Even I find it hard to believe that it’s over 4 months since I wrote a blog post. Time certainly travels very quickly and my writing and photography have not been used much. I’ve managed to write a short article and have some others in the pipeline, but progress is slow. Too many other things I have to do.
There is much in the press at the moment about the NHS, as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. I can remember, just, the days before it came into being. In fact, I was a patient before it started, but have no idea how any consultations or treatment was paid for by my parents.
When Mike, my husband, and I visited Poole Hospital at the end of last year many of those memories came back to me. This was mainly because, in the hours we spent there, I had time to peruse photographs on the wall, telling of the early days in that hospital. How old-fashioned the nurses looked compared to how they are dressed now. There were photographs of the children’s ward in the early 1950s – obviously by this time run by the NHS. I studied them well in case I should find myself in one of them, but no. I was an out-patient from about 1948 onward, for the next 15 years, and a few times since. I was also an in-patient on at least two occasions, once for surgery and once for observation and tests. Strangely, I liked being there; the nurses were lovely and caring, and the doctors and other staff. I had my own make-believe uniform and stethoscope, and used to follow nurses around the ward.
One bad memory of my time in the hospital exists. When I was due to go for surgery, a young nurse gave me a cup of tea. I had no idea that I was ‘nil by mouth’ and drank it. When it was discovered, I needed my stomach pumped – not a pleasant experience. I just hope the poor nurse was not in too much trouble for an innocent mistake. The other thing which I didn’t enjoy was the smell of the rubber mask as I was being anaesthetised.
Later I returned to the hospital to work there, which I did for 7 years before moving to another part of the UK.
How the NHS has changed over the years. Their medical expertise means that more of us live longer, plus there are so many people in our country. Every aspect of the NHS is under pressure; let’s hope it can survive and thrive, and we should all do our bit to not exploit it in any way and not demand too much of it.
There are certain things which can trigger memories, even sometimes in dementia patients. Things such as aromas and melodies, but especially photographs. These days we often take photographs for creative reasons, but in those days, it was more snapshots of the time. Maybe we should all take more snapshots of our time here, for future generations to be able to see how things were in our days.