Making the best of a (fairly) routine visit to the RUH

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

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Okay I agree it wasn’t quite ordinary because I was going to have my eye examination four weeks after my cataract operation. I dodged the showers and caught the (late) local bus to take me to the bus station in Bath and from there the green 4A local  to Weston via the RUH Royal United Hospital.

So my challenge dairy-wise is to see how much I can make out of the day, how many people’s lives I can affect (hopefully not INfect) , and whether I can learn anything. I am sure I will. 🙂

Learning had started quite early in the morning when I watched a video explaining that Zionism had pretty much taken hold over America and politics. That is why the US have vetoed motions against Israel 50 times.  Zionists regard all other races as goyen, inferior beings not worthy of life. Do look up the meaning  as I don’t really want to have a political day.

Another story of entertainment was of a sheep who was stuck halfway up a cliff face for two years  and was eventually seen,and rescued by  a group of five farmers. This was from above a remote shingle beach in the Scottish Highlands.  She was christened Fiona for some strange reason and I give her the prize for endurance and patience.

photo of a local

caricature – inauthentic

Anyway, back to the day.   I arrived at the hospital about an hour early as is my wont and on the way to the restaurant to have lunch I saw this what I can only call remarkable and unusual image which is entitled ‘A Rajasthani Man’, by Kathy Pearce, for sale at £600.  My first reaction was not one of adulation. I think she has done more than one version of this subject and I totally accept that for her they are inspirational according to her website.

For me this is not inspirational. When I photographed the example at the hospital for some reason it did not come out. What I find so unbefitting about this, and I hope she will not mind me saying so, is that the eyes are completely wrong. They are western eyes.   If I look into the picture on the left I can see into the soul of the person and if I look in – or try to look in – to the eyes of the caricature I see nothing.

When I was in South Africa I asked an artist to paint me. She looks into the soul of the person before even lifting a brush. In my case she did the portrait but had great difficulty with the suit, I was wearing such a neat and new suit for the occasion. The reason she had difficulty was that I do not normally wear suits and do not like them. I feel she has painted the work for sale and is not asking the viewer to look deeper.

Ernest Hemingway

The greatest photographers can see into the soul of the sitter  and it is vital for the photographer or indeed the artist to have rapport with the person in order for the soul to show itself.

I much prefer black and white for portraits and here is a famous one that I love from one of my idols, the photographer Yousef Karsh.


In the corridor along with the art works I also saw some Hospital boosting awards. I think you should blow your trumpet if you have done well and the enclosed Awards speak for themselves.

Anyway, to the restaurant which is on the ground floor to the left of the main entrance. You just walk along the corridor. During the lockdown it was only staff members but now anyone can go even if you have no relative or friend in the hospital. It is quite relaxed and I have done the same with other hospitals. It seems to work well. To avoid queues, do not arrive on the hour, for example 12 o’clock or 1 o’clock as you will find many people being keen to be fed.

There is a new visual menu that was substituted for the printed A4 sheets. I have been coming to the RUH since 2016 so I wonder how many years it took for someone to do the obvious and spend a few hundred pounds on getting a proper screen but anyway, here it is.

The lunch was absolutely top rate. It was a beef madras with lots of glorious hunks of beef cooked in a rich sauce together with mountains of rice. I then followed it with rhubarb and pear tart with lashings of custard. I got lashings of custard because I said to the lady server “I love lashings of custard”. Sometimes it works to tell people what you want and you might actually get it.

I must admit I staggered off and went up to the eye clinic, 20 minutes before my 2.30 appointment. I was summoned by a nurse who did my eye testing and gave me some relaxant medication. I then went to an optician who photographed my eyes in the detailed way that only departments with good equipment can do. There was a half hour pause and a doctor called my name. I was very glad to see him because back in 2016 when they started to treat me, he was also there so it was very nice to get continuity.

He is Mr. Asif Kiana Sultan, I guess from Pakistan and his manner was thoroughly professional, dedicated and personal not to mention quietly authoritative. He actually apologized to me for keeping me waiting because he had gone through all my records to see the trend. To cut a long story short, he found that the monthly injections had resulted in stabilization over the past few months. There was a huge difference in my left eye where the long standing cataract had been sitting. I asked him about the right eye and he said that there is some cataract matter but it would be premature to remove it at this point and he suggested that I come back in one year. He said that the amount of improvement that I would get if I had an operation now would be only about 4% and said that there is a risk attached to any operation.

I found his deportment and his care very calming and reassuring so don’t believe all you hear about the National Health Service going down the drain, the Eye Department of the Royal United Hospital is certainly not going down the drain and that is due to the dedicated and constant efforts of the staff in this very busy unit. It covers a 30 mile radius by the way so I am very lucky to be within such easy reach of this obviously top class facility.

We come back to this issue of doing something with love, versus doing it mechanically. The same could be said of food. To me, if a meal has been cooked with love, care and attention, it actually tastes good whereas if it has been thrown together without caring, sometimes my body does not even want to take it. It tastes, but it does not taste. I cannot put this fully into words

Back to Bath City

Fortuitously, a bus was waiting for me  as I exited the hospital but we could not get out because there was a lady who had parked her car right across not only double white lines but double white lines with strips. The driver had to wait until the lady condescended to come back to the car with her patient, who took some time to squeeze himself into the vehicle and then she got in, waved and grinned in and embarrassed way, and drove off.  Some people just do not think.

As we were boarding the bus a man turned up who was quite disorientated.  There was nothing wrong with him.  He wanted to go to the park and ride  and was not sure how to get there.  There used to be 2 park and rides, one, the number bus 42, went straight to Odd Down and the other went far the city centre where a change of bus is required.

He requested assurance from the  bus driver whose first language was not English so me being me I stepped in  and made a joke and said he must have been away for a number of years and he said no, actually it was only one year that he has been away. This reminds me how much things change over such a short time so we had a little chat and he went upstairs to sit down. I like to think that I made a little bit of difference to his journey

To the city centre and a fruitless attempted to find a earphone speaker cord for my one plus six Android.  I think I have more chance of finding one on the internet as the permutations and combinations of leads and plugs are so great.

There was a fruit stall in the middle of a shopping Mall where all types of vegetables were being sold for 50p because it was the end of the day but I really couldn’t be bothered even with the bargain prices.

I opened up a conversation with a lady whose accent I could tell was Polish when I was looking at one of the tea and cake shops by a bridge in Bath. I told her of my rather useless obsession with accents and said I was fairly good on American, Canadian, Irish, Dutch, German, French, Australian, New Zealand and of course South African but I had not listened to enough Polish people to know whereabouts they lived in the country because I’m sure there must be many different types of Polish accents. Anyway she told me a name that was so long that I instantly forgot it but it was definitely not near Warsaw or Gdansk which is on the coast. We wished each other all the best and went our separate ways. Latvian and Estonian are other tricky languages to get my ear around.

I decided to have a self-indulgent feast so had a piece of apple tart and a latte  and stood eating it overlooking the weir  which with the amount of rainfall we have had, was in full flood. There were not many visitors around and I must say I do find it a bit difficult when the place is overcrowded but I know the shops need footfall so I dont begrudge the situation too much

In the distance I saw a row of trees across the river in their fine shades of brown and reflected that in two or three weeks time the trees would be bare so this is a sentimental photograph showing autumn

To the bus station and I jump on the 173 to Wells. A very nicely dressed lady ask the bus driver, does this go to Wells. He could have pointed to the destination board on the front of the bus but just assured her and a little later on I discovered that she was uncertain about the journey because she normally went there by car. She needed assurance for the same reason that I look in the mirror and make sure my hair, or what is left of it, is in good order. I find people who are completely sure of everything very bombastic and difficult to deal with so when I see an exhibition of human frailty I can cope with that any day of the week.


So my dear readers, you have got this far and  I hope I have not bored you to death. You can turn any day into an interesting day if you pay attention to  detail, turn off your mobile phones and see what is going on around you, and engage with anyone with a pulse who shows the slightest bit of interest. People normally give away whether they are interested in communication via body language so if you get used to reading that then you are well on the way. It is not so much confidence, but knowledge of how people tick that determines where they can be a good chatter to strangers

_______ VIDEO DIARY_______

Here is a video to warm your heart. Have you heard of Mr Beast? No? Well, get a load of this.



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