A small face appeared at the lane window this morning. ,
I knew who it was immediately as the figure was wearing a pointed woolly hat with a large Pom Pom on the top of it.
Mrs Trellis was peeping through the window, she looked like a Christmas Elf and made it clear that she wanted to see the new kitchen.
I motioned for her to come in.
She made all of the right noises about the cabinets then pointed to a small square framed piece of embroidery which I had hung in the space between the window and the glass cupboard.
" That's sweet" she said reading the signature " GH 1988!"
I had almost forgotten the story behind the embroidery, it was so long ago now, but I think it's an interesting one and is one worth repeating some twenty nine years after it was made.
When I worked as a new staff nurse on an acute psychiatric ward in York it was usual for each trained nurse to be allocated as a named nurse for a small number of patients. Named nurses were responsible for planning , implementing and evaluating the care of up to three patients and was the go-to person for the patient to go to when a whole lot of crisis surfaced during their admissions.
One of my patients was a young man called Graham.
Graham heard voices and thought people in authority were stealing his thoughts. He became ill as he started University life, a stressful transitory stage in life which sometimes precipitates sudden mental illness.
He was also suicidal at times.and was placed on close observation by staff, which meant you had to be in the same room with him at all times.
These times of observation could be rather stressful and boring, for both patient and nurse so in an effort to forge some sort of relationship and to pass the time , I persuaded the occupational therapy department to give me two embroidery kits for Graham and I to practice with during the quieter times on the ward.
Now back in the eighties , the butch members of the nursing staff found it rather strange that a member of male staff and a young male patient were often found sitting in the window seat of the day room embroidering like characters from Pride and Prejudice but the activity focused Graham's mind on a reality away from delusions and hallucinations and allowed him to trust me even though my needlepoint turned out to be a terrible mess.
When I think back now, I cannot remember what happened to Graham. I remember he improved enough to be discharged home. And I remember him coming back to see me as an outpatient for a few weeks before he went back to university.
He presented me with his embroidery as a gift on one of those return visits.
I wondered if he did alright .....I never heard from him after that .