24 Hours in A&E

So I’m not entirely sure which episode we watched I just thought I’d share.

I thought the doctor they followed at Kings was rather wise for his years, how he spoke about death and such, a lot to mull over.

I haven’t blogged in awhile due to exams. I’ll do another in the next few days about my volunteering at the hospice.

When the sixteen year old girl was brought in having been crushed by her horse and the fence I didn’t think she’d have much, if any luck. As all the scans came back negative I started to think she might be alright. That maybe she’s just confused about the situation and doesn’t really have this lack of feeling down the left side of her body. And then you see the parents, how strong they were; casually talking about their daughters risk of paralysis. It was just incredible, their bravery was just immense. The only sign was in their eyes.

So yeah, slightly sombre way to end the evening, recapping this and the emotions it brings.

Will be updating more often now

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Hospice Week 6 and 7

Last week was hectic, 13 patients oposed to the usual 4!

Rushed off my feet, which was good, as I managed to have a much larger proportion of my evening as patient interaction.

Again this week there was 11, so still busy. I helped a lot more with the patients, getting them into bed, having  a chat with them, I spoke to the woman with motor neurone disease again. She showed me all her photos, her family had brought in her laptop so she was playing games and suchlike on it. Which seems like a better waste of time than watching daytime TV I have to say. She was better and worse, worse as her voice is becoming more and more raspy– no she didn’t need a drink. She can only just swallow now and even that is really tough, tougher than before. Her morale was better though, she was going through her photos on her laptop, that seemed to cheer her up. I have to say she had a pretty amazing grasp of the laptop, knew how to use publisher etc beyond the norm. My grandparents have difficulty turning the machine on.

There is a male patient, admitted in the last few weeks that is hilarious. He acts as though he is intoxicated….all the time. It must drive the nurses mad though. He has a arm that is completely unresponsive and so he has to use the other for everything. He doesn’t like to wear pants and isn’t bothered about displaying himself to any one walking past the room. Saying that, he’s not all there, he does get confused and he’s another patient that it’s frustrating not knowing the name of his condition or why he’s there.

As I arrived for this weeks shift they were cornering off the corridor to transport a body out. Really homes in on the purpose of the hospice. It is possible to forget sometimes, it seems almost  like a retirement home that provides medical help. Then the reality hits you again as you see another empty room where someone you laughed with use to be.

Luckily today I had not met the person that passed away and whose body was being removed. Well, I don’t think I had, I didn’t recognise the name. I noticed that at least two people that were there the week before had passed. They were both always surrounded by family and I did think they were close. It’s sad that this volunteering is helping me to recognise death.

I might not be blogging for a couple of weeks due to my exams. I should have enough time to pop something out next week but the week after my exams start. But, they finish 24th May. Cannot wait.

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Because I couldn’t help myself

Fable – The Ant and the Grasshopper

I thought I would share another. This makes me feel better about revising when I see people around me doing no work

Once there lived an ant and a grasshopper in a grassy meadow.

antAll day long the ant would work hard, collecting grains of wheat from the farmer’s field far away. She would hurry to the field every morning, as soon as it was light enough to see by, and toil back with a heavy grain of wheat balanced on her head. She would put the grain of wheat carefully away in her larder, and then hurry back to the field for another one. All day long she would work, without stop or rest, scurrying back and forth from the field, collecting the grains of wheat and storing them carefully in her larder.

The grasshopper would look at her and laugh. ‘Why do you work so hard, dear ant?’ he would say. ‘Come, rest awhile, listen to my song. Summer is here, the days are long and bright. Why waste the sunshine in labour and toil?’

grasshopperThe ant would ignore him, and head bent, would just hurry to the field a little faster. This would make the grasshopper laugh even louder. ‘What a silly little ant you are!’ he would call after her. ‘Come, come and dance with me! Forget about work! Enjoy the summer! Live a little!’ And the grasshopper would hop away across the meadow, singing and dancing merrily.

Summer faded into autumn, and autumn turned into winter. The sun was hardly seen, and the days were short and grey, the nights long and dark. It became freezing cold, and snow began to fall.

The grasshopper didn’t feel like singing any more. He was cold and hungry. He had nowhere to shelter from the snow, and nothing to eat. The meadow and the farmer’s field were covered in snow, and there was no food to be had. ‘Oh what shall I do? Where shall I go?’ wailed the grasshopper. Suddenly he remembered the ant. ‘Ah – I shall go to the ant and ask her for food and shelter!’ declared the grasshopper, perking up. So off he went to the ant’s house and knocked at her door. ‘Hello ant!’ he cried cheerfully. ‘Here I am, to sing for you, as I warm myself by your fire, while you get me some food from that larder of yours!’

The ant looked at the grasshopper and said, ‘All summer long I worked hard while you made fun of me, and sang and danced. You should have thought of winter then! Find somewhere else to sing, grasshopper! There is no warmth or food for you here!’ And the ant shut the door in the grasshopper’s face.

It is wise to worry about tomorrow today.

Hospice Week 5

So, as predicted, Woman 2, that had a brain tumour and was in her thirties did not last the week. Her room was empty and it was rather eery. I spoke to one of the nurses that informed me she had died two days after my shift, and that her death was peaceful. That’s something at least.

Woman 1, that I spoke to that had motor neurone was due for a hospital procedure as I arrived so I didn’t get an opportunity to speak to her properly before she was rushed over.

And then there were 4. One is a really odd man, asked me for next months TV guide…that hasn’t been published as his edition of TV Weekly! Was not satisfactory. Neither was the guide on the TV, and neither was the daily papers.

I observed a hoist procedure though. That was interesting.Found myself speculating how much it cost and that most of the lifting from bedside seat to bed could have been done without said equipment, but hey, I wasn’t going to say anything. Poor woman ended up sat in this hoist, suspended a metre above her bed for a few minutes as cables underneath the bed got tangled and had to be moved so the feet could fit under and begin to lower her.

This woman has also been there since I started, I’m not entirely sure what condition she has, but she doesn’t seem to understand where she is a lot of the time, she rarely talks, just makes noises. She doesn’t seem to be deteriorating, which is good. Really good.

So, update next week:)

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Fable – The Lion and the Mouse

Following my last blog I thought I’d share one of my favourite fables:)

lion asleep and mouse

Once, as a lion lay sleeping in his den, a naughty little mouse ran up his tail, and onto his back and up his mane and danced and jumped on his head …

…so that the lion woke up.
lion angry and mouseThe lion grabbed the mouse and, holding him in his large claws, roared in anger. ‘How dare you wake me up! Don’t you know that I am King of the Beasts? Anyone who disturbs my rest deserves to die! I shall kill you and eat you!’

The terrified mouse, shaking and trembling, begged the lion to let him go. ‘Please don’t eat me Your Majesty! I did not mean to wake you, it was a mistake. I was only playing. Please let me go – and I promise I will be your friend forever. Who knows but one day I could save your life?’

The lion looked at the tiny mouse and laughed. ‘You save my life? What an absurd idea!’ he said scornfully. ‘But you have made me laugh, and put me into a good mood again, so I shall let you go.’ And the lion opened his claws and let the mouse go free.

‘Oh thank you, your majesty,’ squeaked the mouse, and scurried away as fast as he could.

lion angry in net

A few days later the lion was caught in a hunter’s snare. Struggle as he might, he couldn’t break free and became even more entangled in the net of ropes. He let out a roar of anger that shook the forest. Every animal heard it, including the tiny mouse.

‘My friend the lion is in trouble,’ cried the mouse. He ran as fast as he could in the direction of the lion’s roar, and soon found the lion trapped in the hunter’s snare. ‘Hold still, Your Majesty,’ squeaked the mouse. ‘I’ll have you out of there in a jiffy!’ And without further delay, the mouse began nibbling through the ropes with his sharp little teeth. Very soon the lion was free.

lion happy and mouse‘I did not believe that you could be of use to me, little mouse, but today you saved my life,’ said the lion humbly.

‘It was my turn to help you, Sire,’ answered the mouse.

Even the weak and small may be of help to those much mightier than themselves.

Hospice Week 2, 3, and 4

Hi, apologies for the delay in blogging. Last week I was away on holiday so I wasn’t at the Hospice.

I’m really starting to feel like I’m making a difference. On my latest shift after I had completed the duties like washing, catheters, bins, water etc I had an opportunity to speak to some of the patients.

I spoke to a woman, we had a lovely conversation and she told me she has motor neurone. She spoke of how she overcame cancer, only to be diagnosed with another terminal condition. We had a normal conversation about buses and she spoke of her children with unmistakable pride.

This was the first time I had properly spoken to somebody that had told me that they had a terminal illness. I mean I’ve seen somebody die in front of me, I’ve seen the white hands of a dead body and its upset me but not to the same extent. Finally it sunk in what people meant when they had told me they wouldn’t be able to cope with it. Speaking to people and forming relationships with them only to have them severed. It’s not so much the diagnosis, it’s the resignation towards it, and the positive attitude everyone has towards it. That’s the hardest bit, knowing that these people are too young to die and they’ve managed to accept it and just live the rest of their life to the full, genuinely humbling.

Another woman in her mid-thirties was right on deaths door when I finished my shift this week, her colouring had gone, she was out of it, her dad is rather talkative and had a very long conversation with me about God and his daughter. He was a Christian and he said how happy he was that his daughter had agreed to be buried not cremated so that her soul could rise to heaven. He presumed I was also a Christian as I spoke about Church and that I believed attendance wasn’t necessary to go to Heaven.

In essence I use to be atheist; I thought the idea of God comical. In the past few years I have started to think about the possibilities, I’m not going to join a congregation any time soon. But I have started to think about the possibility of a God, or some kind of higher being existing. Just to be clear, I believe the bible was designed to be a set of fables that promoted guidelines on morals. Like the ones you were read when you were a child about the mouse and the lion, fox’s and the animals that taught you what was morally okay. I’m not trying to insult anyone and apologies if I have. I do think Jesus was a real person who had healing skills and knew his herbs etc, not the son of God. It would be comforting to think God was real, but going into the Hospice and seeing these genuinely decent people, with days left. I can’t see them and still believe there is a God. I know that when Adam and Eve ate the apple they chose free will, and people will say God works in mysterious ways or something similar, but I can no longer think of a higher being that could allow this. Perhaps that’s just me trying to attach a human persona to a non- human, but that is the only way I can see it.

I have a horrible feeling that on my next shift Woman 2 will not greet me with her usual smile, there will be another poor soul in her room, or it will be empty. That’s even worse, when you expect to see someone in their room, and it’s empty.

It’s still overwhelming how lovely the people there are. I’m just hoping I was wrong about Woman 2 and she will be there on my next shift. Speak soon.

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Hospice – Week 1

Acclimatising. People there are lovely, looking forward to what the next few weeks bring.

One of the patients had died that evening, so there were people crying. I wasn’t involved with the case at all, my only glimpse was of a white hand.

Emptying bins, washing, learning the magic of a tumble dryer, generally meeting people. Next week will be more eventful, this week was focused on the basics.

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Meiosis Square Dance

might just be the coolest science video ever. I have the song in my head, thought I would share….

Volunteering – HCA at Hospice

Okay, so I went for the interview in January and I was successful. Very happy, it was really competitive and I was wanting to give a little back, and well, the experience wouldn’t be a total dead weight.

I will omit names, where it is and such and any stories I share will be anonymous, I wouldn’t want a family member or relative or anyone working there to find my blog callous and uncaring. I might even substitute names so I can call the people there something.

I’m hoping that there will be events I can share, if not, I can share with you the discovery of fabric softener and share with you the correct uses in a normal hospice wash.

I begin tomorrow, my first shift, so expect a blog!!

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