Friends

20 November 2017

LET'S GO TO THE BALL

Let's Go To The Ball


In 1954 Patrick and I did the journey to Capecastle to celebrate his parents ruby wedding, a grand affair with a marquee and a slap-up meal and attended, it seemed, by the entire population of Northern Ireland.

'A great fuss,' grumbled Patrick, who was not keen on crowded functions. Nevertheless, he didn't mind joining his four brothers for after-dinner drinks … half a crate of Bushmills whiskey which was probably still illicit. And he didn't mind staying in bed the whole of the following day and night, cursing the pain in his head and blaming me for allowing it to happen.

Well, I enjoyed the anniversary party but if you were to ask me what I ate or to outline the topics discussed around the table I'd be hard pressed to remember. What does come to mind was the decision of the Portrush group to attend the village ball. It would be a perfect end to a perfect day. Or so I was led to believe.

My dress was ideal for a ball being ankle-length and created from shimmering pink parachute silk, though the high-heeled satin shoes were hardly fit for walking the dark and muddy lanes. Patrick assured me that I looked like a princess. I took that with a pinch of salt considering his inebriated condition.

Brimming over with jollity, we arrived at the dance hall. I remember turning the corner of the lane and seeing the single lantern over the door of a wooden hut. And I remember the mirth deserting my soul. I had expected more than a decrepit shack to dance in. I had expected to be whirling around a Casino-type place in the arms of my well-oiled husband.

One of the brothers took my arm and guided me towards the entrance. Patrick trailed behind singing Baa Baa Black Sheep. I was mortified when we reached the door and Patrick began chanting, Yes, sir; Yes, sir, three bags full, to the amusement of the man on the door. I was so humiliated ... and was even more so when the doorkeeper seized my left hand and quick as a flash imprinted the back with a black-ink date stamp. My entrance ticket, I was told, and a pass-out. I complained bitterly about the mess but was reassured that the ink would eventually wash off. The word ‘eventually’ bothered me no end.

Inside that glorified shed, straight-backed wooden chairs were arranged in rows on two sides, with a single chair bang in the middle of the floor. A red-cheeked, robust individual with a shillelagh under his arm paced to and fro inspecting the floor and shouting instructions to an elderly man in a grey cap and tweed jacket who was scattering chalk like he was feeding the fowl.

And then the band arrived. 'Here's the band,' Patrick cried, as one man and his fiddle sauntered towards the chair in the centre of the room. I closed my eyes, convinced I was hallucinating, but opened them again when the first musical strains hit the air. The fiddler was standing on the wobbly chair, tapping one hob-nailed boot in tune to an Irish jig, his red polka-dot kerchief crumpled between the fiddle and his chin. Around him ruddy-faced farmers, fingers dyed blue with crop spray, danced at arms-length with their wives, solemn-faced women, straight-legged and aloof.

Totally bewildered, I joined Patrick and the brothers on the hard chairs and bemoaned my fate. I felt like an overdressed dummy though Patrick continued to assure me I was the belle of the ball. If he could've transferred his intoxication to the poker-faced couples on the chalk-strewn floor, I would have been better pleased. If he had been sober, my presence in a room smelling of classrooms and wood yards might have been more tolerable. And then I saw the funny side of it. I started to laugh, and Patrick laughed, and the brothers joined in. The fiddle-player grinned and broke into a livelier jig. And I wouldn't have missed the experience for the world.

So when I am asked what my in-laws ruby wedding was like, I reply with truth that it was a remarkable affair. But it's not the event that comes to mind, it's the jolly-faced fiddle player with the polka-dot kerchief and the amiable grin.

Please note that this is almost a true story; although I was there and at that dance I felt obliged to change all names

19 November 2017

Confusion Reigns!

This is a follow-up of my last post, written because one of you might have an inkling as to what I should do. I think this is the first time in my life that I have been so flummoxed. 

I am still wondering what to do for the best ... something or nothing? On hearing what doctor said friend, Judy, instructed me to phone the hospital for the result. I waited for the weekend to pass rather than upset the hospital staff by phoning on their days off!!! So, to be prepared for making a Monday phone call, I fished out the letter received before I had the procedure. 

Below is a photo of the instructions received from hospital prior to gastroscopy (not endoscopy as quoted on  earlier post). There is a list of do's and don'ts but it distinctly says 'copy report will be sent to doctor within 10-14 days'.  It goes on to say PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE US TO FIND OUT RESULTS. 
Which begs the question, if the doctor says it is not his responsibility to give me the results, whose flippin' responsibility is it?



17 November 2017

ENDOSCOPY RESULT


It is three weeks since I had the endoscopy (a camera inserted in the gullet). At the time, after I had been dealt with, I was told by the head technician that the result would be known in ten days. 

This was a different hospital and better than the one where the gall bladder was scanned. At that time, I was told the result on the spot and the doctor knew the next day. I too received a letter from the hospital to say no problem had been found. The doctor had the same letter and promptly phoned me up with the good news. It was then he persuaded me to consider having the camera scan to find out if anything else could be found to warrant the pain I’d been in.

This second examination had a longer wait before the verdict was known. Ten days, they said. Ten days came and went and I heard nothing except a lot of jokes that no news was good news. I got to thinking the same for a while but after three weeks elapsed I began to feel concerned. My friend nagged me to get in touch with the surgery, which I did. She has to hold my hand sometimes!

Test results and the like means ringing the doctor’s secretary so that the doctor doesn’t get interrupted in the good work he’s doing. A big exclamation mark at this point  
!

I decided that today was the day I stopped being a coward and ring the surgery for the result of the scan. The system at our surgery is to go through the secretary’s office for results. This I did. After much checking who I was, right down to date of birth (ugh!), she happily told me that the note attached to my record was ‘NO FURTHER ACTION’.

A welcome response, and one I was pleased to hear, but why wasn’t I told? 

The earlier medical examination had provided a result and I had been informed – twice – so why not this time. All the doc had to do was pick up the phone, or even get his secretary to do it.

I put the phone down and began to seethe, so I rang back and formally placed a complaint. I asked that the doctor rings me with an explanation. He did so after the first examination so why not now? Secretary said I should make an appointment to see him (three weeks delay there) so I said I couldn’t get there. That’s the truth. Since I got rid of my car I have to take taxis everywhere and why should I fork out when the doctor could just ring me with the news. She said she would ask him to ring me. 

Anyway, although it’s good news I still don’t know the cause of all the problems.  I guess I just keep taking the painkiller

Thanks for listening reading, folks, it did me good to write it down, removing of some of the angst.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

PS, after writing the above I had a phone call from the doctor. He was a little put out by my phone call and told me that it wasn't his job to tell me what was what as referral to hospital meant I was then their responsibility. I think he changes the rules as he goes along. It still doesn't alter the fact that nobody told me anything. However, he did let slip that a lot of tummy parts were fine. Of course, none of this reveals why I was in so much pain!!!!!

13 November 2017

PILLOW TALK


My Joe didn’t often go shopping on his own but he decided that when he needed a new pillow he was the one to buy it. What he meant was, he wouldn’t like what I chose. So I let him go to the store on his own, secretly pleased since the two of us together should never be let loose in big stores. 

He spent more on the pillow than I would but that was his affair, not mine. Actually, his choice was good, or so he said. It was one of those pillows that remembered where you liked to put your head but always came back to the original position … a bit like memory foam, I suppose.

I have a memory foam mattress and hate it. However, since it is less than two years old I have to put up with it. Do you like sleeping on a bed that tells YOU where you should lie? I like to be my own boss in my own bed so one of these days I might change the damn thing. But I’m getting away from the subject……

Pillows!

I have to admit that my pillows were long past their sell-by date. In fact, they could be classed as archaic. So, I turned them over to the cat since he likes a pillow to lie on. One here, another there, sort of thing. I think he likes the pillow cases as much as anything. So what to do? Well, it’s obvious, use Joe’s still-new pillow – me, not the cat.

It is comfortable to lay the head on but moving to a different position promotes pillow talk. Yes, it makes peculiar noises while it settles in the new place. No kidding. I sometimes do a count to see how long it takes to settle. I guess you could say the pillow won’t settle until it’s had a chat but I ask you – at midnight? I need to sleep, I don’t need to have a conversation with a stupid pillow that is still as good as new so doesn’t warrant being chucked out.

Does anyone else have a talking pillow?