Dolly61's Blog

The National Health Service is 65 years old today.  If pressed I would have said it was older.  It’s just always been around helping everyone out in my experience.

 I was born with a heart murmur and jaundice so my introduction to the NHS was fairly rapid.  I’m told the overture to my life was blues and twos and the screech of ambulance tyres.  Me?  Dramatic? I believe I spent a while in a cosy incubator while my Mum was in a different hospital as the NHS took care of her asthma as they continued to do for the next 9 years.

When I was eight I had a “lazy eye” which the NHS fixed with the minimum of fuss.  I remember the nurse bringing in her teddy to meet mine and reading my get well cards to me – I can remember her smile, her soft voice and kindness but not her name.

Then there’s a bit of a gap where the NHS just sort of hummed away in the background, helping others produce several children who I’m really rather fond of, mending various broken limbs (none of mine) and generally being taken for granted.

Which brings me to 2011 of course.  One thing about our NHS which astounded me was what happened to me immediately after the word “Oncology” is spoken.  All of a sudden I breezed through the long queue for a Blood Test, holding up my “URGENT ONCOLOGY PATIENT” card like Garth and Wayne’s back stage pass, sometimes waits were still quite long but I still felt cared for the entire time; my specialist Nurse got to know me so well because she took the time to, that she knew how I was really doing behind the smiles and bravado.  All I had to do was rock up every day and have treatment that costs the NHS thousands and me nothing and not a day goes by when I’m not grateful.  Today, especially, I’ll pause to just put that gratitude out there.

I was extremely saddened to see that woman who along with her sisters inspired my purchase and wearing of boob tubes and tight satin jeans way before Olivia Newton John, the gorgeous Bernie Nolan had died yesterday of breast cancer.  She didn’t “lose her fight” no matter what the tabloids say.  It’s one of my absolute bug bears.  So if she had fought harder she would have survived? Why don’t the papers just go the whole hog and splash the headline “The huge wimp Bernie Nolan was too cowardly to carry on yesterday …” – it’s nonsense and I do so wish they wouldn’t use the expression.

 RIP lovely girl, let’s hope there’s heated rollers and lots of Elnett up there and the disco ball is forever twirling, covering your beautiful face in flickers of light.


1.  Even if you don’t have much notice ensure you pack a bag with your LEAST embarrassing nightwear.  You may also purchase a special “just in case I have to go to hospital” fluffy dressing gown to be kept in its packaging so that you don’t turn up on the ward sporting the coffee and spaghetti sauce stained one.

2.  Hospital stays bring out the best and the worst in people.  Therefore you will probably have to suffer the ” loudly complaining about EVERYTHING”  fellow patient.  Try and find the funny side.  Maybe one day you can blog about … oh,I don’t know … the woman in the leopard print dressing gown who after a day of making a fuss about everything, being utterly uncooperative and being beastly to everyone shouted “WHY is everyone so SHORT with me today??”.  This lack of self-awareness can be extremely amusing to fellow patients and even stop the bad thoughts about her tripping over her drip tube.

3.  Nurses.  Firstly, they all do a GREAT job and should be praised from the skies BUT like the rest of us they have personality traits.  Therefore, probably best not to offer a bet as to whether or not you need an operation to the strict West Indian nurse.  She won’t take it in good humour and you will spend rest of the time on her ward smiling sheepishly at her and mouthing “but I was JOKING”.  Similarly in my experience Asian nurses will give it to you straight.  For example:

Nurse: Why are you crying?

Me: I’m a bit worried about the surgery.

Nurse: Oh you’ll be asleep, don’t worry about that …. no, you should be worried about waking up IN GREAT PAIN….

Find the nurse with the twinkle in her eye.  She’ll be there – she always is.  She will make you laugh when you’re feeling desperately low,  do little kind gestures that make you cry with gratitude and be your friend until she gives you a hug and waves you off in the lift.  Mine was Susan.  Words honestly can’t express how lovely she is.  If you find yourself a “Susan” on your ward, you’ll be absolutely fine, even in your coffee stained dressing gown.

OK so first proper blog.  Be gentle with me.  I’ve just finished the essay part of the first year of my Masters degree.  I’ve also been taking HRT tablets for nearly two months and there’s some other personal stuff happening.  Throughout it all Twitter friends have made me laugh, been supportive and taken my mind off the bad times.  Some follow me and say nothing; some I follow and they answer back about general stuff and some I have the pleasure of being able to DM should the need arise.  All are important to me.  I’ve learnt people get hurt, are eye-crossingly funny and are tremendously supportive no matter who they are.  I’ve leanrnt no matter the time of day or night if I have insomnia and feel low I can grab my phone and smile as I catch up with names who are people and even if I don’t respond can still make me laugh or think …so if you’re reading this … thank you x

It’s Sunday morning and I should really be reading a book on Venetian architecture.  However I’ve wanted to try this blogging business for ages so what better time to start.  As I get used to this thing I’ll learn how to add pictures and make it a bit more personal. However, I’m hoping to make it interesting – if the musings of a mature student can be interesting – let’s see!

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