Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘Nursing’

Restrained Opportunity

I was not a model pupil.

Although I was not a naughty child I did not willingly fit in to the pre-formulated pathway the nuns at the convent had planned out for me.   Coming from a catholic background meant I was a “special” pupil and it was their sole purpose to convince me to follow them in to the church.  My aspirations refused to be restrained in their restrictive direction.  The nuns did have other acceptable callings for me; nursing, teaching and if all else failed housewife.

I would never take away from any of these wonderful caring and selfless vocations that take far more from a person than just intelligence.   I needed more choice and even then lacked the good grace to just conform for a peaceful life.  I was determined to leave my mark on the world.   My literacy report year in year out complained;   “She has such a vivid imagination but needs to spend less time in

such a vivid imagination

her mind and do what is asked in the question.”  I am still blessed with that wonderful imagination but now I use it creatively and one day will be awarded by seeing one of my books in print.  If the nuns were still alive now I would send them all a signed copy.  Unfortunately with no new novices joining the convent, the school closed as the nuns departed this world.

Looking back now I feel sorry for the head teacher, she tried so hard to persuade me to quash my desire to become a mechanical engineer, to keep me on the path of righteousness and steer me towards the servitude of others.    I did get away with so many rebellious defiant actions although today these would be termed as independence, initiative and inspiration.  The head did succeed in some ways; I never became an engineer.  I left school as soon as I was allowed for my own home based gap years.  Dutifully I learned to be a secretary at my mother’s insistence that I at least had something to fall back on.   Then spent a glorious year earning and spending, partying and enjoying all the freedom I then had.   Finally I did go into nursing but what the school had not prepared me for was life; real, hard and emotional life.  I didn’t stay!

Like many mothers across the country it will be another momentous heart wrenching July as my son moves schools, the preparations have already started.

We were invited to take Mini Son to an open evening at the local Top school to show him around.  Taken into the hall with hundreds of other parents, nervous 10 year olds and a few older students milling around; we were told how transition would work with his current school.  Following the initial introduction we were split into groups and two sixth formers led us around.   Unfortunately No 1 Son had too much homework to join his classmates and there was never any promise that he would have been our tour guide had he been available.

Having two boys already there we have been through this evening twice before.     There were parents of mini son’s friends who found it all new and overwhelming that their eldest would soon be moving on.    I remember the first evening we had come with No 1 to visit.  It seems only yesterday and somehow I must have missed it but he has been right the way up through the school and now settling into sixth form has his next step; university in his sights.

Standing in a neat group at the edge of the climbing wall; a teacher invited the children to step forward and have a go. A shyness that I had not seen before descended over the friends, the chatter ceased and the class mates stepped subtly behind their parents.   I pushed Mini Son forward slightly whispering that he should try.  Once he had taken the first step he was overtaken by the torrent of eager friends racing to get to the top first.

Shyness abandoned he gelled with the music teacher who was delighted when he discovered Mini Son is learning the saxophone.  Mini Son in turn was bursting with enthusiasm to find the tiny recording studio and drama theatre.    Finding his own way over to the pottery wheel he began turning it and demonstrating to the other young faces how to use it.  He has never to my knowledge used a potter’s wheel although he has made clay cups and pots at primary school.

He may not be my first but I felt that same pull of emotional heartstrings as I watched my youngest race around the complex trying his hand at setting fire to the strips of liquid soaked accelerant.  The awe erupting over his delighted face as the multi-coloured flames leapt into the air.

Moving over to the generator I watched Mini Son hold a shining silver surface.   As we watched and the other children round us began laughing his hair stood to attention mimicking the wonderfully eccentric Dr Emmett Brown from the Back to the Future series.   Still mad professor like he was guided to a pile of tiny screwed up paper balls the size of peas, which I had assumed were bits of paper bored pupils had played with instead of listening. As the now excitable group round him watched; the paper balls began juggling around and leaping up towards his extended hand.

I have no worries about him fitting in and loving the facilities available to him as he completes this momentous year of transition.  It will be me that will find it hard to say goodbye to primary schooling after 12 years.  Letting go and allowing him to take his own faltering steps into this wide world.  I know the school will equip him better to deal with the future than mine did.

Looking back at my schooling maybe school and I might have not have had such an antagonistic relationship if there had been a few more facilities to stretch my creative imagination.  Where would I be today with my independence encouraged, my initiative rewarded and my inspiration fuelled?


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she has too vivid an imagination

Teatime Treats with Tiggy

Founded Friendships

I spent two nights in Treliske Hospital over the Easter weekend.  The trip was not prearranged and most certainly was not as enjoyable as the fantastic weekend I had meticulously planned.    We had managed to drive all the way down to Newquay on Easter Saturday and booked into what looked like a really great hotel.   The weekend was looking so promising.

Two hours later I called NHS direct and was instructed to go straight to A&E.  That was the last I saw of the hotel.

The episode, although not what I would have wished for did however remind me how transient relationships can be.   There was not a lot of interaction from the doctors themselves but the nursing staff, were the epitome of caring and listening.

It really does not matter how many times you go to hospital, and we worked out that I have been in every major hospital in the south west barring one, in some capacity or other, student nurse, patient or parent.  I am not keen to visit the last one in any capacity.  You never grow out of that scary sensation, the terrifying trepidation, the fearful foreboding just because you reach adulthood, and can comprehend that fundamentally each hospital is the same.

Nurses do a wonderful job of leading you gently step by step through your stay.  Each day and overnight you are assigned one angel to care for you and she (sometimes he) will comfort your emotional outbursts, tend your wounds, administer your medicines along with tlc and nurturing.  She will stop and chat breaking the monotony of the day with tales of her home life and your home.  Suddenly this complete stranger becomes your new best friend.  You divulge information you would not even tell your own friends or family.

My angel was Heidi who went well beyond the bounds of nursing care to make the place less frightening and more bearable.  She told me about her family, how she is working extra shifts to pay for her son to go skiing with the school and also how her children believed her story of Easter being delayed one day; so she could spend the day with them.   I told her how come we were supposed to be on holiday and how it had been a surprise for Sexy Sporty Dad and No 1 Son who had been staying down in Cornwall on rugby tour.  We sat and talked about fears many of which are unfounded but in the depths of those surroundings seemed huge and insurmountable.     Heidi finally had to go off duty and went home; I felt lost again and lonely.

Wandering to the ward kitchen I instantly made another friend, whose name I am ashamed to admit I forget.  After the initial meeting you do not really use each other’s names.   I do know all about her husband Jay, sons Dave and Josh and her daughter Sarah at home, she knows all about my children and the rugby tour.   We chatted about the weather, where we could find butter for toast and how come we were both there over bank holiday.  Returning to the ward I discovered she was camped across the room from me.  We spent several hours passing time and chatting about anything that came to mind.  The doctor came over to her, pulled the curtains round for privacy then with loud voice asked intimate questions.  She decamped and again I was left waiting.

Remembering other visits to hospitals where you make close friendships with the other parents or patients and swear to keep in touch.  As soon as you return home there is so much going on that time and life get in the way and suddenly you realise you didn’t keep in touch.

Life’s relationships are all like passing ships.  When I look back through my address book and see all the lost friends who I was sure would be there forever but have floated out of my life like driftwood.  Social media brings old friends coasting back in contact; can you ever go back to the intensity of that former life.   It would be great to hear from some of my teenage gangs, their lives and mine have taken such differing paths, could we ever recapture the friendship that was so founded on our loves and lives back then.

Forging Strong Bonds

My mother rang her best friend this week to wish her a happy birthday.  They had both arrived at boarding school aged 9 in the far reaches of Wales and forged a lasting friendship during those war years away from their homes and families.   71 years later and much water under their bridges their friendship is as strong as ever and their memories although a bit erratic now span years of ups and downs.


Looking around my friends now, I have such hopes of the foundations of this time being strong enough to last a lifetime.  I am sure there will be other fleeting friends and foes coming and going through my life but I hope the friends I gather along the way will stay true even as our paths part and times change.  As my children who have led me through my latest friendships move on I hope I stay firm and keep the strong bonds formed now for ever.

Here is to friendship may it be drawn-out, durable and dependable.


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