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A special day today, a meeting with the hospital people to discuss various matters of after-care of patients who have experienced trauma. It was interesting to compare my ‘tourist’ visit, with my previous unrequited and unexpected visit to Southmead hospital nine months ago, 9 October 2016 when only after a few days of considerable pain was I able to get out of bed and stare out of the window.
Photographing it from the outside today and looking at it as some dim and distant place compared with last time when this was my home, that environment which made my existence stable while I was drugged up to the eyeballs with a variety of medicines and pills. I don’t think people realise what a life changing event an accident can be.
So as I start to write this in the evening I know it’s going to be quite a long account. I have been delayed by doing a gardening job, and then watching a replay of the Ascot Gold cup which for those of you unfamiliar with the UK is one of the leading horse race events of the year.
So you see when I have an important appointment as was the case today I don’t want to leave ridiculously early but on the other hand I don’t want to leave late, cutting it to fine. One of the things that I cannot bear is being late for an appointment. I would rather be an hour early and pace around or have a coffee. It is the same with flights. I would rather arrive as soon as checking opens and sit on “the other side” or “no man’s land” where you can hopefully switch off your phone and forget about all the daily nonsense that goes on in country A, and look forward to an enjoyable time in country B. I have come to loathe this ridiculous searching of everyone including the taking off of shoes, belts, not being able to take liquids through. The liquid ban is the biggest farce of all. Was it about 12 years ago when a group of young Muslims were accused of trying, perhaps, to make a liquid substance that could just could explode. There wasn’t a scrap of evidence but the authorities in their wisdom decided to ban all liquids. This has resulted in millions of harmless bottles of water being thrown away.
Anyway, the appointment was at 11.30 this morning Thursday, 22 June. On the way I witnessed congregations of people at Bristol bus station waiting to be taken by shuttle bus to the great Glastonbury. You can tell a Glastonbury person because they have unusual Wellington boots, and a huge rucksack which probably contains a tent.
Passing through the northern suburbs of Bristol is very much like visiting 1960s London. There are lots of trendy and down-to-earth coffee bars, eating establishments, Turkish, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, restaurants. there are high-class preowned clothes stores, shops with vegetables temptingly displayed in bowls for one pound, unusual vegetables that we don’t see in Midsomer Norton because people wouldn’t know what they are.
The meeting itself was in the company of three staff from the trauma team who were concerned about giving after care service to those who leave the hospital with varying degrees of support. As the famous American photo Journal Life Magazine said in years of yore, “All Human Life is There”. My feeling is that the traumatised community members should support each other, and that a blog and website should be used for support. No one wants to admit that they need a support group so I feel we have to sell the idea in such a way that will attract the right people without the client group feeling stigmatised. However the bigger problem is getting the hospital authorities to allow me to advertise a patient group at all.
This is where I am going to have buckets of patience because changes take a long time to happen in the NHS due to the complexity of the structure, potential litigation problems, health and safety, you name it. That is the overarching problem. Hardly a month goes by without a new set of rules established from ‘on high’ which have to be implemented.
in addition,it is quite common to find someone who’s got not just one remit, not two remits but even five remits. The responsibility of each in terms of human care is like one full-time job in yet these saintly people are driven by their desire to help others and so putting hours and energy that must exact a price in terms of the amount of energy available for a social life.