‘The patient spent a quiet night’

hospital-ward

…..like heck he did!
I had to go into hospital unexpectedly, recently and spent the night in the receiving ward. Unfortunately, it is also probably the most noisy. Oxygen pumps, bleeping monitors, ringing phones, talking nurses, clattering heels in the corridors, coughing, snoring, and other physiological noises all contribute to a ‘background’ which makes it very difficult to get any kind of sleep or rest.

So I was glad when I was allowed to go home at teatime the next day….for a bit of peace and quiet. So I have slept on and off today.

No work for a week nor driving for a month have made life a bit of a problem, but maybe it will give me a taste of retirment! I might also get a bit more blogging done!

Singing in Hospital!

carol-singers

Last night, I joined with many others of our Church, and other Churches (in total about 40 folk), to visit a hospital at the west end of Glasgow. The event was organised by the Chaplaincy Centre, and involved dividing into groups and going round various parts of the hospital to sing carols.

You need music of course, and two other groups had a guitar, or, in one lovely case, a set of hand-bells, whilst your’s-truly brought along a keyboard for our group.

The only problem was that the keyboard did not have a stand, and was mains-powered, so at each of the locations (generally in a passageway), we had to find some flat surface to place the keyboard, a chair, and a mains-socket.

As most people realise, all of the above are in short supply in such a situation, as you can’t ACTUALLY push someone out of bed to set the keyboard down, so sometimes it was on a trolley, and sometimes on my knees! Also,  the risk of pulling-out some vital piece of life-saving equipment is always there so we had to do a lot of double-checking before getting power!

What came over to me was that there are a considerable number of people in hospital, all with their individual worries. It is something we only think about when we have to go into a hospital, or see a programme on TV.

In our general life we mostly see normal, reasonably-healthy people, and so it is easy to forget the pain, suffering, and anguish people and families are having to endure on a daily basis, and in an especially-poignant way, at this time of the year.

Does singing and music in general help in the healing process? Well, there is some evidence to show that people who sing regularly, and enjoy music, tend to have a happier disposition and a slightly-better average life. So maybe we did make a minute difference.

But it will be a long time before I will forget the look on some of those poor people. We obviously could say no more than platitudes…you sometimes just don’t know what to say.

Many of the serious cases may not make it past Christmas, but I suppose if we have raised a small smile of joy, or a glimpse of recognition of Christmasses gone past, then it will have achieved something.

It’s not a ‘man-cold’…..

….but my nose is running like a tap!…..and I have an un-requested deep husky (sexy?) voice. It may have been an allergy, or sitting in a car for a few hours with re-cycled air-conditioning (a bit like flying?).

Problem is that I am supposed to be singing with Angelus on Sunday night! Has anyone got an instant medicinal recipe (or pills) which does not involve copious amounts of alcohol? My audience awaits, but I don’t think they would like to see me swaying, or hanging-on to something, whilst my tonsils warbled uncontrollably.

What a guy!

I’m not a great TV buff, but I was intrigued with the programme last night, charting the efforts of a 16-year-old Eton boy called Alex. He suffers from Cystic fibrosis, which is normally a debilitating condition. But from somewhere, this highly-gifted lad (he is a brilliant organist) was able to carry out his ambition to conduct the College choir and orchestra.

He endured the routine of pills (over 50 a day), injections and physio with fortitude and achieved his ambition, to the acclaim of his Master, family and friends. I hope we hear more of this lad. he seemed to prove that an illness does not have to mean a disability.

Anyone who, having seen this programme, complains of a cold or a headache, should be ashamed of themselves!

The Last Post?

Not really….I hope it isn’t my last post to the blog before Christmas, but I felt I had to have my fix, before the festive season.

At work, we normally leave the last week of the work-year relatively free from non-important appointments so that we can deal with emergency patients…..and this year was not exception….we were choc-a-bloc! The rest of the staff were of course, also very busy, so we did not have much time to relax. The presence and consumption-of sweets and biscuits from grateful customers, and suppliers, did help to make this last week a bit different!

Thick fog, general dampness, filthy vehicles, packed shops with over-worked staff, cold hands, overly-decorated houses with hundreds of lights, dangerously-excessive spending in the shops are all present at this time and can be a bit depressing; on the other hand we are at the turning of the night/day ratio so daylight will get a bit longer, there is a brightness in children’s eyes, a willingness to give to Charities not always seen at other times of the year, and a chance to stop and look back over the past year.

2007 is a year for us (as no doubt for many others) which has caused much anguish with our move to another Church, the health problems of both Son and Daughter, financial instability within our profession, being amonst the bigger worries, ……and yet,….. and yet, we are all still here, we are still a strong family and things do look to be getting better.

So as we pause at the Nine Lessons and Carols  on Sunday afternoon, and the Midnight Service on Monday evening, we all have a chance to reflect on what we have done and what we have not done, to make someone’s life a little brighter or more hopeful.

May the Season make you alla little happier.

It might well be a Happier Christmas!

Glad to report that the pains which Son has had to suffer appear to be abating, or are more controlled….still don’t know which. One of the medications has the associated problem of affecting the joints of the hand, and this is now certainly evident. However he has been feeling some relief, and has had a go at a short bit of driving…..so important to the male of the species….with no obvious immediate side effect.

The Young Lady of the House, and I had planned long ago to see in the New Year in Cyprus and had been having to re-consider. However with the help of Daughter (who is a very good organiser) and our next door neighbours (who have offered meals), this should make the break possible. 

We will be at the Midnight Service at the Cathedral on 24th, have our Christmas Day meal, care of Daughter (no dishes to wash!), and head off for Paphos in the early hours of 26th, leaving the house to Son. The freezer will be filled for the time we will be away, so he won’t starve!

If I am not blogging before Christmas, can I wish everyone a Happy and Blessed season.

Buono Natale

Good news for a change!

A visit tonight to see the Consultant at Ross Hall, about Son’s problems with his hands. It was one of those meetings which you dread, not knowing if the news will be good or bad. It turned-out to be like the curate’s egg…good and bad.

The prognosis seemed to be that it was not Wartenberg’s Neuritis, but some other form, of unknown origin. It also seems to suggest that it will ‘ burn itself out’, but no time scale was mentioned or offered.

But the pains will still continue for some time, and the number of pills will increase to try to control the pain which is incessant (except when sleeping).

So all is not yet right, he is still desperate to get back to work, and feel that he is again contributing to the business.

 …..however, there is an end, if not in sight, then at least just santaover the horizon. Maybe this year, Santa will be kind after all!

So thanks to all those lovely people who have passed-on their good wishes, their prayers, and, in some cases, their experience…we will keep you informed.

Disability….and inner strength

For over 30 years my professional life has been involved with those who have a disability.

Most of this time has been exclusively helping those with a hearing impairment, assessing hearing loss and providing hearing aids and other equipment to make their life a little easier.

It started when I realised that my father-in-law was not doing terribly well with his hearing aid, and I hope that I was ultimately able to help.

Much later, the Young Lady of the House had problems with one eye, and still has effected sight. Daughter, who did a lot of walking at her job, then had knee problems, ending with two operations.

We have other friends who have suffered with constant pain for many years.

We can also look at those folk who recently escaped from the sinking cruise ship, the soldiers coming back from war theatres, those who are struggling during their suffering from malnutrition and disease in the Third World. All of those show in varying ways a surprising strength. I would not wish to be involved in any of these situations, to see how I would handle myself.

Now with Son’s continuing problems, I am convinced that the human animal constantly surprises me with how well it can handle discomfort, disability, and physical pain, sometimes with great humour.

Now if we could only bottle this inner strength!!  Maybe you know the answer……

Son’s continuing problem….

Son had to give a lot of blood to the medics on Tuesday so that they could carry-out a number of tests to try to establish the cause of the agonising pains in his hands. Unfortunately they will take about two weeks to produce results.

The Nerve Conduction Tests had to be put off when we arrived at the Hospital, which made him rather disappointed (to say the least!). Following an overnight stay at Ross Hall, it was re-scheduled for next day at another Hospital. It proved to be extremely painful to undergo, and seemed to worsen the situation.

Heavier medication has made him very drowsy, and he often gets mixed up with the day and time. To see someone who is normally very active and pushes life to the edge, so deplete of energy, is not pleasant.

When he gets through this, I think that a trip to the dentist will hold no terrors.

Hands, Knees and….what next?

Daughter has recently (Thursday) been in for a second operation on her knee, which has been causing pain for some years now, and hopefully, this will resolve the problems of the last job which was botched.

It was in the same hospital as Son has been attending, and we hope that on follow-up visits they don’t get the files mixed-up!