Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

My precious...is preparing me for something very sad!

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

This Carol, is very insightful.

John Ramsbottom John Ramsbottom
Recommendations: 5

This carol was repeating this because sometimes in early stages of grief it takes a while for a death to 'sink in'.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

Yes they do. My husband cries lots, before I can. He is an emotional man.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

You are religious? Wow!

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

I think you need a space after Suckers...

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

is thumpt supposed to be thumped?

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

jealous should be capital J? I am being picky here John.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

and there's an extra line here too.

John Ramsbottom John Ramsbottom
Recommendations: 5

Probably a comma after eh then continue the sentence with the question mark after Eve as this is all one question by Ernest

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

a few spaces needed here.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

I know this was written on the spur of the moment, but I can't help myself in correcting some typos. Whilt should be whilst, okay?. Sorry for being so picky. Believe me, I also am full of mistakes.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

a few more spaces needed here.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

Oh dear John...This brings me back to when my mamma died,...I was holding her hand and we were 15 members around her bedside at 3.13 a.m. in the mng. I cried my heart out. I am not one to cry!

Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

In a way, I can fully understand that. I have 2 professional children, and it cost us a pretty packet. Gotta believe me!

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John Ramsbottom John Ramsbottom
Recommendations: 5

My precious

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She had a friend.

In response to a request this is my serious side with one of my TRUE stories from my 22 years nursing.

My precious:
Jersey is the largest of the 4 Channel Islands and is 160kms south of England and about 40km north of France. Victor Hugo (writer of Les Miserable) was exiled there by Napoleon and describes the 14 km x 7km area small island as a piece of France dropped in the ocean. It was full of French style farmhouses now converted to mansions for millionaires who were tax exiles from the United Kingdom from the high taxation of top earners in the 1970s and 1980s.Well that wasn’t the reason I was there! I was young free and single and wanted to nurse in different countries to broaden my life experience. 1 comment

I had just returned from a year in Saudi Arabia and was now in Jersey for what became an 18 month stint. Working as an agency nurse I took work where there was work and often a whole week of shifts at a place with the same patient.So a super-fit 28 year old,ex military soldier, who spent all his days off in the sun; swimming, surfing, drinking and chasing beautiful woman and not always in that order of priorities was asked to go to a children’s hospice for Christmas week.

I had worked with children before but when I got there a few nights previously I met and cared for this 16 month old boy. His name was TIM but I called him Tiny because of Tiny Tim in Charles Dicken’s book ‘A Christmas Carol’.  My TIM had arrested growth and his main body was the size of my hand.  I don’t have enormous ‘shovel’ .hands like my father who was a manual labourer but I possessed what my mother described as artist’s hands. Tiny Tim had Hydrocephalus and extra to his skull appeared to have an extra head which was a large sac of fluid. Once I had checked the other children to settle for the night the Care Assistant patrolled them and my job was to feed, medicate, regularly change and watch over Tim.

So I started my fourth night with my new best friend. Most of the night I sat in the lounge with his slight body in his little nappy (diaper) cradled in my left hand whilst his ‘extra head’ lay on a pillow. His hands used to grip a finger each which to him must have seemed enormous. I used my right hand to bottle feed him. I chatted away to him; ironically like I now do to my cat when I first come into my home. Tiny Tim had disproportionate features and not like ugly Gollum in ‘The Lord of The Rings’ my Tim had big eyes and a permanent smile and was innocently perfect and ‘my precious’ bundle of joy.

Hours had gone by. I was wide awake and even when I went to make a coffee my little friend was easily portable and came with me and I whilst there I picked up another of his feeds from the fridge at the same time. He fed, he smiled he slept. The illness had an effect on his breathing and it was like a constant hehh hehh laboured panting and I often gazed at his big blue eyes looking back and wondered what he might be thinking and was he comfortable. So tonight was just like the previous and in an hour the day staff would arrive and I would have allowed his young parents(younger then me) a nights sleep and respite from his care.

It was Carol my work colleague who whispered softly to me,
                 ‘John he’s gone-Tiny Tim’s gone’,  
I was like a rabbit caught in the headlamps. My panting, wriggling Tiny Tim had sighed and then gone silent. His two hands released their grip from my fingers. I was looking at him. I thought that those big baby blues were still looking at me-or hoped that they were. I knew he wasn’t for any resuscitation and he had lived months after a poor prognosis by the paediatrician at the hospice. I had grown used to him being there and started to believe that he would prove them wrong and live to full maturity with some ‘shunt’ a device used to drain excessive fluid and then he would grow and catch up the other boys to become a man.

‘John he’s gone-Tiny Tim’s gone’, Carol insisted gently. 1 comment

‘I know’, I said, ‘Can I just have a few minutes longer to say goodbye to my little buddy?’

‘Of course you can’, she said, ‘He’ll miss you –you know’. 2 comments

That’s when the tears started. She disappeared to save my embarrassment. Real men don’t cry. We are supposed to outwardly cope even if there is a Niagara Falls of tears within. Carol had said that Tim would miss me. She had made me consider that this little baby could have even noticed what I had done. One thing was sure was that I was going to miss him. 1 comment

We had re-made his cot in clean bed linen and changed his diaper. We placed Tiny Tim in a little one piece romper suit that still looked enormous on him. I placed a crucifix nearby and some flowers in a vase on the table. He looked perfect when his parents arrived. The doctor had certified him dead and I was waiting to see them and then to see the Funeral Services Operatives take him away: which they did promptly and respectfully. 1 comment

I don’t remember how I got home afterwards.  I guess I drove the same route, and went to bed but I must have been in auto-pilot. I woke to the phone at 4pm from the agency saying that I didn’t need to work tonight and that they would find me somewhere different and someone else to care for soon. I said thank you and answered their question that  I was fine. I went back to bed shutting out recent events for a little longer. I drifted off to sleep thinking of Scrooge buying his big Turkey and going to Bob Cratchit’s house to help with his Tiny Tim…..but that was a Victorian novel# not my true Christmas story 1 comment

2. Christmas Presence..

'Sucker'shouted my friends as their snowball missiled at me and thumpd the outside of the hospital ward's window. 3 comments

' Friends of yours eh? jealous that they could be with me on Christmas Eve', 3 comments

said my friend Leonard. He was a civilian patient in a military hospital looked after by me a soldier. I had admitted him 3 months previously as a student nurse. I had since qualified and was in charge on nights and looking after Ernest Pancake. That was the name he thought up because he was bed bound reliant on two hourly change of position to reduce chances of bed sores and so he always joked that I was coming to flip the pancake over to stop it burning.

He was dying of an inoperable brain tumour and he knew it and so did I. Death was one thing but I had really got to like Leonard Pancake and felt okay to be working tonight. There were only three more patients who were in a coma results of head injuries caused in the Flaklands War. This was a head injury ward and other staff-NOT ME- called that bay of 3 the cabbage patch because it was full of cabbage patch kids. I still believed that full recovery could happen even out of comas-but thats another story. 1 comment

So the work had been done and as often as possible I would sneak into room 2 with Leonard. I felt he hadn't long. I had seen the rapid deterioration in weight, energy and even his conversation and felt the tumour must be taking its toll. This night was different. He talked and talked. I felt that this was my own nativity story. Whilt the infant Jesus had wise men, gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh, the shepherd boy brought a lamb but I didn't even have a drum to play him. I held his hand and listened. He told me about at 13 his father was killed during the bombing blitz on London and he went to work as a cashier in a bank. He was the bread winner and stayed with that bank as a conscientious objector during the last few years of the war. He helped at nights fire fighting and digging out bodies from rubble in remains of bombed out homes. He worked up to manager in the same bank and retired there two years ago. Within months fell ill and now with a property unsold and no dependants and no regrets he was beinglooked after by me. 2 comments

I was never a great believer in macho aggressive soldiers but understood the need for an army. I thought a real man was also someone who could be that listener by the bedside of a dying man so I listened.

As he was deteriorating he had an oxygen mask on and his speaking was more of a whisper. He told me then things that now I ponder and understand more fully. He said,

'You wont regret yourmistakes-you will regret things that you were going to do-had the chance -but somehow never did it. Your job John is to live now I've had my chances'. 1 comment

As I came closer his colour was going in his complexion and his breathng almost non existent and I crept up close he had a last burst of energy and as he spoke it was like a warm kiss on my cheek 'Goodbye' from a loved one on a frosty morning.

       'Thanks for being my friend......and listening', he said.

As I said 'Thank you..', I started to realise he wasn't listening and I switched off the noisy oxygen mask.His pulse had stopped and I pressed the bell for assistance. She sat with Ernest Pancake as I phoned the doctor. I had no next of kin to contact. 1 comment

As I walked back to my nurses accomodation I passed bleary eyed friends hungover from their Christmas Eve revelries.
                  'Did you have a good night shift John ?' one asked. 1 comment

    'Yes I did actually-thanks and Merry Christmas',and wandered back to go to my sleep.

3. Why didn't you say something?

Hope is important. Up there with some faith and belief in being a charitable person.
St Paul's writing to the Corinthians and all that wisdom. But 'll tell you wy it is important to me. 1 comment

Saturdays on my military hospital ward round I showed a civilian Professor around our patients. He earned more in this 4 hours then I earned in a week. I asked him was he worth £50 pounds $30 and hour(1983) thats £ 500 or $300 an hour nowadays. He had remarked that it wasn't the hours work that you paid for but the 40 years it had taken him to learn that. 1 comment

On this round we visited 3 men in a coma with headinjuries from the Falklands conflict in 1982. They had been in a coma a long time. I told the Jim was different and that although he didn't move his head his eyes followed you. The Professor would not agree.
Eventually he gave me permission to actively rehabilitate him not just nurse him side to side with fluid fed down a tube down his nose. 1 comment

I did everything every day nursing him and got him physiotherapy,seated up right, standing and hands to open out not clenched in a clonic state. I eased him to soft then hard diet and got rid of that tubing. He was using cutlery and I started dressing him in clothes not hospital pyjamas. Those eyes still watched but apart from groans and grunts not a whisper. 1 comment

6 months passed by and hen the week I was due to move to Belize for a 3 month stint and then reyrn to a different ward an amazing day happened. We were bathing him. Disobeying care standards my friend and myself were talking to each other over a a patient.
'Yes you did',  'No you didn't' we argued to and fro until we heard 'Yes you did!' 2 comments

We loked at each other and when I realised it was Saturday and my Professor was here with the ward sister on a round I went to get them. I urged them to the bathroom where discreetly covered with a bath towel was Jim.I insisted, 2 comments

     'Go on speak again Jim'

The sister and Professor looked at me and then at him as he spoke,

          'Yes you did', then he beamed a smile that could lighten a darkest of skies.

I looked at him jokingly shaking my fist I said,

      ' 6 months of looking after you and you never said a word to me why not?'
He gave a perfect reply,

        ' I didn't know what to say John'.

He not only spoke but he knew my name!

It was nine months later I was back in London and heard that he had been transferred out of the hospital to a rehabilitation unit and then back to his unit where he was a bandsman. I was in the hospital newsagent whenI felt a sharp pain in my kidney and turned and there was a 17stone 100kgs (170 pounds) solid wall of muscle in military clothes. He remarked menacingly,
             'You don't remember me do you?' 1 comment

For a moment I wondered who was this soldier with a vendetta against me but then I looked at his eyes..
                ' No this couldn't be........J I M ...?'

Those next ten minutes recalling his re-awakening and that he asked after me but hadn't had chance to say Goodbye and Thanks.
As he left I shouted, 'Jim I should have been thanking YOU..it was you gave me HOPE...'

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