My Accident

Eleven days today since my accident.  So many events have been crammed into this period, It seems longer.  Speaking to my GP over the phone yesterday, she said that various follow-up tests should be done when I am ready, especially a bone density scan so we can find out why it happened.  “I can tell you why it happened: I fell from a height…..mine, onto the unforgiving flagstones we use for pavements“.  She’s got a good sense of humour and giggled, then gave me more explanation.

I have several fractures of my pelvis. I was admitted to the hospital ward about fourteen hours after it happened, most of that time in the Accident and Emergency Department.

I cannot get over the complete strangers who so very kindly came to help me, some of whom stayed with me more than an hour.  There was one lady who was prepared to even accompany me to the hospital in an ambulance, if hubs had not arrived in time. She chivvied up the ambulance service several times and two hours after the accident, when the ambulance did arrive, she gave invaluable information to the paramedics.




Understand, that I am truly grateful for the health service’ existence. I have never begrudged the National Health Contribution,( additional taxation) I believed I paid towards the service during my years of working life. It turns out though, it was a massive ponsy scheme that was allowed by successive governments and over decades. The National Insurance my generation paid was used for previous spends and not as future National Insurance.  Payment was deducted direct from earnings, before we received our wages, which payment, we were told, was for our generation.

I have been disturbed for a some years by the standards that vital services, including the health and safety of the nation, are being manipulated to descend to.  How do you succinctly describe what I have just been told, first hand. Sadly, similar stories are happening throughout the UK, this country that has some great professionals fighting a rear guard action working in an impossibly contracting National Health Service.

A lively 86 year old widow, living alone, was shipped by ambulance as an emergency to the main hospital, 120 miles along difficult roads. It’s a journey of about three hours minimum, if there are no travel problems en route. The widow had been unable to move and was in extreme pain. Paramedics called the doctor after one and a half hours of working with the lady at her home. Her domestic circumstances were passed on to hospital staff by the paramedical escort and the referring doctor.

A week later the widow was asking Occupational Therapy staff, (OTS) about going home. They had been waiting on news about the installation of support equipment outside and inside her home, they said, including an extra handrail up a steep staircase   The job had been completed two days before. No communication there then.

Next day she was told by OTS: You’re going at 11am…. Going where? She asked. ……Going home. …..How? All I’ve got is my nightie,slippers and dressing gown that I came in.  Can anyone bring clothes in for you? ……Ring Australia and see if the relatives, (her next of kin) there can help, she replied. It raised a laugh. Can you sit on a chair asked OTS? …I think so. …Right, that’s what we’ll do, we’ll get you a chair and, we’ll make sure there is someone to settle you in at home.  Luckily, another patient was being taken home by ambulance, so, the two shared the transport part of the way and the poor driver had  an unexpected very long return journey.

There was no-one to settle the widow into a very cold house. (No-one had been contacted ). Her hospital bag of requirements was dropped off in the middle of her sitting room and she was left to her own devices.



It arrived! The waited for the surgical consultation appointment. The patient arrived at the allocated time and was seen on time.

She entered the room and following brief introductions, the patient sat down. The consultant leaned in towards her face, asking rhetorically;

Him-“You have something wrong with your eyebrow?”

The patient involuntarily moved her head back…puzzled.

The consultant repeated, this time authoritatively, “You have a problem with your eyebrow“.

Her- “No“, the patient said, equally as authoritatively,I do not“.

Him -“Yes you do“.

Her- “No, I do not have a problem with my eyebrow“.

The two people looked warily at each other for a moment. The patient then rolled up the sleeve of her right arm.  “I have a problem with my elbow“.

The consultant slumped back in his seat, momentarily, confused. He then studied the exposed arm and asked some relevant questions about what he saw.

Him -“Would you please show me your other arm“, he requested. He then compared the two elbows agreeing there was a difference. He sifted through the file of papers in front of him. “Why were you referred to me?”

Her -“Excuse me, but what is your specialty?”

Him- “I am a skin and bowel surgeon

Her- “Not Orthopaedic!








The medical practice has uploaded an all-singing and all-dancing website to replace the relatively intuitive simpler one that previously existed for ordering acute and repeat prescriptions and updating the patients with relevant news.

Problem 1. Unless you register with lots of identification, physically handing in all that is necessary to the receptionist at the practice, you don’t receive the emailed registration codes for the practice’s new website.

Problem 2. Any previous registrations are defunct. However, the magic ‘No Reply’ email sent to patients has an optical name (!) that bears no resemblance to its purpose, it looks dubious, and it does not identify its source nor its purpose.  Quite a lot of patients are not receiving the email. Some people may be deleting it as spam.

Problem 3.  A lot of patients are experiencing problems. For example, If you have the emailed codes and are able to access the website personal profile set-up, there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed and move on to ‘go’.


P1030192 2010 July 30 Octo visit



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.


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 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


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!




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.


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.


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!



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.


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.


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.


Photo 3 by Slanket.