Saturday, 4 April 2020

Beautiful



One of most beautiful woman I have ever seen is
Emma Thompson at the end of Nanny Mc Phee

Diary Of A Nobody

Yesterday
Finished work at 8.00 am
Laughed with colleagues, negiotiated around wild mountain goats in car park
Drove towards home on deserted roads
Stopped at Sainsbury's for provisions
Told to get to front of queue by nice trolley man who read my name badge
Old man in queue complained loudly that I went before him, so much for the Blitz spirit
Bought gin and bread and beer
Old man who complained snorted when he saw my purchases



Drove home
Village quiet
Waved at Mrs Trellis who was out with Blue, she had starched her bobble hat again.

Walked dogs down Gypsy lane,
Shepherd Graham was tending to his new lambs
Checked Trelawnyd 's Emergency whatsapp group. 34 messages!

Cleaned kitchen floor

Realised I had lost my wallet again.....searched house
Rang work to see if wallet was there....no....bugger!!!!!
Searched car and house again
Checked washing machine ( where I had found it before )
Nothing
Spent 1hour 49 minutes waiting to to get through to Barclays to cancel credit Card
Fell asleep doing so
Woken up by lovely Sonia shouting " Helloooo" from scotland who kindly cancelled my card
Made avocado on toast ( with egg)
Finally went to bed at 12.30 pm.....shattered
Dogs woke me at 3pm , barking at Postman
Gathered them up and took them round to Trendy Carol's ( who was wearing a floaty cream and brown ensemble) 
Walked back home realising I was still in pyjamas
Went to bed again
Woke up at 5.30 pm

Drank cold coffee left over from breakfast


Fed Albert
Spooned out dog food
Answered phone , old friend Nigel, told him I will catch up with him today
Collected and fed dogs , realised I was still in pyjamas
Washed and then donned uniform, washed up pots
Left message on recycling for binmen with beer..thanking them for working
6.45 pm left for work
7.22 pm stopped at West Shore and admired the view and the very cold air



Felt human for a few minutes
7.29 got to work.
Laughed with colleagues
Placed gin I had bought in office
It is a gift to one of the support workers who will cut my hair before I leave for home tomorrow

Friday, 3 April 2020

I See You


It's almost 5 am
I wasn't sure if I was going to blog today.
My life has became smaller , not only with self isolation but with night shifts.

Certain phrases have become synonymous with trauma and moments of crisis,
I've just been thinking.

I love you
Is the example that springs most readily to mind
In 9/11 the protagonists in buildings and aircraft were quick to repeat these words to their loved ones
So important it was to share the most fundamental and vital of emotions

Patients, indeed everyone of us have difficult times during a day.
The wee small hours on a night shift can be especially hard if nerves are jagged and resolve is low.
At these times nursing is often a visual and very human vocation.

The patient needs to know you are there.
You are present
You are available, alert and focused
Like a hen sat on her chicks,
like your mother when you were a sick child,
Like a vigilant lover when you're asleep

And the phrase that is most relevant to say is the reassuring

I am watching you.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Fight Club

Our worlds get smaller and things that never became important before become important now.
I was desperate to get back to work last night.
Desperate to have something of purpose to do
People to talk to
Characters to bounce off.

Social isolating cannot happen when patients need turning and made comfortable
The physical contact of colleagues are ties that bind.

Nurse humour cannot be beaten for sheer, undiluted gall
On one of her last hospital admissions my mother witnessed a brief meeting at the nurses station when an over tired support worked hissed at two very harassed staff nurses
" I've just found another one Dead!" 
Whereafter all three burst into brief and somewhat hysterical laughter

In my mind tiredness, night nurse hysteria and overwork is often the reciepie for a good laugh.

I once had to take charge at the resuscitation of a man with severely contracted legs.
He had effectively sat in a wheelchair for months before his admission without benefit of lying down supine on a bed , and so when placed on his back his legs sprang upwards as if he was glued to a chair.
We tried our best to bring the chap back to the land of the living and the defibrillator and arrest team were all called but eventually after a heroic try the team agreed that we had been unsuccessful
Dejected and defeated the team looked mutely on until a support worked popped her head around the curtains and commented that the patient was in no way going to fit in one of the porters' body boxes .
Cue prolonged and by no means irreverent laughter .

A valve release to a very human situation.
And I would always prefer to laugh than to cry.

It's not the drama, or the blood , or the sheer mental anguish of some nursing shifts that binds nurses together.
Sure all these things play a part in team work and the shared experience thing
But it's humour that gets us through and gives us the chutzpah to skip through the shit.

Any good manager understands this
I think the public now knows it too.

I remember one time when I was a junior staff nurse when a patient everyone disliked intensely choked on half an apricot during a mealtime on a neighbouring ward . He arrested at the dinner table after a prolonged bitching session at staff and we could see that the nurses had everything in hand so waited to be called if we were needed
After a half hour or so one of the support workers walked into our ward looking deflated and dejected

" How is he ?" I asked
The support worker signed
" He's fucking alive !" She shrugged theatrically
Cue ribald laughter .

I have a hundred such stories . And all are not disrespectful is any way.
Watch M*A*S*H  The original movie ....if you don't get it
Then you unbeliever, you may understand where I am coming from

Nurses humour, like the Film Fight  Club has its own rules

And What goes on it fight club....stays in Fight Club 







Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Vets


The twelve year old vet examined Winnie in the car park.
He agreed that the sudden lump on the old girl's neck looked nasty, especially as she has lost weight recently . He was also surprised when she gave him a wet kiss as he knelt in front of her.
" She's a friendly old gal" he said in an broad Irish brogue
" You will never know!" I told him
Winnie went off with him without looking back.
I had already agreed that we were not doing any heroics if things looked bleak.

I've not long picked her up
No cancer this time
Antibiotics and cream and a vague worry of future deterioration is a bonus as she is already on borrowed time and making the most of the necessary trip over the Welsh Hills we stopped briefly at an isolated  beauty spot layby and shared a shop bought sandwich

Our sides touching firmly like only old buddies can do.


Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Bits

Outside my solicitors office this morning


When I am not working, home routine has found its own level.
In the morning the girls and I now go down Gypsy Lane which is part bridlepath part livestock path hidden between fields that leads out south Westward of Trelawnyd towards Dyserth.
I make brunch when I return ( in an effort to cut down on one meal a day)
The girls often go to Trendy Carol's in the afternoon for a change of scene, she has a big garden, ideal for galloping around.
Mornings the same Village characters pass by.
Terry from the flowershow microwaves his breakfast when out with his dogs and it's perfectly cooked by the time he gets home
dapper Tim ( bright but not dim) stopped to have a brief chat about humanity and divorce
Pippa from the rectory , Mrs Trellis with her erect bobble hat.
I see them coming down the lane and suddenly find myself sweeping the patio in order to have an excuse to say hello.
I recognise the behaviour in some older, more isolated people of the village, before all this virus thing came forth .....
Note to self to be a little kinder with my time in future.

In Llandudno, the quiet streets have encouraged the mountain goats to come down from the Orme
This morning they have run amok in the buisness side of town ....
How things change when the dominant species hides away for a week!

As you can see from the previous post, I managed to get sorted my own personal protective equipment in the shape of the PAT tested facemask. I saw three people I used to work with on ITU and they all asked if I was going back.
The hospital looks tense and ready for action

Out of the blue, Winnie has some sort of growth on her neck.
I'm not sure if it an abscess or something more sinister
She's booked in for a review under sedation tomorrow

Life goes on

Masks

I'm waited in line  to get my PPE mask to be fitted at local hospital!!


And here I am all properly masked up.

Monday, 30 March 2020

We Are All In This Together

This is a visual metaphor for how things are for us all at the moment

Mary, Winnie and Dorothy share a chair with Albert ( yeap he's in there somewhere!!! Tucked right in the back!"  )

The Walking Dead


Sweet and sad

The global virus threat has even affected the season finale ( how ironic is that?)
So I have only one more episode until waiting for the all clear to see who survives into season 11
If The Walking Dead can illuminate anything on corona it is that humanity and kindness is the way forward
The series has been Easter egging corona for years 

Going Gently

I was worried about my job yesterday. Hospices all over the country are in dire financial need at the moment and I worked hard getting my job in order to keep the cottage .
The prospect of possible redundancies was almost too much to bare

Today, it's best foot forward.
I've cleared out my bookcases this morning and tucked away was a book , which has always been the inspiration for the blog

Most people think Going Gently derives from the poem by Dylan Thomas
" Do not go gentle into that good night,
             Old age should burn and rage at close of day
 
             Rage, rage at the dying of the light"



But it is the novel Going Gently by David Nobbs that is the true inspiration
"The novel is a series of memories, memories recalled by an eighty odd year old stroke patient Kate Thomas, who is paralysed in a hospital bed.
Isolated and unable to communicate , Kate plays in her mind the video of her turbulent life as a welcome relief from the sad and bad old women around her . But it is more than an escape . It is also the search for the truth about life,death , the acceptance of death and which of her three sons murdered her fifth husband...."

The book was a gift from a patient , I thought I didn't get on with very well
Her name was Julia
Paralysed in a car accident , that was in essence her own fault, she was a patient who wasn't patient  at all . She's moaned and complained and became so negative in her rehab that staff started to avoid her. I remember that her son once described her as being able to " suck the lifeforce out of a saint " so difficult she was but I also remember that she was plucky enough to follow the gaggle of younger male paraplegics to gym every morning without fail and to be able to put up with their colourful ribbing and telling off if she complained too much to them, disabled men who would not accept self pity and "kvetching"

I remember one day she called me  " a hard hearted bastard"  to my face , I can't really remember just what it was about , but I suspect I had " encouraged" her rather robustly to do something for herself
" I've been called a lot worse!" I shot back
"I bet you have!" Was Julia's reply

I looked at the book and dusted it off , planning to read it again , in this period of isolation
I hadn't noticed, or indeed remembered that Julia had written in the front of it,
A dedication of sorts
" You Gave Me my life back"
It said
Funny I never got that impression when I nursed her



Sunday, 29 March 2020

Keep Yourself Going



I'm having a bad day today..living alone isn't always easy you know?
I think we all have the occasional bad day given our present situation 
I knew I was shaky when I shared something with a Going Gently follower and they emailed me with this statement

At times you write, I respond, and you and I share a moment glimpsing into a place within your heart."

I valued this understanding and intuiative support...Mary x
This morning Rachel and I talked and laughed. At lunchtime I received a note of support from  my Australia buddy
Words acting as a duvet on a very cold night
Tonight I caught up with some Sheffield friends on video
I've just finished chatting with Jane, who carried on when Mike's link went down 
And we metaphorically held hands for an hour as only some old friends can do

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Zoom Again


My patient died peacefully just a half hour before I finished my shift .
I said goodbye to his partner just as I was leaving the building and hugged him before getting into my car for home
You can't employ social distancing in a hospice...you just can't

I got home, collected the dogs from Trendy Carol , and set up the iPad just in time to meet up with the family on Zoom.
We had arranged to catch up with drinks
My nephew Chris, his partner Rebecca and daughter Evie, my sister Janet and hubby Ned, my sister in Law Jayne, sister Ann and brother in law Tim and great niece Ellie down in London had a bunfight  of a meet. Lots of shouting, lots of " We can't hear you!!!!" And lots of looking around flats and houses and artwork with lots of " ohhhhhss and arrrhhhhs!" 

It was a touch of base that was oh so needed, a grounding meet , a funny catch up.
Nothing sparkling, everything normal
And I am so lucky to have a dear family
After today's shift , and a review of life in Britain in general,
It is a family I am not about to take for granted
Hey ho x

Support Your Local Hospice



I'm going into work later.
Sickness has visited our part of North Wales like it has done everywhere,
I'm only surprised that they didn't need me in earlier.
I'm happy to do it, I really am.

Working for a charity in these uncertain times is worrying.
The lockdown simply means that money is not coming into the hospice's accounts
And that public money pays for the nurses' wages.
Nurses that continue to ensure quality end of life care is given during this crisis
Could well lose their jobs when it is all over!
Go figure!

The velvet voiced Linda who has organised the Village warden system has done a sterling job with now two wardens allocated to each street in the village and its environs. A whatsapp group now connects every warden to her in HQ and with each other and every few minutes this morning my phone has beeped urgently  with people co ordinating pharmacy runs and food deliveries .
We even have a village warden social app group, where most of the volunteers are sharing videos such as this one


Right time to try and control my unruly mop of greying hair
Work calls

Be safe my friends