Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 5 October 2012
I became a bit tetchy last night, and now in the cold light of day I understand a little clearer why.
If you could see my sister lying in her hospital bed (five foot ten inches tall and around six stone in weight, as I have already mentioned), aged 68 but looking closer to 80 - actually, well past 80 - then you will understand how I became so impotently angry yesterday. I came very close to driving to her hospital to give a male nurse a very stern talking-to indeed.
My niece told me last night that she had endured an awful day and evening, thanks to the unspeakably cruel and insensitive behaviour of one particular male nurse. My niece tells me that all the other permanent nurses on her ward are the typical caring angels that we hope for, but this bloke seems to be a stand-in and temporary aberration.
He made my dear sister actually cry by saying, "Oh no!", when he found that her pad (to the bedpan) was dirty, then he gave her a new bedpan without a pad, and when the thing split as it inevitably would, snapped at her that she had 'wet the bed', and showed marked signs of anger with her, causing her to break down in tears. He himself showed no signs of remorse at the effects of his appalling attitude.
You have to understand that my sister does not even have the strength to lift herself up in bed to a sitting position, and is made more comfortable every day by her own daughter.
For God's sake, my sister came within a hair's breadth of dying only 2 weeks ago, and is still not out of the woods. To have to endure the humiliation of her situation, exacerbated by the bad practice of a nurse who - in my view - has no business looking after any people, let alone ones as vulnerable as my sister, is just too much.
What draws uncaring people into caring jobs? I shudder to think.
When I was in primary school, my mother sent me in one day with a note explaining that I had a minor bladder infection, and that if I asked to be excused during class, this was the reason. I was about 8 years old, and I handed the note to the teacher, who briefly looked at it then put it to one side.
Half way through the class, I raised my hand and asked if I could go to the toilet. The teacher refused permission, and told me to stay in my seat, telling me I should have gone before I entered class.
Of course, about five minutes later, I could hold on no longer and I pissed myself.
When the class ended, she told everyone to get up and leave the room, but - because I had a massive damp patch over my grey, short trousers, I stayed seated. She started screaming at me to stand up and leave, and when I finally did, I burst into tears through shame and humiliation.
I expected her to comfort me as my mother would have done, but how wrong I was.
She called all the other children back into the room and told me to turn around and face them as she said, "Stephenson has wet himself." Everyone in the mixed class laughed and jeered at me until I was rescued by a playground monitor who took me into the staff room and dried me off. Even in the staff room, most of the rest of the school laughed, stared and pointed at me through the windows until they were told by the monitor to go away and leave me alone. Up until this point, the elderly woman monitor had always been considered a real dragon, but the humanity she showed me was - although only human and to be expected in any other circumstances - truly kind.
Every word of the above is true, and although this happened many years ago, this sort of thing still seems to be going on anywhere where vulnerable people are forced to be - children or adult.