Friday, 21 September 2018

`The Calabash tree 2

“For four hours I was away and out of my body, made to die then jerked back to the world.” (from a poem by Robin Robertson, who had same operation as me).

from: Feb 2018

I recently had open heart surgery at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. A traumatic experience, but one which has left me deeply grateful for the NHS – massively complex and intricate surgery and after-care – carried out with extraordinary skill, care and attention and FREE.
In my recent article for The London Economic I wrote about the creeping privatisation of the NHS. Here I want to highlight the NHS at it best. A health system based in Aneurin Bevan's words on the principle that “No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”
I am lucky to be a citizen of a country that can offer me the medical procedures I underwent that have kept me alive. For me, it is second time lucky. Three years ago I had brain surgery that would not have been possible in the past and remains, as does the heart procedure, an impossibility for much of the world's population.
We need to bear this in mind as we fight for our NHS against the privatisers. They are creeping in through the cracks in our defences. As recentlyl as five months ago, Barts were responsible for their own catering. One nurse told me what pride he took in serving food to his patients and how this was a central part of nursing care. Today this has been handed to Serco, who run our prisons and whose annual revenue from healthcare is over £1.4 billion. Breakfast was tepid tea or coffee, cereal or porridge and toast. As I bit into the cold, spongy “toast” I could imagine Serco executives meeting to discuss how to cut back their costs to increase their profits. “Let's start with breakfast”.
I got to know my fellow patients, some with more problems than mine. Barry had already had three heart operations when he arrived at Barts in January for his fourth. His operation lasted 28 hours and they “lost” him three times. He told me of his out of body experiences which had traumatised him and made him scared of going to sleep. He badly needed psychological care, but with the present level of cuts in NHS funding, this is not available.
Just as food is important to getting better, so is after care.There was a time when post-operative patients would spend time in convalescent hospitals. No more. In Germany and even in the countries of Eastern Europe where I used to live, all operations included a minimum of one month's post-op stay in a health spa.
We not only have to fight for our NHS, but have to claw back what has already been scalpelled away and hived off to the Richard Bransons of this world.
What memories do I take away from the time I spent at Barts? Not the operation and its after-effects of pain and worry, but the nursing care I received with such commitment and humour. The nurse pushing my bed down a corridor who I got chatting to. On hearing I was a writer, he brought my bed to a halt and with a wonderful smile quoted verbatim from Gabriel García Márquez's 'Love in the Time of Cholera:' Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom. Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.”
Then there was the nurse replacing my chest bandage who wanted me to breath in deeply. “Puff out your chest”, she said, 'like a Robin Redbreast.'
Barry, a Jamaican living in Finsbury Park, would chat to the patient beside him, a Trinidadian from West London, about their youthful memories of their island homes and their love of the calabash tree, its soft brown bark home to multi-coloured orchids. They told me that these trees, pollinated by bats, grow on hillside pastures, along roadsides and wherever there are human beings.
The pulp of the fruit has medicinal properties and acts as a remedy for respiratory problems such as asthma, a cure for dysentry, reduces blood pressure, disinfects wounds and is used to treat haematomas and tumours.

The NHS is our Calabash tree

To my dead Donor:
Dedicated to Dr Wael Awad, his surgical team, anaesthetist & all nursing / ancillary staff at Barts Ward 4B - in respect for their care & skills 
My blood pump was stopped
while a machine took over 
the job my heart had done 
for almost 73 years. 
A cow's pericardium replaced 
my narrowed, furred valve
that no longer moved like 
a sea anemone's fronds. 
This valve was given without 
agreement or consent
so I made a vow to my dead donor
to never eat beef again.

Last time it was a subdural haematoma.
I escaped with my brain intact. 
That involved an earlier pact, 
made with myself, to act wisely
with attention to my herd.
My plan of action now 
begins with breaking through the fence 
to arrive, together, in greener pastures.
(David Wilson & Anne Aylor)

Left Field  


  1. يسر شركة شام ان تقدم لعملائها في مدينة القطيف افضل الخدمات المنزليه واليوم سوف نقدم لكم خدمة تسليك المجاري بالقطيف وقد حرصنا علي ان تكون الخدمه التي نقدمها خدمه متميزه خدمه متوفر فيها جميع عناصر الاحترافيه والخبره ، وتندرج هذه الخدمه تحت مسمى
    شركة تسليك مجاري بالقطيف
    ومن عناصر التميز التي حرصنا علي توافرها في هذه الخدمه وجميع الخدمات التي نقدمها لعملائنا الكرام المصداقيه واحترام الاتفاقات والمواعيد والحرص والحرص علي الوصول بالخدمه المقدمه الي اعلي درجات الاتقان والجوده ، عزيزي العميل مع شركة شام انت دائما بأمان .

  2. هل تبحث عن شركة متخصصة فى خدمات التنظيف بالطائف بافضل المعدات والسوائل وثقة تمة فى العمل ودقة فى النتائج كل هذه المميزت توفرها شركة الخليج الشركة الافضل والامثل فى الخدمات المنزلية بالطائف وبما اننا الشركة الافضل والامثل بدون منافس سوف نسعى لتوفر افضل الخدمات باقل تكلفة وبقدر كبير من الاهتمام والدقة عزيزى اينما كنت فى اى منطقة ا وحى تابع لمدينة الطائف اتصل بنا وسوف نصلك فى الحال شركة الخليج للخدمات المنزلية شركة تنظيف منازل بالطائف
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالطائف
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالطائف
    شركة تسليك مجارى بالطائف
    شركة رش مبيدات بالطائف
    شركة مكافحة نمل ابيض بالطائف
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالطائف
    شركة عزل اسطح بالطائف
    شركة عزل خزانات بالطائف

  3. نقدم لكم بعض الخدمات فى الاعمال المنزلية الممثله فى التنظيف الشامل للمنزل ومكافحة الحشرات وعزل الاسطح وكشف تسربات المياة ونقل الاثاث بكل انوعه كل ذلك يساعد فى الحصول علي مظهر رائع بواسطة افضل الفنيين والمتخصصين فى هذا المجال باستخدام احدث المعدات.
    شركة عزل اسطح بابها
    شركة كشف تسربات بابها
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بابها
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بابها
    شركة عزل اسطح بخميس مشيط
    شركة كشف تسربات بخميس مشيط
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالطائف
    شركة نقل عفش بالطائف