Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Carole Malone attacks nurses (well NHS staff in general)

I was reading News of the World the other day because it was lying about, not because I make a habit of it! I came across a couple of articles on the state of the NHS care of our elderly.

Carole Malone was ranting on about how nurses and doctors don't seem to care any more and are more concerned with filling out paperwork than caring for elderly patients.

OK well that may seem to be true from the outside but from the inside it's a different story. She may well be able to sit there in her ivory tower and pass judgement.

She is referring to elderly patients who couldn't help themselves and were left 'thirsty and starving' with nurses 'chatting on corridors' and not giving a stuff about them.

I cannot speak for the nurses involved but from my perspective working on general medical wards is a thankless task. Apparently one lady in the news was calling out for water and her relatives said she had to be coaxed to drink. There were probably 3 nurses to about 30 patients and taking time to coax someone to drink is very difficult. The lady was probably offered food and water several times but if she refused, nurses cannot force her to eat. That is abuse. She suffers from dementia too and probably didn't like being cared for by a stranger either. It was probably a very frightening experience. Apparently her daughter was her full time carer so where was she while her mother was in hospital?

I know visiting is restricted but if my mother was suffering and needed help eating and drinking I would insist on being there. I cared for my mother whilst she was in hospital. I washed her, dressed her and did all the basic care for her because she only wanted me to do it. Asian cultures do the same so why can't we? I know I would want my family there to look after me.

The gentleman in the press was suffering from dementia too so he was bound to look thinner and old than he did when he was fit and well. He fell and suffered a stroke whilst in hospital and the ward was critized for it. The wards make the place as safe as possible but without restraining each dementia patient it would be impossible to watch them every single minute of the day. It was a tragedy he fell but it could have happened at home, out and about or anywhere. Had the ward left him in bed with rails up to protect him then they would have been critized for that too.

I did have to stick up for my gran whilst she was in hospital a couple of years ago so I do know what it can be like. Had I not had the knowledge she would have continued to suffer needlessly.

One hospital was critized for the way they looked after an ex architect. His wife said this "He urgently needed treatment for jaundice. But Vivien, 71, was stunned when she arrived to find Peter on the floor writhing in pain and wearing the nappy. He was surrounded by metal fencing and when he saw his wife cried: "Help me Viv-please take me home."

Tearful Vivien said: "It was a sight which will last with me forever."When she asked why he was being treated so cruelly nurses said it was a "punishment" for trying to get out of bed. "He was being treated like a caged animal," said Vivien. "It was so humiliating."

Well, if a nurse had said it was a punishment then they deserve to be struck off but I doubt they said that. He would have been nursed in such a way for his own safety and the safety of others and 'the nappy' was probably there as he was soiling himself, there to maintain his dignity, not as a punishment!

If the chap was compos mentis he would not have been treated in such a manor and the fact that he said 'Viv, take me home ' is a little hard to believe. The staff simply would not have treated him that way if he was able to look after himself.

We are bound by paper work and litigation all the time. If we don't fill it out we get disciplined. Nurses are being struck off all time for very little misdemeanour's such as medication omission, inappropriate comments and not filling out paper work. Its a mine field.

I agree some nurses really don't care but when the organisation doesn't care about it's workers are the workers going to care back?

Ms Malone suggests those of us who don't care should 'go and find another job'. Easier said than done! Says she with a silver spoon and sitting in a plush office spouting rubbish and getting paid a silly amount for it!

When you pay to stay at the travel lodge, you get travel lodge services. When you pay to stay at the Savoy, you get Savoy services. If people want a better health care then it needs more funds. We need to pay more NI and not whine about it. I don't agree nurses should be paid massive wages as it could attract the wrong type of person but I do think we need to be valued more and not tarred with the same brush as a few bad eggs.

I'm proud to be a nurse and love my job, but I would never go back and work on a medical ward as it's a hard slog all the time with no thanks.

We have thank you cards galore at our unit so we must be doing something right!! oh yeah that's it. Saving lives!!!

Some patients suffer in hospital due to lack of nursing care because of time constraints of the staff but we do what we can where we can. They also may need a nursing home or have social problems and getting these sorted for discharge is very difficult, red tape, lack of nursing home beds etc etc. Therefore the patient discharge is delayed further. It seems patients relatives sometimes expect 5 star treatment for themselves too and 'demand' things and make complaints needlessly causing more problems and delays. I'm not saying we shouldn't stick up for ourselves but we should also try and respect the hospital staff too and not talk to them like they are servants or stupid.

Some relatives come to visit with an argument ready and waiting with little knowledge and understanding. No matter how much we try to explain, unless you have medical knowledge, it is really hard to understand.

Give us a break, a lot of us are doing our best!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Let training recommence

Ok so 2 wasted days off the bike and feel well enough today, thank goodness to get back in the saddle. For a while I was dreading I'd over done it again and hit a rough patch but thankfully have rallied back to health! Think it may be something to do with all the supplements I'm taking and drinking tons of water.

Although it's nice outside I have decided to stay inside to bike as it has many advantages. A huge one being that there is a loo handy! And I don't have to don loads of kit and make sure all my bike stuff is packed, wash out my Camel Bac and decide where to go. It's made a nice change to be indoors as the weather has been shocking but having a static bike in the kitchen isn't the nicest feature to have! It also gets extremely hot in the kitchen too particularly as I have been baking biscuits for my best friend and her family arriving later. It's like a sweat shop but it's great training for the heat of Kenya! I've never been so sweaty.

The good thing about static biking also means I can read my book whilst I'm training. I never really understood why people did that at the gym but I know why now because it's very boring and nothing to look at! It's also very tempting to keep putting the kettle on!

I aim for 20 miles today, see how I get on. Then hopefully builtd up over next few weeks to longer rides.
I can go faster on the road but I feel I push myself more on the static. I use my iPod with an interval training app on it for an hour which helps pass the time at least but I do love to be outside in the fresh air.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Feeling ruff

Today and indeed yesterday, I am feeling rough as. Sore throat started early on yesterday and went quickly to ears and nose. I feel sore and look like crap! Pale and unhealthy. Considering all I've done for 4 weeks, apart from the odd blip, is eat fruit and tons of veg and cut dramatically down on the vino well actually I haven't had a bottle of wine for over a month now and I've been exercising to get my fitness levels up, you would think I'd be a picture of health? Nope. I'm tired beyond normal, have no energy and have terrible insomnia. I was supposed to train yesterday but after 4 hours split sleep I gave it a miss so today I have finally made it onto the static bike but I think if I was road cycling a granny on crutches could overtake me!! Still it's better than being a vegetable on the settee or in bed reading which is what I really really want to do!

I was doing so well on the training front now feel set back again and this is what I really did not want to happen after last years months of having no energy! How do these athletes do it or indeed every day folk who train all the time and work too?

I was definitely not meant to be an athlete that's for sure! And getting rid of this weight I've gained well I think it's got hooks in the fat as it refuses to go!!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Escaping the Rat Race

I have recently received criticism (albeit from a every unreliable source) about the fact that I am doing something for myself and going away for 13 days this year in order to do it.

I train and mostly fund raise whilst my daughter is at school and although I will be away for the time it takes to do the bike ride (for charity) my daughter will be adequately cared for by her other carer, her Dad!!

I am luckier than most in that I don't do 9-5, Monday to Friday thing but I do miss out on sleep on many occasion to be able to work and be there for my daughter and of course we can't jet off here there and everywhere because of money and timing. School holidays are an expensive time to go away and money is tight, as ever but I try my best to make life interesting and exciting.

The reason I'm telling you this? I'm just watching a programme about a man who wants to escape the rat race and go to Alaska to build a log cabin and live in it throughout the winter. He has never been to Alaska, lived in the wild, attended a survival course or been in the army. His training involved writing to Alaskan family and dreaming of building his cabin in the wild.

Sounds great, if a bit bonkers. However, you may be interested to know that he has a wife and two children at home. His wife is wholeheartedly behind him as she is hoping it will get this out of his system and return to normal life and get on with it.

She states she 'knew he wasn't a person who liked to be tied down and had to do this be to able to function' so what happens when he returns home? Should we sacrifice our children's memories of us to be able to function as a human being?

Guy Grieve's experience is somewhat extreme but he states that he is still keen to complete his dream as his step father spent all his life as a good father but doing the 9-5 only to die of cancer before he managed to retire.

Many men have done this kind of thing before in search of self fulfilment. Beck Weathers, Chris Bonnington and Alan Hinkes to name but a few, all left family behind in search of their goal. Alison Hargreaves, a mountaineer from Derbyshire, paid the price and died on K2 leaving behind her young children. Being a Motherless daughter I know how hard that is.

I don't think I could go the extremes Guy has but I have said to my daughter that when she is old enough and has her education sorted I will take her, if she wants to, to do voluntary work in Africa and travel as far and wide as money will allow. Until then I will do things that take me away from her as little as possible but may still require me to venture away from the family home for a few days at a time. I will continue to raise funds for charity as I like doing it and I meet some lovely like minded people through it.

The upshot of the programme is Guy returns early to his family and they move to the Isle of Mull as he is offered a post managing a forest there.

Sometimes we need to do extreme things to realise what we want out of life. Albeit not life threatening things! I hope Guy has found happiness and is more content with his life.

Friday, 11 February 2011


"In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?"

Lady Ga Ga's tattoo adorns her inner upper arm. It's a quote from Rilke's, apparently. I love Lady Ga Ga, I love writing and I love tattoos!

If I was forbidden to write, all these words would be floating around my head all the time and probably send me insane. They would be all queuing to get out and driving each other potty trying to compete with each other.

Words can make our day, brighten the hour, send our soul souring or they can break our hearts, destroy relationships, create havoc. They can be beautiful or ugly. They can feel nice on the tongue, in the mouth, the way they sound.

We need to watch the words we use or it could land us in trouble. They have to be politically correct in nature. They can start relationships or destroy them. Could we live without them?

They are part of our everyday existence. Could we live without words? Could we have a limited number of words given to us a day and only use those words we have been allocated? Will there ever be word police?

People and society can suppress our freedom of speech. We can be brought to task over our choice of words and criticised. We can be celebrated and made famous for the choice of words we use and the way we put them together.

There is nothing more beautiful than a sentence constructed in such a way that it makes us gasp with delight or joy or utter sadness.

Some words can not be taken back. Once out of the mouth they stay in the air around us, in our heads, in our ears, in our hearts. There they will linger for eternity and fade but always be there. To prick our hearts and make it bleed.

Some words need to be said over and over again to make us understand, confident and secure. They don't linger. They fade quickly and evaporate into the ether and leave us alone, floundering.

We need words like we air to breath. Without them we would suffer. We would shrivel and our souls would die. Our brains would dysfunction and hope would be lost.

If I were forbidden to write, I may not die but I would be a shadow, hollow and an empty vessel.I would be without my passion.

There but for the grace of God.

I have an interesting couple of days at work. I always root for my patients but this was somehow different. I know how fragile life can be but what if we took the wrong turn just once? Then where would we be?

Without divulging information the short of it is that this poor lady has had a fall from grace and ended up in quite a bad predicament. It could happen to any of us. Bad decisions, wrong turns.

We are all one step away if life goes bad and we don't know how to deal with it and use the wrong way to cope with life's crap. Then it just all comes tumbling down and one mistake after another turns us into something our family no longer recognize.

We can get the help but refuse it and continue to wreck our lives. One day we get a wake up call. Do we take it? Will we see it as a golden opportunity and turn our lives around?

I pray they do. I desperately hope they do.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Training cont.

The training was much easier today. Maybe because I ate well before? Yesterday was a real struggle and seemed to take forever and my coccyx hurt terribly! The key to the pain relief is brufen and paracetamol before getting on the bike. I also added in cod liver oil in today as my joints are very creeky!

I have managed to lose 8lbs in 3 weeks as well which is good as I have the 'Women v cancer' t-shirt to get into. Why don't I get a larger size? Well, I have the largest one! I swear they have swapped the 'xs' label and put in 'xl'!!! It'll be a tight fit even if I lose 3 stone more!

Next week training will be a bit tricky due to work. One night on, one off, two on. Think I'll be a bit knackered and I also need to fit an extra night in somewhere too. Such is life!

The gorilla pod arrived today to attach my video camera to the front of my bike for training sessions and while we are in Kenya!! I've been ordered not to film the others butts!

I saw an electric bike today in a shop window in town for the bargain price of £485!! There was a red one and a blue one with a rather pretty seat and shopping basket on the front. I was thinking they would be great for Kenya!! I could get one for when I'm an old biddy and get a p*ss pot so I can smoke me tabs whilst riding it about town hurling abuse at youngsters!! :0)

Friday, 4 February 2011


So how is the build up to Kenya going? well, I've started training again (a little!) and dieting as I have a lot of baggage to shift and I don't want to be 'the fat bird at the back' I want to be the 'curvy girl at the back'!!

I have been given a turbo trainer and luckily have my racing bike is spare to put it on. I bought the bike thinking I would be faster on it but it's so uncomfortable and scares the bejesus out of me as I can't reach the brakes properly and the thin tyres send you off in any direction! So at least it's being put to good use.

I try and do an hour of interval training then use the next hour to get to 30 miles at least. I have managed this twice so far in two weeks so far! I kept getting interrupted by a small person the other day so gave up when Emerdale came on and then had to put SP to bed. I was getting cold and the hot bath SP had left was too much of a temptation, so that was that. I aim to get on it tonight. I say aim.......Once I have my kit on I'm ok and hubby will be around to distract SP from interruptions. I thought having the static bike would be handy as I either end up just cleaning or doing not very much once SP is home but no it seems to attract her to me. Rather like when I'm on the 'phone. It's like she has a radar and knows the minute I'm unavailable that's the time to hound me!!

Interval training is supposed to melt away the fat quicker. That is providing one doesn't stuff one's gob before and after!! I'm following weight watchers and it's actually quite amazing how much one can graze through in a day when it isn't being counted!

I haven't been hungry but the food choice is somewhat limiting. Lots of protein, minimal carbs (not that I can eat many carbs anyway) There is only so much ham or tuna salad I can stomach. My favourite yoghurts are 5 points each!! Jeez. I'd rather go without!

At least fruit is 'free' and veg but it's so blooming expensive and I can get through a lot! I've also cut out all gluten again and my stomach pain has gone thankfully and I'm much less bloated. I was having abdo pain, headaches, bloating and indigestion. It's awful. But gluten free stuff is so calorific it's not worth cooking a spoon of pasta, which is all I can have in one meal.

I'll be glad to shift the weight. I said Christmas 2009 I would lose weight in 2010 and never really did. I would like a quick weight loss of course but that isn't healthy and I can't maintain it.

My coccyx have been giving me jip too. Not sure why. I haven't changed anything. Maybe it's just the weight issue putting more pressure through them? Anyway, it's ruddy painful!! Hope it abates before October! I know I'm in for pain doing the ride for sure but not that pain all the way through it!

Static biking is rather boring and the miles take forever to go through. I know it's not like road cycling as it's up me how fast/slow I go. Interval training does take the boredom out of it and clock up the miles but it hurts. I know I know, it's supposed to! Hopefully it will be a lot easier by October.

A great advantage to biking indoors is that the loo is to hand! I hate being out on a long ride and needing the loo. Especially until the hedges have fluffed up a bit. It's ok for men they just look like they are taking in the view. It's not too much of a big deal for them to get caught but getting caught with your cycling shorts around your ankles is not funny. It's very embarrassing.

There is one thing to my advantage being larger though is, and this is a well known fact, fat travels faster!! So on the down hills I'll be tanking and then the girls can catch me up and overtake on the up hills. Well that's my theory anyway! ha ha.

Right. School run done and cycling shorts in situ so therefore I best go and do some training! ttfn