Ten a Day? No Problem!

On this side of the pond a week or so ago there was a fair amount in the news about something other than Brexit or Donald Trump. Wow what a relief. Let’s forget for a moment that Article 50, something of which I was blissfully ignorant this tinme twelve months ago, could be triggered this week, with David Davies, a politician I trust marginally more than Donald Trump, though it’s a fine line, arguing that MPs should put their trust in Mrs May and let her negotiate without caveat, let, or hindrance from Parliament.

Let’s forget that this country’s (by which I mean the UK, the whole damn fine divided lot of it) finest achievement, the National Health Service, is being brought to its tender knees by cynical bastards who make its work impossible and then denounce it as failing. Let’s forget that this monumental, pioneering institution that has radically improved the health of people lucky enough to live in the UK was created at a time that made our current period of austerity seem laughably luxurious and tell people we, one of the richest countries on planet earth, cannot afford to uphold and defend the NHS’ principles, but we can afford to pay millions to leave the EU, our most important trading partner.

Governments, at least those here in the UK, speak with forked tongues. They don’t want us to smoke, but raise huge revenues on taxes on tobacco. A packet of twenty cigarettes here costs a staggering £10. They want us to be frugal, to be financially responsible, but the economy is driven by consumer spending. They want us to be healthy, to make sensible decisions about our food, yet encourage farmers to cut corners in animal husbandry, be market led, use pesticides and goodness only knows what.

Previously we were encouraged to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. That’s now been doubled. From the reaction in even serious papers like The Guardian, you’d think this was a totally outrageous, ridiculous idea. This is a fairly typical example. OMG, do I have to deny myself Diet Coke, crap food that makes me fat and is full of additives, chips, sugary cereals, and eat green vegetables? Nobody wants to do that.

Well, actually, yes, some of us do. That article left me feeling alienated; adrift even. I grew up in the UK and I love vegetables. I have always loved vegetables. I did not have to be force fed spinach/cabbage/cauliflower, they are delicious. My sister and I used to fight over the cauliflower stalk – sweet and satisfyingly crunchy, we would hover by my mother as she prepared meals waiting for the moment to pounce. My cucumber habit as a child was so strong I had to buy my own so that family would not have a cucumberless salad. I spent pocket money on mushrooms, on lettuce plants, on strawberries, peaches and apricots. Continue reading


All Change: What the Well-Dressed Arm is Wearing for April

I’ll spare you the goriest photo featuring stitches and bruises. I sent it to Octavia, but she a) is a doctor, and b) while I was still digesting my breakfast, sent me a photo of dead rat her cat had caught .

Once again the NHS did its stuff beautifully. I arrived at the fracture clinic and was despatched almost immediately to x-ray. Then a short wait and I saw the consultant, this time in shirt and tie and minus his blue scrubs. He was smiling. In moments he removed the smelly old plaster, and my new lizard skin was revealed. Though I suppose that should be old lizard skin. Suddenly the dinosaurs seem like near relatives. He showed me the x-rays; a sort of t-bar plate with lots of screws sticking out of it so it made me think of a broom. Everything seems to be healing nicely. He wouldn’t be drawn on whether I shall have a lump on my wrist or what degree of moevement I can hope to achieve in the future. But I am not a trained journalist for nothing. I asked a different question. Pushed, he said we could hope for 80-90% of my previous rotational skills.

Back to the waiting room where a small child looked worriedly at my exposed arm. There was a list of things to be done.

The Checklist

The Checklist

I had just about got my phone out when I was called to the plaster room. Ruth, the staff nurse who attended to me, is the daughter of a seamstress. It showed. I shouldn’t be surprised to see her fronting her own craft show on tv one of these days.



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A Day and a Night in Hospital

If I was going to have an accident, breaking my wrist yards from the A&E entrance of Tommy’s was about the best location for it to happen.
Although it would have been nice to have my op straightaway, it was also nice to go home, and I was told that as it wasn’t a clean break, the team would want to discuss who was best to do it. Of course I wanted the best. Who wouldn’t? But by half past nine yesterday morning, with no word from the hospital and my blood sugars sinking rapidly, I was becoming wobbly and weepy. Just before ten, to distract myself, I went onto the landing with some recycling. Naturally I missed the call. While I listened to the message, my mobile rang, but by the time I reached it, it had stopped. The message left bothered me. It implied the caller thought I had been ‘phoned already and might be in the hospital, but if not, to call and speak to the on call surgeon. If anyone from Tommy’s reads this, please note that it would have been helpful to leave a direct number to call back, as my stress levels rose trying to reach the right person and being put on hold several times.

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