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20 Jan 2008

Post number 4:more Charing Cross

.Well, here we are – Sunday morning, mid January not much else to do but continue this stream of consciousness… where was I? I believe I was somewhere in Charing Cross hospital just having had my life saved by some miracle – I then apparently contracted Pneumonia and had to have a lot of fluid pumped off my lungs ( this would almost certainly have been curtains had I not given up my disgusting 30 a day cigarette habit in July 2004, courtesy of Alan Carr’s ‘how to give up smoking’ course). So I was apparently moved from intensive care to one of high dependency wards on the 10th floor. My memory of Charing Cross is weird and patchy. I have since been back for an appointment with some specialist and I recognise nothing. The only thing I have a clear memory of is the lovely therapists who were so kind to me, Barbara the speech therapist who, together with my sister, taught me how to speak again, gorgeous Orla and lovely Claire who made physio sessions bearable, my many visitors, especially my incredible family who I’d ruined Christmas for, Natasha, without whom I’m convinced I would not have lived, several of the directors of buying from John Lewis who apparently came to see me quite soon after it happened. Also, although everyone deserves a mention, a special one goes to my great mate Tony Reid for his great skills of organisation and of raising awareness amongst my friends as to my plight. These are my better memories but as I said earlier and I’m afraid to say that my stay in each hospital was characterised by one abiding bad memory. My Charing Cross one is because Tony had organised a whip-round and very kindly got me a portable DVD player to go some way to assuaging my obvious boredom. This instantly became my most valuable possession. So, if you will, imagine my shock and despair when I saw one of the nursing assistants steal it in the most disgusting circumstances. I still remember the incident clearly…one of the male west African nursing assistants (I know this because I had overheard one of his few conversations in English with another similar nursing assistant – another bugbear of mine (the rudeness of speaking another language in front of people who obviously won’t understand when they can just as easily speak English). Anyway, when the staff nurse was off the ward he started going through my stuff, when he came to the DVD player he stopped and admired it. He looked around once and slowly closed the DVD bag. He looked up again and saw me staring right at him. He winked at me, then did’ the shush sign and finally smiled at me before making off with it. Obviously at this time I could neither speak or move. I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I have ever felt as pathetic and terrified at being so utterly vulnerable. I was to stay here till mid February. Apart from that awful recollection one of the worst things about this time was the incontinence. For a28 year old not to be able to control his bladder is at best humiliating, at worst, pathetic. In the very early days (on admission) I apparently had a catheter but they soon get rid of this because they are prone to infection and apparently it’s important that patients don’t become reliant on them, or something. So while I was at Charing Cross I was Forced to endure the ritual horror of this thing called a convene. Imagine (if you will) something a bit like a condom except with a tube attachment at the end which drains away into a bag. In theory fine but in practice a nightmare if it keeps leaking or bursting or coming off. The slightest malfunction had one horrific result. So much of my conscious time at Charing Cross was characterised by unpleasantness. I felt so humiliated.

1 comment:

SIMON said...

Hi Dom

Ignore the Facebook email! I have found this and told the JL distribution list about your blog (and you request for a live in carer)!
Hope your week is OK, and keep blogging.
Simon

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