Tuesday, 23 September 2008

An Imaginary Massacre and a Minor Miracle

There are many reasons for not blogging. This last week's was having a daughter in hospital with respiratory problems. Apart from our ordered daily schedule going to hell in a handcart, I kind of just lost the urge, choosing instead to tidy the workshop and a couple of sheds with an obsessive single-mindedness which suggests I may be pregnant.

K is back home now, having mentally machine-gunned a socially maladjusted male nurse; a patient with an amputated toe (or rather, without an amputated toe) who kept the mixed ward awake all night complaining of pain in his phantom digit; several senior hospital administrators prematurely promoted from the post room; and the limited linguistic skills of a Latvian drug nurse.

There were good things and bad things about her time there, although - this being Britain's leading C-Difficile hospital under Rose Gibb's appalling mismanagement (Ms Gibbs is now involved in a private consultancy with her partner, who also has a dubious hospital management history, seeking to provide advice on hospital management) - we'll count it a success if she doesn't come home with something she didn't go in with. The initial triage bit (if that's the right phrase) was excellent. Shutting down all systems for the weekend was not.

However, instead of muck raking, I've remembered a really heart-warming hospital story that happened earlier this year.

There is a delightful, diminutive lady near here, who lives alone in a little cottage. She was a nurse all her working life, never married and is now a cheerful and quick-witted 87. Earlier this year she caught a cold and it turned into pneumonia. Even as she recovered from that, her eyesight suddenly and rapidly deteriorated, threatening to steal away her ability to look after herself, let alone read or watch television.

A close friend and neighbour, herself 85, insisted on driving her to hospital, where for many hours they sat and waited to be seen. When, in the late afternoon as the place was pretty much closing up for the day, a consultant finally examined her, he said, "You have sudden onset cataracts. As you've waited so long, I'm going to operate on you right now".

And, in a little laser miracle, he did. Both eyes.

On the drive home, she said "I can read that road sign!"

And her friend behind the wheel replied, "Well I can't!"

I wish I could name the surgeon. But to have so disdained the bumph and procedure and procrastination of the NHS and restored this lady's sight and life on the spot seems a wonderful kindness.


  1. Hospitals are invariably appalling places and even as a visitor you wonder if you are not somehow compromising your health by frequenting them, let alone being a patient in one. Very glad to hear your daughter is home and recovering.

  2. Glad to hear things are ok with your daughter. I know what you mean about the act of kindness for that dear ol' soul, but in another breath I wonder why we marvel at such kindness. How low have we sunk, with our expectations, for a decent society for all? Hugs to your family.

  3. Thanks Steve.

    And thanks Sagittarian. Low expectations are so ingrained I hadn't looked at it that way. You're right.

  4. Poor you - and all I have as an excuse for bad blog-buddying this week is work!

    Lovely story about the octogenarian.

    I do hope your daughter is faring well. Have they established whether it's a chemical/hormonal imbalance or something more psychological/trauma-led? I do think the more they narrow these things down, the more treatment success/progress is likely.

  5. Work seems reasonable, Laura!

    They haven't really established that, although I suspect it's a bit of each. I think various pressures - exams being a major one - contributed. But she's doing well...I gather these things take time. The hospital interlude was a combination of asthma and a chest infection - exacerbated by an imprudent hard-core cycle ride with her brother!

  6. The thought of ever having to submit to being hospitalized sends me into spinning-hyperventilation-disturbed-frame-of-mind-mode! I admire K for giving them a run for their money - she must be one of the bravest people I’ve ever known...