Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Nights

Sometimes I think I need to do something different. 
Nursing is a hard game when you do night shifts.
They scupper your reserves and body clock to buggery.
But it's all I know. 
I've been a nurse since I was twenty years old. 
Now I'm getting divorced , I now need to work well into my sixties and so I need to see if there is anything I can do that's a little easier on the old carcass 
Any ideas gratefully received 
I'll leave you to a few late postcard entries. 
I'm off to have a doze











Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Your Go-to Place


A couple of mornings a week I drive 16 miles to a stretch of Promenade that borders a man made beach. It's become my go-to place .
A place to go to - in order to feel better
This morning we sat in a line on the low wall.
Coffee in hand
Me, Winnie and George.
Mary is on my knee.
All looking out at the sea

Where is your go-to place.

Monday, 18 February 2019

The Walking Dead


The Walking Dead  continues and I'm still following and still enjoying.
It's a bit weird that Daryl  is centre stage now after 8 years in support
I'm still watching!

Mr Chivers In Bed Seven


The class of 1983 with our tutor Mr Brint
Paula -Top row right, Mike Far right.
I am on the far left

It was in the late autumn of 1984 when Mike, Paula and I started our general nursing placement at the Royal Infirmary in Chester.
As second year psychiatric nurses not that long out of our teens, we were so out of our comfort zone as the trim general nurses bustled around with more purpose and vigour than we were used to. But , for the most part our colleagues were kind and the task orientated care  fairly easy to pick up.

The ward was a surgical one, with a busy turn over. But there was one patient that remained a sort of constant during our time there and that was Mr Chivers.
Mr Chivers had been a solid large man when young. He had, as far as we could make out, experienced several large surgeries on his bowel and bladder and had a daily hour long slot made for him in an afternoon where the most experienced of the staff nurses would change his dressings.
He now weighed the same as a ten year old girl.
He was single and had no family, but was a chatterer by nature, so it wouldn't have surprised anyone that we psychiatric nurses gravitated towards him
Like puppies do to a smiling face.
And so when I helped roll Mr Chivers for his dressings that smelled like rotting fish to be changed, he quizzed me about my family roots in Liverpool and we talked about his wartime experience in York with his best friend Knobby.
Before his teatime morphine kicked in to his system, he would hold Paula's tiny hand so firmly until her empathy tears were wiped away along with his and every morning he allowed Mike to shave him alongside the scouse banter Mike was well known for even though he was perfectly able to do it himself.
Mr Chivers was our go to man. He waved to us on arrival and on our departure with a skinny yellow hand and his locker drawer was constantly filled with liquorice allsorts which could be plundered by us in between observation rounds, post op checks and urine bottle washing.
He read the Radio Times and planned our tv watching for the evening and he held up his crossed fingers when one of us were taken aside for an assessment on our aseptic technique
.
The ward sister was , I think, well aware of our relationship with the old man but had bigger things to concern herself with. She did , however make a point of saying rather too curtly that "Mr Chivers would not make Christmas" in handover once after Paula had joked about taking him out Christmas shopping.

It was soon after this when Paula and I came on duty at 7.15am, we stopped at the nurses station
looking at an empty bed 7. The mattress was scrubbed clean with antiseptic and the locker was emptied of liquorice and pyjamas.
Mr Chivers had died around 6 am.
he had been alone as it was medication time.

Paula cried her way through handover with a blotchy face
I kept my eyes to the floor
and the ward sister, looking weary even at that early time called out "Nurse Bestwick, Mr Gray a moment please!" as the nurses filed from her office.
She was not unkind
"You psychi nurses really need to harden up a little" she told us carefully handing Paula a tissue
"This is about the patient and not all about you"
Paula and I must have looked a little bemused by her words so she explained
"Mr Chivers got a great deal of pleasure looking after the three of you these last few weeks. that's what helped him through. You made him feel useful and needed."
Then it all made sense.
The stories during a smelly unpleasant dressing change was a distraction for my benefit.
The unneeded wet shave and the hand holding.
Things designed to comfort  us and...not him......

"Now wash your face and get back on the floor" the sister instructed us her thoughts already on another 100 things to do.
and we both left her office a little older and a just a little wiser.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Eve

I feel a London trip coming on 


Saturday, 16 February 2019

The Final

The Finalists for the Best Scotch Egg Postcard


And The Winner is

Joyce Zepp Renne 
Pittsburgh


Best Most Boring Postcard 

Carol Caudwell
Woodburn Green, Bucks


The finalists for the best vintage Postcard


And the winner is
anonymous 


The Finalists for the most saucy Postcard


And the winner is
Jacqueline @Home


The Finalists in the "sums up my home best" Postcard



And the winner is
Ginger Hallet
New Brunswick


The Finalists for the "Best Gay Postcard"


A tough one here as Mitchell's buttocks nearly swung it
but the winner is
Joyce Zepp Ranne
Pittsburgh


The Finalists for the most humorous card  


And the winner is 
Hillybean !


The finalists for the "most arty postcard"



and the winner is 
Vivian Swift 
NY


The Finalists for the "best animal themed postcard"


And the winner is
Norma Griffiths
Ellesmere Port


The finalists for the best hand crafted post card


And The winner is
Gayle from Arizona


The Finalists for the best "hand drawn" postcard
I could not choose the best one out of this category
so
joint first prize goes to
Yorkshire Pudding
Rachel Philips
Susan Winslow
and unsigned



A Special prize goes to this handmade card
apologies but Ive mixed up the labelling so I need to be reminded who sent this



Special mention to  Carol Caudwell for is my Walking Dead card


Well its been frivolous and fun and hundreds of cards have winged their ways over to me in Wales with best wishes, lovely prose and messages of support that prove how lovely this internet thingy can be.
I have read and enjoyed every one of the 552 cards which have arrived
They have diverted and intrigued me
they have made me laugh, and smile and think and I thank you all for joining in with a bit of silly fun

thank you
J
xxxx

Final entries

The results will be announced shortly.....once the judge's decision has been verified
Teenage Boffin Cameron has just been reviewing the entries and was suitably open mouthed
Here are the final entries received a few minutes ago
The competition is now closed








Just some of the 532 postcards


Friday, 15 February 2019

Blind Women Climbing the curtains and Other Postcards

but is it art?

If my friend Naomi was perplexed by the sight of two visually impaired performers swinging from black curtain material in a modern day Japanese themed London Hall in sort of homage to the biwa hoshi (Travelling blind storytelling performers in ancient Japan, she had the good breeding not to let on.
Having said this both of us turned to each other after Flight Paths at Theatre Clwyd and mouthed the words "What the fuck?" 

535 cards! the final is tomorrow