Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Leaving St M's in a hurry yesterday, busy morning several hold-ups I was hurrying to get to Sainsbury's to do my large weekly shop.
Successfully negotiated cobbles of Pebble Lane turned into the paved square and tripped on an uneven one, fell very fast and very heavily on my knees then 'splatt' on my face.
Blood was pouring from nose and I was somewhat shaken to say the least. Two wonderful Chinese fellows ran out from their restaurant one phoning for an ambulance the other trying to pick me up.
When they saw the state of me one of them grabbed some napkins or kitchen roll or similar and held it to my face while the other knelt down on the pavement behind me and half pulled up so I was leaning back on him. Poor little fellow was half my size and he was shaking even more than me.
Ambulance arrived took over and took me to the local hospital. Arriving at about 12.45 pm. From there it was a longish wait for Triage who fast-forwarded me (about half an hour) to see a doctor who would assess the damage and recommend treatment.
He was a really nice chap and took great pains to get all the facts right before telling me he thought rather than deal with it there they would get the plastic surgeon to come and see me.
All this time blood was hardly being stemmed by the succession of pads they gave me.
Finally at 4.30 the Surgeon had a look and told me I had sliced my nose to the bone, cutting the main artery to the nose which was why they couldn't stop the bleeding and he was not sure whether the nose was broken.
The next half hour was about the least pleasant one of my life, injections in my mouth lower and upper lips, in the inner corners of my eyes my cheeks and then worst of all about 8 or more tiny ones in my poor nose,
He then cauterised the artery which slowed and finally stopped the bleeding and then proceeded to stitch my nose from top to bottom washed some of the blood off me, put plaster strips on the nose and said that was it.
I won't pretend I was brave, I wasn't, it hurt, all the time and my hours of holding things to my nose to stem the flood had left my arms weak and shaking.
After the usual questions about my life a lovely nurse persuaded me that now was the time to make use of the offers of help from my neighbours. Looked one up for me, phoned her, explained the problem and she came and collected me to take me home.
It was then 7.30pm and I had had nothing to eat or drink since my coffee at St M's at 10.30.
The Close grapevine had got to work and someone had put my heating on and two of them brought a batch of tins of soup. One made tea and the other heated the soup.
I had been told I was not to lie flat but sit propped upright with pillows at night and also not to lean forward or bend down in case the bleeding starts again. Nor am I allowed to blow my nose, th eone thing I am dying to do.
That's my latest tale of woe, but oh my goodness, is it peppered with wonderful kind caring people.
The angel may have been looking elsewhere, but luckily for me no-one else was.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 5:01:00 pm
Thursday, 15 January 2015
The wind is shaking the house and even through the double-glazing blinds and curtains it is howling like a wild animal in pain.
Earlier sitting at the front desk in St. Mary's (Meet and greet) they call it, but there is no-one to meet and greet when the weather is so cold wet and windy.
"We are lucky here in this area where we seldom see the extremes of weather" we tell ourselves, but, bent double to hide from wind and rain, standing waiting for the bus it somehow seems less true.
Why is it expected of us that we be stoic and unfazed by regular soakings, freezings and generally being 'roughed-up' by gales.
"A mild winter" they say. Doesn't feel mild to me I think.
"Soon be spring" they say. Really? Not in my Welsh calendar it won't.
Too little physical exertion during the day leads to sleepless nights, for me anyway. So a good book is a necessity, and sometimes, just now and then, I actually find one among the library's mountain of dross.
My current one is very good indeed , "The coward's tale" by Vanessa Gebbie is a rare treasure. The author, new to me, has a wonderful descriptive narrative style, similar only to Dylan Thomas.
It is the kind of book which, far from rushing to the end, makes you want to read only a little at a time so that it will last indefinitely.
Reading at night for hours makes my eyes sore anyway so have had to give up for a while.
Some people lie there for hours trying to force sleep to come. That doesn't work for me but night-time activities are restricted and for me TV is a no-go after midnight, so the computer has a stronger than usual attraction.
Have just peered out of the window and the back garden is a lake with a frosting of snow. It will soon turn to sleet again I'm sure but it is not an inviting sight at 2.30 am.
Today, or rather yesterday, I collected two pairs of glasses from my optician, One for reading very small print and the other for watching TV if it becomes a strain.
I have incipient cataracts in both eyes which have not moved for years but I am told, are now doing so. So at some stage both will have to be operated on. Not a pleasant thought, but I have got away with it for a good while so I suppose I should be grateful.
My spirits are beginning to turn morose so will stop before the gloom spreads.
Sleep happily on dear readers, I only envy you a little.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 2:41:00 am
Thursday, 1 January 2015
That said, I have to add to my previous list "The Help" and this evening "Quartet".
These are two of the best films I have seen in about 20 years.
The first, for anyone who doesn't know, is the story of a white American journalist who took the brave and unusual path of trying to bring to the attention of a deeply prejudiced and habitually racist white South, the fact that the black domestic staff they employed were people with lives and needs, gifts and talents, intellects and problems, such as their own.
Superbly acted and faithful to the terrible truths of those times (1960's), the story is full of uncomfortable truths about the American apartheid system in some of the Southern States and the lack of recognition of that system by the bulk of the American population.
For those of us who remember "bussing" and the Ku Klux Klan, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, the film is a memory jog and a recognition that though life is better than it was for the non-whites in the USA, there is a long way to go still.
The second film, "Quartet" is supremely well acted and for me, as an ancient ex-singer mainly of opera, very true to life in its depiction of crumbling bodies, tottering mentalities and voices which barely resemble a shadow of their former glory.
The entire cast is a jewel casket of top performers, amongst whom Maggie Smith and Tom Courtney shine with all the fire they possessed 40 years ago.
Full of humour, pathos and lovely music it was a joy to watch and I wish I had gone to the cinema to see it when it first was released.
Not having set foot in a cinema for over forty years I funked it at the time knowing that sooner or later it would be shown on TV.
It was worth waiting for.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:27:00 pm