Grief

Remembering that kindness works both ways

When my husband was called up urgently in the evening by a consultant haematologist to come into the acute assessment unit at the local hospital, on the same day as he had had a routine blood test at the GP practice, this was never going to be ‘normal’. My husband...

Remembering Dolly and the nurture of nature.

It is Autumn now and I still really miss her.  Every morning, that leap of joy as I went downstairs to see if she was still with us, and in the warm, soft evenings, talking gently under the tree, her eyes following me, knowingly, wise beyond her years.  She...

Re- directing: a strange encounter

I was 27.  It happened in a grimy, makeshift shopping centre in northwest London. Not a market, not a mall. Just a thrown together collection of plywood partitions, most spaces empty, a few selling tarnished metal jewellery, the type that turns your skin back,...

Remembering: those who saved us

Yesterday I said goodbye to one of my heroes. It turns out he was a hero to rather a lot of people. Many stood at the back of the cathedral behind me. I don’t think I have cried so much for anyone since my beloved grandfather died in 2004. Both men shared a huge...
Re-calling: one terrifying night

Re-calling: one terrifying night

What haunts you? What stories can you still tell, word for word, second by second, after thirty years? What experiences are carved on your brain with laser like indelibility? The scream that pierced the early morning dark woke me with a start. I sat bolt upright, ears...

read more
Reaching out

Reaching out

“I'm not ready to go yet.” The words were barely understandable through the sobs, but the feeling and power with which they were spoken was immense. My patient was in her 30's and had been admitted through the Emergency Department to the surgical ward I was working on...

read more
Reactivating: when your job is grief

Reactivating: when your job is grief

Grief comes, like love, in myriad forms, chameleon-like, shape shifting, shadow dancing, furtive and furious, all consuming, ever-present, ineluctable. It hits with the power of a tornado, obliterating everything in its path and it lingers, a festering presence eating...

read more
Re-living the past: a chance encounter with grief

Re-living the past: a chance encounter with grief

He was there, right behind me. I could smell his shaving foam, feel his cotton shirt brush my ear, anticipate his painful bear hug of love. A warm wash of homecoming enveloped me. I was safe, I was home, I was where I was always meant to be. At his side. Except I...

read more
Respecting: Life and Death

Respecting: Life and Death

“It’s not life and death!” How often do we say that, euphemistically, to reduce whatever it is we are agonising over to its relevant size? But sometimes it is. Life and death. I knew my friend and neighbour was going to die and that it would be soon, but I did not...

read more
Re-surfacing: Hyperemesis Gravidarum part 3

Re-surfacing: Hyperemesis Gravidarum part 3

Sunday 13th I feel very odd at 6 a.m. Palpitations, pounding heart, very light headed and I am still lying flat. I mention it to the midwife who says that tests from last weekend show I have a thyroid problem. She gives me a temazepam.  I feel very shaky,...

read more
Re-evaluating: Hyperemesis Gravidarum part 2

Re-evaluating: Hyperemesis Gravidarum part 2

Saturday 12th And so begins the worst day of my life. D returns from a nightshift and at nine o’ clock  a girl from F’s nursery arrives to look after her while he sleeps; I am unable to sit up without vomiting, let alone look after a nearly three year old. He...

read more
Re-gurgitating: Hyperemesis Gravidarum part 1

Re-gurgitating: Hyperemesis Gravidarum part 1

This is the first of three posts this week from a patient wanting to share her story from 15 years ago. We are very grateful for her honesty. As health care professionals we are really only spectators to snippets of our patients lives. The ten minutes or so of each...

read more
Renegotiating: When Worlds Collide

Renegotiating: When Worlds Collide

The evening started like any other, a day spent sleeping poorly, counting the hours until another long night spent in the emergency department. My disguise laid out; dark green scrubs, pens, stethoscope and an ID badge. My hair is scraped back off my shoulders and I...

read more