The times are a-changing. We’re trying to replace some negative habits - like jumping when the phone rings; worrying excessively about whether the mobiles are charged, or expecting the car, when we get into it, to charge off automatically down the M4 west - with positive ones. Such as talking to each other, cutting down on nightmares and eating our words about the NHS.
Especially eating our words. I’ve blogged on about our National Health Service in the past: now I don’t quite know what to say. Yes, I’ve had my problems with the NHS, and still have them. (Six weeks ago my doc referred me to a cardiologist: when I rang to see if anything was happening I was told ‘They’re very busy’.)
But this last month I’ve looked on in wonder as the most caring, tireless, professional group of people I have ever seen did everything humanly possible to comfort my step-son in his last days. Living alongside them 24 hours a day, my respect for these wonderful women has grown into something like awe. (What’s embarrassing was that they kept saying what a wonderfully supportive family we were!)
When you think how many other patients they, and his tireless GP, Meg, must have in their care, it seems incredible that those who were not working turned up at his funeral – including one who was on holiday. Here is part of the message they wrote in the Condolence Book*:
‘His extraordinary courage and will has left a legacy on the ward that has helped us all…’ Thank you, Meg and the girls of Highclere: Sarah, Vanessa, Mel, Mal, Sonja, Sue, Rita and daughter Debbie, Denise, Diane, Claire and so many others. You are a credit to your profession.
Our first thought, when the long battle was over, was that we had lost it. In one way, of course, we did, but in another we won: a little over year ago, when things looked bleak and a consultant at another hospital, (whom Rob called ‘Dr. Death’), was using words like ‘euthanasia’ in sentences that began something like ‘Of course I’m not suggesting…’, we agreed that if we were still together at the end of it all, we would probably stay together. We were and we will.
* - (Another message in the book was ‘never saw you travel so slowly in a car’.)