What A Week!

PUBLISHED: 10:51 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 04 May 2010

I HAVE really had one of those weeks. My mum was rushed to hospital on Saturday and then two hours later I received a phone call to say a family friend had died. Mum is tucked up in bed at Hinchingbooke Hospital in Huntingdon, and the machine she is wi

I HAVE really had one of those weeks. My mum was rushed to hospital on Saturday and then two hours later I received a phone call to say a family friend had died. Mum is tucked up in bed at Hinchingbooke Hospital in Huntingdon, and the machine she is wired up to is monitoring her heart, which is beating far too slowly. It's really easy to complain about the NHS, and the multi-layered administration of funding and Government decisions that sometimes let us all down, but when you experience the care and expertise first-hand it does make you realise just how much needs to be done by a very small amount of people. The nursing staff in the accident and emergency department were rushed off their feet and many of the little jobs that keep patients comfortable just don't get done unless people have helpful visitors. Things like changing the drinking and bringing in food to make up for the poor quality and tiny portions that are served up these days. Cold mushroom soup in a plastic bowl is never going to tempt anyone's appetite when they are feeling unwell. My mum is lucky, she has four children, lots of grandchildren and a husband who can all visit her regularly and attend to her needs, but there were some people on the ward who did not get any visitors and were struggling to cope. I am not criticising the nursing staff, as I said, they are rushed off their feet, it seems there is just not enough of them for the amount of people they are caring for.

The family friend had pancreatic cancer and died on Saturday morning. Cancer is just such a cruel disease isn't it? It reduces people to a frail shell of the person they once were and literally sucks all the life from them. Rose fought bravely, and when I last saw her she was still optimistic and determine to put off the inevitable for as long as possible. She was a great mum, wife and friend, and the world will be a much poorer place without her.

Not sure how to follow that really, but if you are at loose end in the next few days, there is plenty going on in Ely. Campaign Amateur Theatre's production of The Full Monty is showing at The Maltings and don't forget the open evening at Ely Cathedral on Friday evening.

I have also had some more breakfast guests in the shape of Adam Giles and Lester Millbank from Cambridge Film and Television Productions, which is based in Ely.

Adam and Lester came to talk to me about a recording they have put together called Fenland Memories. It is in CD format, and has local people recalling their memories of life in the Fens. They describe life at the time of the 1947 floods and a Fenland Christmas, but even more fascinating is listening to the accounts of the harsh day-to-day life working on the land.

If, like me, you are not local, you will learn lots of Fen phrases and even some old fashion cures for such ailments as earache and corns. Now, it's up to you, I'm sure the Fen traditions and cures were marvellous, but if a get a corn, I'm off to the chemist to buy some corn plasters!

INFO: Please see next week's Ely Standard for more information about Fenland Memories.

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