Waiting, waiting and more waiting

Not one queue but many in the same room. Mindless TV aka daytime BBC provides a distraction.
long line

…continuing my theme of waiting for something you cannot control as indicated in my first diary this morning…
Most of us have had to wait in lines and queues in hospitals if not for us for somebody else.

I would like to reflect on my monthly visit to BUH (Bath hospital) for my eye checkup. When I visit any sort of facility I like to leave smiles on as many people’s faces as possible. Insofar as I was able I made a number of comments to about half a dozen people example I complimented a woman on her smile and she smiled some more. it is as well to remember that for some people, an appointment is the only contact never mind social contact they have on a particular day so why not make a difference to it. It costs nothing but a little bit of care and consideration. Even if you talk drivel at least you’ve made the effort

Some newcomers to the hospital system may be misled or fooled by the fact that there are 31 or 35 people waiting in front of me. This is in fact incorrect. There are queues for many different types of services and for all you know there are only two or three people waiting for you in a particular dedicated queue. Also, most people bring a friend so you can safely halve the number of people who are actually waiting.

Why do you have to wait beyond your appointed time? It will amaze you to know that many people turn up late, demand or need more attention than their original remit, and give the doctor or attendant more work to do. It is a rule in the NHS that you give people the attention they need and not be governed by the clock though of course everyone tries to keep to time. If you are made to wait there was probably an emergency that exceeded yours in importance. Do not take it personally.

If you watch the staff, they never actually stop moving. Some do not even have time for coffee or even lunch. My recommendation is, take a book or newspaper, don’t look at any clock or your watch, do not complain or grumble because the person next to you may not want to hear it and wait for your name to be called. They do not forget you. Once you have announced yourself you are in the system and attention will happen.

The corridors of the hospital are filled with wonderful quality art which does lift the spirit I must say. Here follows many examples:

Golden Harvest by Roger Longdin
The Simarillion: Of Beren and Luthen Vera Carbin,  South West Illustrators.
a lovely day out
an installation in the main entrance of BUH hospital
intentions of the hospital

I have finally heard from the hospital where I have been negotiating for a particular scheme on behalf of patients who have been discharged. I would describe the letter of reply as an interesting step forward with many background factors that have to be taken into consideration which of course the average person cannot see or be aware of even. However there is the spirit of cooperation abroad and so we will no doubt proceed slowly but surely.

Tomorrow, Friday, 2 June 2017, off to the Bath and West show. It is vast in its proportions and we typically spend as much as six hours there before exhaustion sets in by which time we only see about half of what is on offer.




They also serve who only stand and wait


Once again, Pepys is very loquacious almost to the point of being  laborious so if you want to read the full diary entry please click on the date below. I have included a excerpt on which I wish to base today’s thoughts.

Tuesday 31 May 1664

…Dined at home, and so to the office, where a great while alone in my office, nobody near, with Bagwell’s wife of Deptford, but the woman seems so modest that I durst not offer any courtship to her, though I had it in my mind when I brought her in to me. But I am resolved to do her husband a courtesy, for I think he is a man that deserves very well….

Comment: so, another side of Pepys, almost lechery. He decides not to make a sexual –  or now we would say inappropriate – advance to the wife of his friend out of respect for the husband. I would say rather sarcastically, that’s decent of him and considerate to his wife.

The discourse of the town is only whether a warr with Holland or no, and we are preparing for it all we can, which is but little.

John Milton, Born 9 December 1608, Cheapside, City of London. Died 8 November 1674

John Milton (d. 1674) was a contemporary of Pepys born a stone’s throw from him.  Most scholars believe the sonnet below was composed sometime between June and October 1655 when Milton’s blindness was essentially complete.
I have looked carefully at all images of Milton and there is no image which shows him as obviously blind.  He may have suffered from macular degeneration which means that although you can see peripherally, you cannot see detail ahead of you.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
It is up to each of my readers to reflect on this incredibly profound piece and I’m sure many books have been written including the subject. It is clear that Milton is reminding us about the doers versus the people who just learn to be. His idea is that God is measuring us by standards other than the ability to perform tasks.
I’m reminded of the many occasions in my life about which I can do nothing. A more obvious political one is the amount of deliberate evil, greed, and general wickedness in this world which we have to watch like spectators at a football game where the players have been bribed and the match has been fixed. We can only boo and scream.
There are other occasions however where at a more local personal level, our input is important and significant. We are waiting for our child to make a decision about whether to go to university. We are waiting for our friend to end an inappropriate relationship when everyone else can see that it has no chance whatsoever of succeeding. So we are indeed standing and waiting but we are also serving. Why? Because by being available and willing to talk, indeed by just existing in open mode, we are performing a service.
A very crude analogy is the act of insuring our car with a company. The company does not ‘do’ anything but you know that if you have an accident you can get the help and support you need. All the company is doing is being itself.  it’s the same with us supporting our friends and family. If you are approachable you just wait for the call or visit knowing that the person knows you are open. . if you do not receive contact then it is because the person does not wish to speak to you at the moment. The fact that they do not wish to speak is none of your business. Efforts to push them one way or the other may have a countervailing effect.
My advice (given without any expectation that people will take it) is to commit this person to the universe, the person that you are worried about. Turn your mind to other things. It is their lesson to learn, their destiny, not your destiny and not your lesson. You do not know what is going on in the mind of the sufferer. You ARE serving by standing and  waiting.