I attended my daughters’ Parents evening, where I met her French Teacher, a native of that country whose broken English and lovely accent  was charming.

Why is it then ,that when I call a help centre or advice line and I hear an asian accent does my heart sink?

I had to phone my bank because someone “borrowed” £300 from my account. Actually it was fraud, and they apparently paid their loan with it, according to the company involved. The bank refunded my money and said that they would send me the relevant paperwork to sign. I waited a week but nothing arrived.

Worried that it had arrived while we were away and had got lost, I phoned. The woman who dealt with me was almost unintelligible. She couldn’t understand what I needed and could not explain the banks policy.Despite my best efforts all I could get from her was that no one had confirmed that I hadn’t used the money myself. So I gave up, as I think she said that they would be in touch.

I understand that people need employment , but who interviews them for these posts? Do they speak English themselves? Don’t companies realise that to solve situations communication is necessary in a language both parties understand? A course should be provided to all for whom English is not their first language.

It must be my age, but lately I have the urge to write feisty letters people who in my opinion offer a substandard service.

When I was at school, the older female teachers often turned red and fanned themselves, and at times acted rather illogically. My friends whispered “the change”. I had no idea what this was, were they morphing into something or was it to do with dinner money. I had enough hormonal changes to cope with at the time without worrying about theirs.

Now I understand,why women of a certain age suddenly believe that they can put the world to rights. Jenny Eclair, a stand up comedienne , warns shop assistants and the like, never to cross swords with a menopausal woman! Too right!

But don’t you men sit there and smirk, you get just as grumpy as you become follically challenged on top and hair starts sprouting in your ears. You too remember “how things used to be” and think you know a better  way  to  run the country.

One good thing about my letter writing is that after complaining about my operation I have been invited to join The Patient Panel at the Hospital in which I was treated. So maybe i can improve the experience for others.

Gosh, must open a window it’s getting hot in here!

Observations in the City

Back from Edinburgh . A good few days spent in the capital. It was rather like being on an alien planet.

This morning, I sit here at the Rev.’s desk in Argyll,and occasionally a car goes past. I see John the shepherd check the sheep and make a few repairs to the wire pen ,ready for lambing, which by the girth of some of the woolly ladies must come soon. It is snowing gently and the dogs are snoring at my feet. The Rev.  has left to go to his swimming master class. All is tranquil and calm.

I got up on Tuesday morning and made my self a coffee, our first morning in the City, the Rev., of course, was running along the Water of Leith. I sauntered over to the huge windows of our first floor apartment and looked out into the street. Down below on the pavement hundreds of little people scurried down the road at a half run , laden with rucksacks, briefcases and bags. Some were obviously breakfasting on the hoof, and held large baguettes which they bit into as they hurried along. Double decker buses rattled to a halt at the various stops in the street and more people disgorged and joined the throng.

As I stood there almost level with the top of the bus, one rumbled past with a packed top deck, each person holding a newspaper and their heads bent forwards as they read. It looked as if a strong wind had blown through the vehicle and pushed them all forwards.

After about 9 am, everything seemed to settle down. People across the road did their housework, walked dogs and went shopping. It all began again about 5 ish in the afternoon. It’s easy to forget ,when you live in a rural location, that there is a great big world out there, where people live at breakneck speed, cramming their days full of things which keep us all ticking over. We want someone at the bank, the insurance offices. We want to be able to speak to someone in various call centres about technology. We want to shop at a time that suits us, go to the theatre,cinema, restaurant. So someone is employed to cover our needs. (And of course make money for their employer and earn a wage.)


Us “hillbillies” have the luxury to live life at a pace that suits us. And it is a luxury which I thank God for. I have done my share of “ratracing” in years gone by.  Today I am praying for all those stressed folk. May the peace of God which passes all understanding be theirs and may they have a chance to speak with Him today.

Home hairdressing!

As the dogs are going to kennels over the next few days I decided that our smelly terrier needed a haircut and a bath. My eldest son usually does this, but since he married an d moved further away, he is not often available.

I have watched him do it on numerous occasions, so I thought, may as well do it myself. I have these moments when I get a bit over-confident, sometimes things work out, sometimes not.

I haven’t been to a hairdresser since 1994. I sat in the chair watching a young girl chop away, and thought I CAN DO THAT! So I taught my self to layer and shape. No one has ever said to me ,”Your hair looks a mess.” So I take it that I look OK.

Therefore what damage could I do to an elderly border terrier who refuses to allow anyone to handstrip him, as borders usually are.

So as the Rev. is conducting a wedding today and attending the reception. If anyone offers him food, he always goes! Not really, they are friends of his. Anyway, I got his hair clippers out, stood the dog on newspaper and we were away. I did the back, most of his tummy and tried to trim his spindly legs, this was when he got bored. He also began to get a bit nippy.

I couldn’t stop because he looked like the dog on Specsavers ,you know the one, the shepherd shears his dog thinking it’s a sheep. His body was pretty sleek but his neck and face were still bushy. For a couple of weeks his “eyebrows” have blocked his vision, So he wriggled and I lunged and the result is a fetching bald patch above his left eye. He got most disgruntled and shot off. That ended my dog grooming.

I plonked him in the bath, he hates water but allowed a shampoo, we then did a blow dry with the hair dryer and poor Monty looks as if the rats got him!

I ‘m not sure what the kennel lady will say, she’s a bit snooty when our three roll up grubby. I think they do grooming there,but I’m not about to pay for the dog to get his hair cut when I don’t.

A nice lady is coming later to look at the hens and is going to see to their needs while we take our break. Murphy has a dodgy leg, but as she looks healthy otherwise, and I can’t find any injury, we are letting things take their course, it will either improve or if not we may have to be tough.

Of our two remaining children ( we haven’t culled the others!) ,left at home, the eldest would not be seen to be on holiday with us ,so is hopefully going to older son, where I hope he will get a haircut too, as he is beginning to resemble an Ouessant sheep.

So with everyone accounted for, and plans made with military precision, we will hopefully get a break.


Jung, belief,faith,knowing.

Thank you to everyone who has commented on the last post. I have sent a letter to the complaints dept. with bullet points Jo, and in medical speak Gerry. I have asked for an acknowledgement of receipt and evidence that all those involved have read my suggestions to improve the experience for others. I have also requested that another Doctor does the repeat performance.I was very aware of God’s presence throughout and maybe my time there was not for my benefit.

I heard a programme on Radio 4, a few weeks ago. An elderly presenter was being interviewed about famous people ,he had interviewed himself. One of his guests had been Carl Jung, a Swiss psychotherapist and psychiatrist. He had asked him ,did he believe in God?. Carl Jung answered ” That is difficult to answer, I know.”

There are differences between belief,faith and knowing. I believe that in France people eat frogs legs. I have not been there but I base my belief on what I read or see on T.V, other people believe it too, or not, that is their choice.

I have faith in Jesus, I cannot see him, but I choose not to doubt, but have confidence in his being alive. Others share this with me. I also believe in love, I cannot see this either.

I know Jesus.I feel him.  This is different, knowledge that he exists and being in a relationship with him comes from the small personal things. The fleeting moments when you actually encounter him. A voice in your head,  a scripture verse that jumps out and hits you between the eyes, answers to prayer, sometimes through others. Those special moments in prayer when his presence is tangible. This is when I know him. Others cannot share this, only encounter him for themselves.

In our hard times Jesus is there, he spent a night in Gethsemene, struggling with fear and trepidation, knowing what was to come.We will not have to face that, and the things we do face will never be too much for us to handle.

Maybe this is what Carl Jung meant when he said “I know”.




Each morning I wake up, I try to stop my mind going back over the events that occurred at the hospital,three days ago. I am writing this because it is therapeutic for me to write down what happened and if anyone feels that they have advice to give ,please do.

I was very apprehensive about going for my op. I read the booklet that the hospital sent with all it’s scary complications, which they “are obliged to tell you”.

The Rev. had booked us a room in the Hotel next door. This was apparently a state of the art hospital, built for the private care of Arabs, with an hotel attached for their families. It was never opened as such and now belongs to the NHS. Due to my growing apprehension and the proximity of the hospital, we decided to go to the cinema. Les Miserables was amazing and passed the time.

Next morning with a slight tremble of the legs I arrived at the ward at 7.30 a.m as directed.I settled into my plastic covered reclining chair and felt quite peaceful. The nurse who booked me in was very kind, when she saw that I was a Revs. wife, told me about her church. She got me ready for my theatre visit, and told me that I was the first on the list as the other person hadn’t arrived. This was a relief as I wouldn’t have to wait long. That person did arrive and I sat in my chair for another 5 hours.

Before “the list” started a young woman bounced into the room, she introduced herself as the Registar. She was carrying a very large handbag that was open with a chain on the handle. I remember it because she kept moving it around. She was very confident about her own abilities, and informed me that she would be carrying out the procedure. She gave the impression that she did this kind of thing all the time, and the consultant was in the room but because the procedure was long ,he often went for a cup of tea.

Now, I should know better. In my long nursing career, registrars have caused me more grief than any humble houseman or the most self-important consultant. They are the “teenagers” of the medical hierarchy. Not quite the grown up ,but they think that they know everything. Anyway, she explained all the complications that could arise again, and reassured me that they only occur in 1-2% of cases.

About 12.30, she bounced in again and said that they were getting set up for me. She asked me how I was feeling and I said that I wasn’t worried as I was in her hands, She patted me on the shoulder and said that was the way to look at it.

A nurse ushered me into a darkened room, I counted about 8 people in a very small room, most of the space taken up by a large trolley. I recognised 2 nurses over by the wall, one being the lovely girl who had admitted me. About 4 of people were in a glass fronted “cupboard” in the corner. I noticed that it had a door that opened onto the corridor. I could see people walking past, but I hoped that thy couldn’t see me. Thankfully someone eventually closed the door.

The operating table was so narrow that arm rests hd to be attached so that I could put my arms by my sides. I would be grateful for these later. In the corner leaning against the wall was a smiley man in “scrubs”, I took him to be the consultant, although we were never introduced.

There was no time for modesty or dignity. stickers for ECG leads were firmly stuck all over me, and a freezing radiology patch slapped on my back which had just been baking in my plastic chair. I can’t remember what I said, but I hope it wasn’t too strong! A sterile drape was stuck to my leg, but repositioned twice.Local anaesthetic was injected into the top of my leg so that plastic sheaths could be inserted into a vein. There is no way on God’s earth that a “local” numbs the area sufficiently! I have watched films about spies being tortured,and at this moment I would have told anyone anything and given away secret information or confessed to any sin you like. I hung on to the arm rests with the grip of iron!

I was given some sedation into my arm. Now, sedation is NOT analgesia,(pain relief) it just befuddles your brain and makes communicating your discomfort with others difficult.

If I had to take a patient for a procedure, to look into their stomachs, bowels and other internal bits with cameras, I always stood by their head, or held a hand, so that I could observe them and communicate their needs to the Doctor and vice versa. The nurses on the other side of this room seemed far away.

Once the tubes were in, Doctor Large Handbag started putting in the catheter wires, from where I was it looked as if she was shovelling them into my body, as if she was unblocking a drain. She called for wires by letter such as RV SR or whatever,. By the Fourth I had an excruciating pain in my back, I groaned, “Ooops, sorry “, she said ” that was me!”. I KNEW it was. By number 5, my chest felt as if someone had put a block in it and was squeezing it from the outside. I waved weakly and groaned some more. “I have very bad chest pain “I heard myself say. “Well, you shouldn’t” said Dr. Large Handbag. I knew that too. “Hasn’t she had Morphine?” she shouted at a Nurse. Now they remember the analgesia!

The smiley man in scrubs came out of his corner and asked on a scale of 1-10 how bad the pain was. “9!” I replied. At this point the Radiologist is out of his cupboard and doing a scan. This entailed pushing a mushroom shaped probe under my sternum and ribcage. My body was now wired for pain and all my nerve endings were up and shouting ouch!

I was very grateful to Mr Radiology though, because he recognised the problem at once, although Dr. Large Handbag took some convincing, and I was scanned a second time. Dr. L.H. had stuck the catheter through the wall of my heart. So Smiley Scrub man, Mr Radiology and Dr. L.H. went off for a bit of a conference. Thankfully the Morphine kicked in , and despite my head spinning like top, the pain subsided.

Large Handbag came back. “So sorry she said, WE, will have to abandon the procedure here. It would be different if we were trying to save your life but this is elective surgery.” ” It would be dangerous to continue but you must be disappointed.”

Firstly, it was beginning to sound as if it was my fault for electing to have the surgery, and I  wasn’t sure who “WE” were.

Disappointed???, ME? You bet your bottom dollar Madam! The Rev. had to get cover for 2 parishes, my son left his wife and baby to travel 150 miles to look after his younger brother and sister and we had to book an hotel room  to be at a hospital 90 miles away for an appointment at 7.30 am which turned out to be in the afternoon!

Thankfully my bleeding heart was not bad enough to need a drain, and the wires and tubes were removed  with a fair amount of bleeding from my leg which now boasts an enormous colourful bruise and four holes. I was transferred to a ward where a chirpy male nurse gave me some water and told me to lie flat for an hour.

I was gradually put into a sitting position, and monitored. My guardian went off to supper, and my blood pressure plummeted. I always watch the monitor to pass the time. No one was about so I waved at the nurses station feeling a bit dizzy and sick. Someone came and looked at the screen and tipped the bed up . I felt much better. A houseman did another quick scan and announced that I could go home! We decided to stay in the Hotel for safety’s sake.

As I had not been out of bed at all, the Rev, walked me around the corridor to make sure that I could stand. My leg throbbed a bit but I was OK. We asked if we could have some paracetamol to take with us. No, was the answer I had  some earlier and they would have to get the doctor back. The Rev, was told to go to ASDA and get some.

We slowly made our way back to the Hotel, and I slept like a log despite my leg. Must have been the Morphine and sedation I suppose. We left for home mid morning but had to go to our local hospital to get bloods done.

This morning a letter came through the door from the Hospital, I am back on the list to be seen in 3 months. What do I do, can I go through it again, can I find a different team of Cardiologists. I will write a letter to Patients Opinion in the hope that things improve for others.  And, what of my prayer cover? I am still alive, they didn’t do me lasting damage, so I thank you all , your prayers were necessary. I pray God will direct me further in this.Golden Jubilee Hospital