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!

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OUR BED

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

 

STANDING WHERE THE WIND DOES NOT BLOW

This morning I did the ironing.  Before that, I fought the gale force gusts and pinned laundry on the rotary drying line.  I learned my lesson a long time ago, don’t go chasing the whirly line, grab it and bring it back to me…where I am standing, not quite where the wind doesn’t blow, though in a better place from which to pin up the washed garments.  

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The first load did quite well, it is now folded and waiting to be ironed. The second load got pulled in when it looked like serious rain was descending. It soon passed so…………out I went and pinned  up that load again on the rotary drying line.  It’s getting dark, time for  finally rescuing the laundry.

I’ve also been making up parcels this afternoon. February through to early March is a busy time for family birthdays.  I admit it, I am glad the job is done and dusted.   Making up all the birthday parcels in one go is a bit of a marathon; there’s a lot to be said for my habitual pattern of spacing out the task.

The reason for getting all these jobs done, is, I am trying to cover in advance as many tasks as I can, as I am expecting to be a lot less mobile than usual after the end of this week, jut for a short while.  I will be under orders to put my feet up and rest for the first two or three weeks.

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With that in mind, I have checked out the laptop computer, which, has not had a great deal of use for a while. It’s now updated and firing on all cylinders. I do prefer a tapping keyboard rather than a digital touch one  on the  tablet computers. The digital touch screen keyboards do not work well at fast typing speeds.  No amount of auto correction sorts out the gaps and gobbledygook that regularly appears.

I’ve got some books waiting to be read; there are a couple of films on DVD I have not yet watched and horror of horrors, I could even get into the habit of watching daytime T.V.  I wonder if that’s enough to keep me glued to a chair. A bit of wriggling about should keep numb bum at bay for some of the time  The doctor said that there is about six weeks recuperative time after the job is done, then, I should be able to stand on my own two feet.

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LIVING IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD

A few months ago I stopped to chat in  town with a neighbour. Our houses are only over the road from each other, but hey! The shopping street seems to be the place to meet and chat. We chewed the cud over many things, including how much fun it was to look after her very young grandson a couple of days a week. Though a young grandmother, it was why she had decided to retire.

We got to talking about a news item about a woman  being treated for cancer so as to live, not be treated to die. My neighbour’s very firm and candid view was that there was no difference between the two, they both meant the same in the end. Something in the tone of her voice and the expression on her face decided a change of subject.

We heard this morning that our neighbour had died. We were told it was cancer. We did not know.