Saying Thank-You

The motto of Guy’s Hospital near London Bridge is Dare Quam Accipere – It is Better to Give than to Receive. At a future date I might get around to explaining how Guy’s, and that motto, came about, but right now I want to talk about how, the other day, I had the chance to put the motto into sort of practice at another hospital in the trust – St Thomas’.

I was discharged from Tommy’s a while back. It started with my broken wrist, and the wonderful folk in A&E;  post surgery, I met the equally wonderful team at the fracture clinic; when they were done with me, I moved on to hand therapy.

My wrist continues to improve, though the cold weather, as the physiotherapist warned me, has brought new aches. Still, it’s an amazing outcome when you look at my x-rays.

So I wrote cards and bought fancy biscuits and headed back to the hospital. At A&E, I was hardly through the door before someone looked up and asked if they could help me. When I explained my mission and handed over card and biscuits, her stunned expression told me how rarely patients make that return journey to this department to thank the staff for their care at a critical moment.

It was a similar story in the fracture clinic. Hand therapy seemed more familiar with the idea, which made me reflect on how that was the only department of the three where I had an idea of when I would be discharged.

I left and walked onto Westminster Bridge filled with a warm fuzzy glow. On the bridge, I met these folk:


I’m an Amnesty supporter and have tweeted about this case before. If you want to know more, just check out @DrAlRoken or click here. He, and so many prisoners of conscience, are given hope, and sometimes their freedom, by non-political, non-aligned organisations such as AI. AI has taken up his case and is campaigning on his behalf.

So many have AI to thank for the restoration of their human rights, and I take my hat off to those like Dr al-Roken who have stood up for these rights in countries where such a stance is seen as subversive.

There always used to be an AI candle – the flame in barbed wire – in Westminster Abbey, and beside it details of a prisoner or group of prisoners of conscience the Abbey was remembering particularly in that week’s prayers.

Suddenly the candle and the details disappeared. I enquired, and was told that a new member of the clergy, presumably quite high up the chain, had judged the candle ‘inappropriate’. What a bizarre stance for a church to take; to decide that people imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs should not be remembered in prayers in a place of worship where the central figure of that religion is an outsider who espoused the poor and the dispossessed.

I shan’t be taking a card and biscuits to whoever made that decision.


12 thoughts on “Saying Thank-You

  1. Wow, how bazaar. AI isn’t political, and I have always interpreted the Biblical message to pray and visit those in prison, to especially mean those who were imprisoned more for political reasons than for crimes against society. I just received the Ginger Ninja calender and smiled as I peaked at all the months. 🙂 Thank you so much.

    • It is odd,isn’t it?

      I hope it is restored. I am quite uncomfortable about its removal and what it says about the abbey clergy’s attitudes.

      So glad the calendar has arrived safely. Have you worked out PayPal yet?

  2. how delightful that you made the return visit! you certainly made their day.
    i was sorry to learn the candle had been removed. 😦 bless that person, whoever they are, who made that decision.
    there is a bit of a story to blessings that person despite that poor decision.
    i once gave a ride to two men, one of whom was a police chaplain. he still is, but that’s besides the point. anyhow, while driving along the road, another driver changed lanes right in front of me, almost cutting me off. and just as i was spluttering and getting all nicely annoyed, the chaplain, sitting calmly beside me, said, ‘bless him!’ and i must say i was rather taken aback. but it actually made sense as i thought about it – that rude driver probably did need a lot of blessings.
    and since then, when somebody does something annoying or rude, i intentionally bless them even though my initial reaction might be more like wanting to shake some sense into them, or to give them a piece of my mind.
    this is much better for my own peace of mind, and it changes my attitude from one of being annoyed to one of compassion. that’s much better for my health and it certainly doesn’t hurt the other person to be blessed – and in fact, it can only do them good, too. so it’s a win-win situation.
    in fact it was a very liberating thing to discover that even if someone is rude, lacking in compassion, difficult or unkind, that i still have the option of being kind towards them. i shared this story with a number of people at work, and some of them are now intentionally blessing people too.
    so blessings to that person who made the decision to remove the AI candle. maybe she or he will find a nice position elsewhere, and be replaced by someone who is compassionate towards those who are suffering and in prison because of reasons of conscience. or may they be transformed into just such a person themselves. just a thought 🙂

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