MISSION-ROOM 41

The deep coloured greenery swelled out and spilled over the top of the plastic carrier bag, which had been handed to me. Hidden beneath the massive aromatic foliage were more interesting items. There were three Pak Choi and one splendid white Mooli.   It was lunchtime when I made my visit to the care home, carrying this abundantly overflowing bag.  In my spare hand I held a pack of raspberries, a treat.  I got curious looks from the care staff and some polite smiles.   I was on a visiting mission. I knocked on the door of room 41.

© Elegant Veg

She immediately wanted to know what I was carrying. I got her to feel through the foliage and the thin stalks. Still not sure, I encouraged her to nibble at a little of a leaf. Yes, it tasted of something but what?  She sniffed the green bunch and stroked the stalks.  Realisation; her mother used to grow this and use it in soups, make soup with it and put it with meat and gravy.  She couldn’t remember how long ago, but it made for a good flavour.   Did the Mooli have a sharp and hot radish flavour, she wanted to know and could it be boiled or steamed.  What about the other one, the Pak Choi?  She was thinking and asking questions while I gave my ideas for preparing the two vegetables.

© Our Yellow Beetroot.  Pak Choi it is not.

We shared savoury and sweet  recipe ideas  for the best part of an hour, and the time passed pleasantly and quickly. The raspberries, which all got eaten, evoked thoughts of home made cakes; puddings; jam; outings with an enamel bucket used for collecting and cooking the raspberries, in times long past.

On my way out, staff asked me about the greenery I was carrying.  One, a Bulgarian lady did not know Pak Choi, but bemoaned the fate of her garden back home without her.  A local carer had no idea about any of it.  A Chinese carer squealed with delight when she saw the Mooli and was thrilled to hear we called the other little vegetable (the Pak Choi) the same name she knew it by.

 

Advertisements

Truly Amazing

I was in  the second  bed on the right-hand side of a  medical Nightingale hospital ward.  In the days of yore, (honestly, I am not that ancient, it’s just that where I landed, it was a time on the cusp of change) beds were not moved around too frequently as they were less mobile than the hospital beds you see today.  The patients in the beds nearest to the nursing station and the ward sister’s office,  were deemed to require closer and regular attention, and I was one of them,

As an orthopaedic patient, I felt like squatter in the medical ward.  None of the staff had any of the specialised experience, another reason why I was being kept a close eye on……just in case.   Sister, regularly communicated with ‘the experts’ when, me, with my basic first aid knowledge,  would advise the nurses how I should or shouldn’t be handled.   Sister would come off the phone and quickly have a quiet word with all the nurses who were learning (on me).  There was one time Sister had to run to help get me safely settled, at the same time, instructing the nurses to listen to me.  But hey….I was only the patient.   Orthopaedic doctors seemed happy to neglect me, leaving  my care as advisory – that is, when a Ward Sister phoned up for advice and guidance, (help!)

Meantime the ward Physicians’ frustrations were palpable.  Finally, a Senior Registrar took control and referred me urgently to the first out-patients’ clinic downstairs to see any visiting Orthopaedic Consultant.  I was gingerly taken to my fate in a wheel chair, which was left in the middle of the examination area.  It’s all a bit of a haze now, however, meeting the consultant is not. He soon arranged a bed for me in a side room on the Orthopaedic ward of that hospital and set  the staff to work, to put me back in shape. He visited me daily to check on my progress the first three days, even though, as I discovered, his own work base was many miles away.

After a series of awful professional mishaps in following his instructions – one was unbelievably grim- the worried Consultant arranged for me to be discharged post haste to medical friends of his, in a community his hospital served.  Based in his community, I could be seen by him and treated  under his supervision by his staff.  He followed me right through to final discharge, which was some months later, though by then, I was staying in the bosom of my family, 240 miles away.   I just wish so much I could remember his name after all these years.   (His friends were inordinately kind and caring too).  I promised myself that I would always remember his name and yet, here we are so many years on and I don’t.  I have a great deal to thank him for.  He was such a truly amazing man.

TALKING WITH STRANGERS IN THE CITY

Talking with strangers in the city is always interesting.  A man I sat next to on a bus told me he had accompanied his very elderly neighbour, when she had been admitted to hospital the day before.  She’s 93 years old, compos mentis, he said  She hadn’t seen the inside of a hospital since she resigned as a senior nurse in the 1940’s. (Probably  had to leave her post upon marriage).  The modern, 2017, hospital environment was, no doubt, a bit of a shock to the lady.

Pointing out a young girl working in the ward wearing a light blue dress the elderly lady observed, with some disdain, that  the hospital management had left the housemaid to look after the ward!  The man explained the ‘housemaid’ was wearing a staff nurse’s uniform.

Staff Nurse 3

Late 1950’s Staff Nurse

Why is she not wearing her [starched] hat?” … And   “Why aren’t doctors wearing their white coats,” and so on.

More explanations were required.

On the other hand, the senior nurse, (equivalent of a ward sister) who arrived at the bedside in her dark blue dress and her I.D. badge pinned to it, no frilly starched hat though, was received without query.

Marian Chaikin 3rd wife

1960’s Nursing Sister

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

All the capable men waiting to be discharged from the day operation unit were asked if their wives or someone would help them to administer their post-operative medications.  Anyone with previous experience, however long ago, was given cursory advice, and was asked if wives would help.  One man who already had experience of his procedure, but some time ago, asked to have an update of what was needed.

A relative of a woman with dementia was given instructions to pass onto carers.

Not one compos mentis woman was asked if she had anyone at home to help her.  Obviously, the expectation of the relatively young female nurses was that women could just get on with it!

nurse-tux-icon

OUR BED

counting-sheep

EeeeEk…urrgh….EeeEK; then the mattress rolls like it was pushing through a strong sea undercurrent.

At the time we purchased our bed frame, the salesman described it as having individualised left and right sides because of the the ‘unique’ separated wooden support slats design. Two single mattresses were not required.  It was explained that it would give a calm night’s rest, even if one partner was restless.  The bed  frame was delivered and constructed by the company.  We were given instructions about allowing the slats to settle under our new mattress.  All that was about four years ago. On the whole, the bed behaved much as advised.

1

For the last few weeks there has been a build up in throaty wood and screechy wood -on -wood noises, together with a chorus of crunchy cranky noises every time one of us moves, which wake me up from a half sleep when I am trying to get to sleep.  They are noises that also wake me up prematurely.  Hubs was not bothered at all.  Did I dare move? No I did not.  The final straw came when hubby turned in his sleep and I was rolled to the edge of the mattress, like I was in a boat being tossed on the sea.  It was time me and hubs had a chat about this.

What do you want me to do?” …..”We could check the frame” I ventured.

What about the mattress?“…..”We could slide it off the bed frame and put it on end“, I said

Some of the nuts on these bed fastenings are weird and wonderful sizes. With more encouragement and me demonstrating the slackness of the frame. Hubby went off to find his set of magic spanners; the fifth or sixth one he tried worked. 1

Four tightened corners later,  we tested out the placement of the wooden mattress support slats, both manually and by directly lying down on them……….  EeeeEk…urrgh….EeeEK.   Oh no! We looked at each other, a big dose of inspiration was needed.  The intervention of an emergency white candle, (for if there’s a power failure) was called for.

2

Rubbing some white candle wax on the wooden bed frame and the wooden slats seems to have satisfied the needs of the wood.  In addition, the bed frame was no longer slack, we had one happy bed and I had a more restful night’s sleep…Yay!

dreaming

HUNKERING DOWN AND BATTENING THE HATCHES

Weather – what to say; it’s weather of a kind and variable to where we happen to live. I won’t bore you with details of the light coverings of snow; icy roads; heavy hail beating upon the windows leaving ice balls piling up on the sills; and then the increasingly fearsome noisy wind speeds.

Morning-Sky-Wb-2

I have not fully opened the curtains today, just drawn them a single window’s width. I thought I had better let in some of the limited rations of daylight we have, irrespective of how dour it looked.  Here, it’s a day for checking outside,  from inside, very occasionally, and definitely not being out in the weather.

P1110135-WB

We will have similar and various experiences of weather hurtled at us throughout the U.K according to the Meteorological Office,(Clodagh is the latest named storm). What a number of us will share, I think, is the way we react to the weather. I am wearing layers of clothes indoors and as night draws in again, it feels like I will need another layer or two.  At not too hard a push, a cosy blanket to hug round me while I curl up in a chair  would do very nicely thank you.  We have hunkered down and battened the hatches.

-1

Photo 3 by Slanket.

FORENSIC SCIENCE AND HUMAN IDENTIFICATION

I am doing a massive open online course, (mooc) with Dundee University in Scotland. It lasts for six weeks. When I first heard about it, ten thousand people had already signed up. Massive in name and massive in number.  I like to think I might have been number ten thousand and one.

 An event I went to at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August this year informed me about moocs and in particular, this one.  The course is called ‘Identifying The Dead: Forensic Science and Human Identification’.  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, (if you drink tea).  I  was a week late starting and have now caught up.   We are now beginning week three and I intend to stay with the time line; you won’t hear much from me while I am keeping up with it. This course has fired up the brain cells, (much needed) with new and interesting learning; a great combination!  The science of real forensic investigations is not like what we see on television programmes such as CSI, Lewis, or, Waking The Dead. It is educating me, and ten thousand others, about what the forensic science specialists actually do and how they collect and collate the provision of evidence.

At least decade ago, a director  of a forensic laboratory in Scotland, said, that if he were seeking trainee forensic scientists he would look for candidates who had studied a science subject, such as physics, or chemistry, in depth, because they would have the desired academic rigor.  The candidates can, he said, be trained in forensic investigation to accreditation standards once in situ. There were then, and are now,  many students taking forensic sciences courses, which the professor described as ‘scientifically superficial’ and which,  are unlikely to take the students into the realms of the specialised scientific forensic work that the experts are expected to perform.  From what I have learned so far with the mooc, I can understand why that may be so. 


FREE AND RARING TO GO

Yippeeee!!!  I was released from my plaster cast this week. I thought I would miss my constant companion, especially at the end of the day,  when I had got used to plonking my foot into bed with a clog fixed on it.  Curiously, I did not really feel any sense of loss.  I thought about the cast in a vague kind of way. It was a fleeting thought that wafted into a passing fog and disappeared.  I just curled up into my bed covers and slept a cosy sleep. In the morning, I awoke feeling quite refreshed and ready to ‘hirple’ *

 

*(Old Scots meaning to walk slowly and painfully or with a limp, to hobble; to move unevenly).

BURPING TO A STOP

Am I the only person who uses a mobility electric scooter in a store, which runs out of steam?  Just as I turned the corner by the stock cubes display the scooter burped to a stop.  That folks was the end of my uninhibited, independent,  browsing and shopping.  A  rather good looking, young-ish, lively store assistant with laughing eyes arrived to help.  Oh dear…. the store had two of these scooters and the other was in use. Nothing for it but to disconnect the empty battery and pull me round, he holding the front basket which was loaded, with me continuing to steer the apparatus.

Mobility_scooter_zoo

Where did I want to go to next….honestly… no… I could browse and shop….. he was there to assist, etc. etc.  I couldn’t, I  just couldn’t  take my time, weaving in and out of aisles and corners, checking on things that caught my eye while reliant on a minder, however nice he was.  Three more items I definitely wanted to find and then on to the check out.

Nobody batted an eyelid when I zoomed off up the aisles at the start of my shopping journey on the scooter.  An awful lot of people stared as the vehicle  was ignominiously pulled  into the ‘pitstop’ by its basket with me astride its seat.