

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  3. Online Sex????Where???To the woods....and bring your knitting!!!Have a great week.x

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  4. Shirley likes "Downton Abbey" but it's my signal to leave the front room and find other and more interesting things to do like sorting out the recycling, clipping my toenails or escaping to the pub - which is usually filled with other Downton refugees.

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  5. Sucha sweet post and so eloquently put. After three days at a work conference full of unwholesome debauchery (i abstained I have you know!) I was in need of a downton sex free snog!

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  6. isobel
    changed as appropriate x

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  7. Such a sweet post. Modesty is a word that is not heard too often these days.

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  8. We need more caring sensitive souls like you John.
    Sadly my grandmother did not receive the dignity she deserved in a cottage hospital for her last week or so in this world.

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  9. Super post..really spot on

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  10. I presume Downton Abbey is not in Essex.

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  11. Ah,that was lovely.
    Jane x

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  12. One of the things I like about the series is seeing how manners and use of language (not the fould kind) mattered.
    So different from today, sadly.

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  13. The world needs more nurses like you.

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  14. It will be a while before the new season of Downton Abbey will be shown here in the US. It makes me happy to know that while I'm waiting, Mary and Matthew are finally finding true romance after all they have been through!

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  15. "According to renowned historian Judith Walkowitz, a 19th century city would commonly have 1 prostitute per 36 inhabitants, or 1 per 12 adult males, which would yield 55,000 prostitutes."

    Ah yes, the past - such innocent times...and such lovely frocks.

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  16. I was born in the wrong time... I wish people would cover up. Pass me the flannel! Aw, poor luv. And lovely you for being so empathetic.

    (And I wish we got that zombie show on our tele!)

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  17. I could have done with a flannel over my face on a few occasions when I was being patched up in hospital.

    'Does this hurt?'

    'Actually, it's jolly uncomfortable'

    'Well, it's bound to be, isn't it? Stop whining'

    Your blog, and the comments are so interesting. For example I never knew that a 19th century city commonly had 1.98 million inhabitants at least 3% of whom were in gainful employment serving the 33% adult male population.

    No wonder it was so hard for me to get laid as a teenager with the odds stacked against like that!

    It is good to see you back John. I hope you and Chris have your batteries fully charged.

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  18. You are the darlingest, sweetest man ever!

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  19. Just another reason why you are such a stellar nurse.

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  20. I imagine there are still plenty of women who would rather not show their body to a strange man, even if he's a nurse. Or am I wrong?

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  21. Lovely post, reminding us that modesty and manners still exist. P.s. my late mother in law used to put her knickers on her face whenever she had to be investigated 'down there'....if she couldn't see the consultant then he couldn't see her apparently.....have you always been a nurse John?

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  22. Sweet humanity indeed John. I am sure you have plenty of that - bless you.

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  23. How fine your support worker realized you could close your eyes. We gather wisdom everywhere.

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  24. I think the support worker diane should take the credit...as I recall she was a particulary lovely lady

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  25. Good tale, and I'm reminded of the advice that if you're ever caught naked, always cover your face and not your bits. Then the looker won't know who they've looked at, so no embarassing possible future meetings.

    And I'm Parade's End-ing, which is a little more earthy, I think.

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  26. A heart warming story - it made my day!

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  27. Thanks for the visit and comment, John.

    I think as the roll happened I would've had to say something like, "oh my". Just for the hell-of-it. But, probably not.

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  28. Nice story, John. I've just visited Isobelle Golightly's blog and read your comment with your news! Good man!

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. I heard this joke and thought it would make you titter over your morning tea....

    "A very tired nurse walks into a bank, totally exhausted after an 18-hour shift. Preparing to write a check, she pulls a rectalthermometer out of her purse and tries to write with it. When she realizes her mistake, she looks at the flabbergasted teller, and without missing a beat, she says: 'Well, that's great....that's just great..........some asshole's got my pen!'

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  31. The most beautiful thing I've read in a long time. Thanks.

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  32. Yes, a lovely and moving post here, J.G.

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  33. You are a sweety John xx

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  34. You are such a lovely, lovely man. This post has made me a tad misty around the eyes.

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  35. Nick, you are wrong. Where I come from you don't give a second thought to your gynaecologist being a man. It's their job, not a bloody peep show. Anyway, what's the choice? Most gynaecologists are [men]. And they need to eat too.

    John, I am so glad you are spoken for. Otherwise I'd be severely tempted to join your menagerie. I always fancied myself as having made a good farmer's wife. Even though I am not the marrying kind.

    You and your foul make me smile and laugh so much.

    U

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  36. Noooo... We've just started watching this! Spoil-sport!

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