Last year I befriended a couple on the high seas between Sydney and San Francisco. Jill and Angelo live in Melbourne and are more than 10 years younger than me, but apart from that we are kindred spirits. Angelo is an independent builder (as was Davy) and Jill hates pretension (as do I).All joking aside, we seemed to "click" and had a great time on the ship.
Last autumn Jill emailled to invite me to their beach house just outside Melbourne for the post-Chrismas period. I was SO tempted, particularly as my grandson lives there too, but I decided to be a responsible grown up and stay put for a while! Why on earth did I think that? Particularly as I then booked myself onto a 12 day Christmas cruise to Madeira!
Jill wrote to me again a few weeks ago and said "Angelo and I are going on a cruise from Singapore to Rome, want to join us?" And, as everyone knows, windows are built for throwing resolves out of! "Yes please, what date?". And so begins another period of (I hope) riotous fun.
I travel to Singapore exactly 3 weeks tomorrow, stay for three days to explore the city (I love exploring cities on my own. It makes me feel that I'm living on the edge! Why? Because I'm an idiot, that's why) and then meet up with Jill & Angelo before boarding the ship on 18th May.
This morning I'm doing my usual pre-trip thing - panicking. What do I pack? Where are my crop trousers? Should I be taking time away in the middle of building a new house? Can I even AFFORD to do this? Answer? To hell with it. Do it!
I know this is rationalisation, but I figure that at the age of 72 I might as well do these things while I'm able to. Goodness know what's around the corner. So corner, here I come.
These glorious insults are from an era before the English language became boiled down to 4-letter words.
• A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease." "That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."
• "He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr
• "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill
• "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow
• "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).
• "Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas
• "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain
• "He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.." - Oscar Wilde
• "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill. "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.
• "I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop
• "He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright
• "I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb
• "He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson
• "He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating
• "In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand
• "He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker
• "Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain
• "His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West
• "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde
• "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
• "He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder
• "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx
I heard a brilliant interview on BBC Breakfast a couple of mornings ago. It was about the dangers of experiencing mental deterioration whilst living alone. My ears pricked up! This must apply to me. The interviewees were a psychologist and a delightful young lady who had lived alone for 16 years.
The gist of it was that if you live alone you have no-one to bounce your paranoia off of. Davy used to tell me that I was a mad cow to think the way that I did, so I would quickly adjust my attitude which is good discipline for a crazy like me.
The young lady agreed with the psychologist. She is an author who described herself as being "on the wrong side of bonkers". She also said that her home was both "paradise and a prison". I identified with both of those statements.
So for those of you that get fed up with me "popping into the office to see how things are doing" - get over it. You are, I'm afraid, stuck with me for life. You think I'm mad now, try me if I can't unload my paranoia somewhere. Welcome to my world.
But, to be serious, I'm still obsessing about the NHS. As my dear friend Ladythatlunches revealed there was another man on the same ward. He is in the early stages of Parkinson's and had been in the middle of moving to Lincolnshire when he was admitted to this wretched hospital. The poor man vegetated on the ward for several days, was given the wrong meds and sent home to Edinburgh by taxi where he had to be re-admitted to hospital again. . And he still has to deal with moving from Edinburgh to Lincolnshire. Can you imagine the stress this must be causing him? But do they care? Not a bit of it. Unbelievable!
DogLover suggests going the "complaints procedure" way. I know what would happen. Been there, done that! My husband had bladder cancer. He was a very fastidious man and abhorred the thought of having a stoma bag so he elected to have what they described as "bionic man technology", i.e. he had a bladder constructed in his bowel. We were told that the operation cost over £30,000 and, at that time, there were only 2 to 3 operations carried out every year.
Part of his post-op regime was to learn how to use his newly reconstructed bladder. He was told that a specialist "nurse practitioner" would train him. In the whole month that he recovered in hospital she never came near him once. He stressed out about it because, apparently, it was important that he did special exercises to stretch the new bladder in early post-operative days.
He was frequently told she would be up to see him and would get agitated when she didn’t turn up AGAIN! On the day of his discharge he was told that it was important he didn’t leave without seeing her, she would definitely come up to the ward. After being in hospital for weeks it was a big day for Davy. We had a 70 mile drive but waited for this woman until 6 pm and were finally told she had gone home for the day.
However, she made an outpatient appointment for him the following week and we were told it was imperative that he attend. On the day of the appointment he had dreadful diarrhea. I ‘phoned up the clinic and said he wasn’t able to make the journey and was told they would re-schedule the appointment. They did – for 6 months time! I suspect that this was punishment time for missing an appointment.
I complained about her, again. The result? Davy was transferred to another nurse but by that time it was too late. The new bladder needed to be expanded in the days immediately after the operation. Now it was “set”, had not expanded enough and nothing could be done. £30,000 down the drain and, more importantly, a patient neglected. But it was brushed off by the hospital and our GP. Nobody gave a shit (if you pardon the pun).
Nothing will change until these malcontents can be sacked. Unfortunately, despite the recent scandals of patients dying through lack of care, malnutrition and dehydration they still appear to be “bomb proof”.
Despite all the bad publicity the NHS has been getting lately, like wrong diagnosis, patients being neglected, people dying of malnutrition and dehydration in hospitals etc, they are still up to their old tricks.
An acquaintance of mine was recently taken into hospital. For months he had been having trouble with his feet and had been attending a daily clinic to have them dressed but they weren't getting any better. They were painful and bleeding but it was when they changed colour it was decided to take him into hospital.
It was thought to be a circulation problem and he was scheduled to have a procedure to widen the veins in his legs. So there he sat in hospital for over a week, given so many different tablets that he became groggy waiting for this procedure to take place. It was finally decided that he should go home and back to daily dressings at the clinic until such time as this procedure could be scheduled.
On the day of his "release" they decided he could be fitted in that day after all. So there he sat all day long until they finally decided that they actually couldn't fit him in. Probably because this happened to be a Friday, and, as we all know, an NHS "weekend" starts Friday lunch time and they don't like working at the weekend!
By this time is was late and he had no way of getting home. The nurse told him not to worry, they would arrange a car for him. The "car" turned out to be a Taxi and the 16 mile journey cost the NHS £35. The driver admitted that he was earning a fortune from these hospital runs! Proving, yet again, that the procedures have been put in place by idiots. Too much money to throw around and not enough humanity to care for the patients.
Back at the clinic they were shocked that he had been in hospital for over a week and nothing had been done. This is typical of the NHS, they are quick to criticise each other, but no-one will actually "blow the whistle". We all know that this culture of neglect and secrecy has to stop but no-one seems to be able to do anything about it.