Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Another story of NHS failure

In the last 24 hours I have watched my daughter endure pain that no human should have to. As a mother it is incredibly challenging thing to watch. The feelings of helplessness cannot be described. My absolute loss of faith in the health system knows no bounds now and I am very grateful for my training in complimentary care.

We had a very unfruitful visit to the doctor's rooms yesterday afternoon. When she spoke to her in the morning, the doctor insisted that she had to see her which caused her a huge amount of extra pain to get to the surgery. She could not sit down and had to stand against the wall in reception, waiting. She had tears running down her face. Every step she took was agony.

The doctor merely felt her back, said that the muscle was in a huge spasm and then told us that there was nothing that she could do. She wrote out more prescriptions for pain killers we already have, that are having little effect except to cause nausea and vomiting. She told us GPs cannot recommend the treatment that she needs as this has to be done by a surgeon. So, If there is nothing she can do, why tell us to come to the surgery in the first place and cause more pain?

The appointment for the surgeon is for 8 May and nothing can be done until then. She saw us out of her office telling us she would write to the surgeon again but the appointment would probably not be changed.

What was the point of this visit at all? I am still completely stunned and confused by the whole incident. As a result of having to move around, my daughter was in more pain than before. She was angry and felt helpless, that no-one wanted to help her. It broke my heart.

Sitting with her when we got home, we were able to alleviate some of her pain practising Jin Shin Jyutsu. We were able to get her pain levels to ease to a place where she could fall asleep and get a little rest. It lasted 2 hours which I am sure felt like a life time for her and made the evening easier to bare. She has had a better night too. I am grateful for that.

I still cannot help being really angry even though I know that it serves no purpose. I also have absolutely no faith left in the GPs at our surgery. When my husband had this same pain in South Africa, our GP there gave him an injection that broke the spasm and eased the pain. This was over 20 years ago. Why is this kind of medication not available for the general public here?

Sunday, 14 March 2010


As I attempt to age with grace, I realise that it is not as easy as it appears!

I live my life as authentically as I know how to, being with truth as fully as I can. It is a rich choice that I hold in my heart. It is my daily practise which requires constant vigilance. The word vigilance is derived from the latin word 'vigilare', to keep awake, to hold a vigil. It is a purposeful sleeplessness or awareness.

Keeping a vigil of my authenticity is how I know who I am and where I am expending my energy. I am not secretive about it. I just do not talk about it. It is not necessary to share it with others. If I am asked a direct question then I answer it as simply as I can. It can be risky to question me. I answer from truth.

It is how I have learned to embrace life and is deeply rooted in my experience and in my relationship with the Divine throughout the journey called my life. It is personal and not to be bandied about lightly. I understand that what I know to be true for myself may not apply to others. I have a profound respect for this. We all travel different paths. Others must be who they are. I am all that I am.

There is another reason I don't share this part of my life. When my deeper life is revealed, people are often surprised. They encounter the truth as something different to who they thought I was. However, I have not changed in that moment, only their perception of me has. I am still the same person I was a moment ago.

Living authentically means I honour and live my own experiences, even when they lead me to something different to customary views. I don't judge the difference and I don't judge anyone who does. I am purely with what I know. It is applied only to my life. Everyone else must make choices for themselves. That is called free will.

What happens on my journey is always perfect for me. I celebrate that.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Reading, writing and talking has always given me great pleasure. In my life, many situations have required me communicate clearly. Place a dictionary in front of me and I am occupied happily for an hour or two. There is something fascinating and beguiling inside a beautiful book of words. There are adventures to be found.

What does still astounds me, however, is the power that we allow words to have over us. Words spoken, written or even left unsaid can arouse people into the most uncharacteristic behaviour. The interpretation of both spoken and written words can set wars in motion and kill nations.

They can divide friends and families in an instant and they can bring them back together too. Words of forgiveness are the hardest to express. We all want to be right and morally superior to each other. We are all more passionate about words than we would care to admit.The saddest consequence of this is that words of contrition, comfort, love and reunion are often left unsaid and a great deal of pain is caused to all involved.

Sometimes words pop out on their volition, when something completely different was intended. This happened last night at the dinner table. Borneo was being his usual, the wild man of Borneo, celebrating all that encompasses cave man existence. In my impatience with his caveman antics, the word ' moron' flew out of my mouth instead 'neanderthal'. To make matters worse, there was a guest at the dinner table. An awkward stunned silence enveloped the table and I felt very ashamed of myself. I certainly had no intention of hurting him.

Thankfully he knows me well. He realised very quickly I had intended 'neanderthal', which he takes no umbrage to. The moment passed quickly and we were all able to laugh together at my momentary verbal glitch. The tension dissipated. There has been no fall out from it and we are as kind to each other as ever.

It did get me thinking about the power of words and how we often take too much too personally. We hear what we want to hear and don't listen to what is really being said. We don't want to hear truth because we may have to change something within ourselves to accommodate the shift in perspective.

How much power do words hold over your life? It is very interesting to think about.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Families and Stories

I am lying in bed listening to the noises that start the day in any home, lazy to start my own day and leave this perfect sanctuary. I have been thinking of family and the importance of sharing stories and keeping family memories alive. As I wrote my knitting blog on Sunday, I was surrounded by the familiar presence of my mother as she flooded into my memories.

Since then she has brought much joy to our family as my children saw the photographs that I posted and commented on their own memories with regard to her. It made me think about all the stories that are lost in the living of every day life. She was the family record keeper and historian. All the news filtered though her from family scattered around the world.

When we are young we are very busy and seldom see the value of all these stories but as we get older, we become more curious about these things. I bet that these are all the stories that kept the tribe entertained as they gathered around the fire in the evenings. There was not much else to amuse them. When I look at my grandmother's life, it seems one step away from that fire.

She rode to school on a donkey. She was the last of 13 children who was spoilt rotten in quite a poor household which was rather usual. They all lived on a farm where there was no running water or electricity. She was apprenticed to a tailor after 6 years of schooling.

She married a man 20 years older than her and had my mother. They also lived on a farm. She educated herself by being an avid reader and travelling at every opportunity so got. She outlived two husbands and worked as a matron at a boy's school for 20 years, playing golf at every opportunity she got.

The changes that she saw in her lifetime must have been astounding, from motor cars to airplanes, vaccinations to MRI machines, radios to television and the advent of computers. She took it all in her stride. Imagine all the stories that she lived. Every change she saw was one of them.