Monthly Archives: September 2017

Where modern day miracles happen.

Passing through the streets of South Kensington last Tuesday on a visit to Brompton hospital,I realised that so many of the dedicated nurses and junior doctors would never in their lives aspire to live in that part of town.This influx of dedicated humanity flood into the national heart hospital from varied us boroughs around the capital ,giving of themselves to their patients and supporting a whole army of careers too.This community ,encased within this affluent enclave of London reminds me of just how much we rely on national centres of excellence.With it’s nearby cancer centre of Royal Marsden,the blue transport sign directs you from the un derground at South Kensington to these centres of healing where we’ve come to expect miracles.Yes,we know they are only human,but their capacity for research,new techniques and medicines seems to carry on apace amidst the city rush and sea of moving humanity.When your inside the hospital,your  tied up in the fragile lives of the patients as each one has a story,an authentic one of survival.

Over the years,and I have been visiting Cardiac centres for over 30 years now ,I’ve noticed the augmentation of their charity arm,from Great Ormond Street,down to Southampton,and further afield to the West Country  at Truro.It appears that money is always in short supply,and the very success of medical research fuels a never ending need to fund care at the basic level.

Sitting in the cafe at Brompton,you get a feel for the same faces,those hardy souls battling CF or chronic lung disease and you see their endeavours in life and it stops you in your tracks,as we all tend to moan about our lot.When the sun goes down at the end of the day,the staff are still there,and,to me,as a close observer of cardiac consultants over the decades,they haven’t been told that ,at the moment,they only work a five day week,because I can vouch to their 7 day a week working patterns and their willingness to go the extra mile to stabilise their patients,allowing them dignity and a measure of strength to carry on with their life.

If these good people took away their goodwill from our NHS,then we would surely be in a sorry state,and our hospitals would grind to a sad halt.Yes,the hospital that I visited is a national centre,but I feel it vital to give a shoutout to these places where we expect miracles.You know,those “water into wine”,type events ,the last chance saloon of mortality, those new techniques developed by our most capable of people.Those people with mothers and fathers,those women juggling family life and all it’s challenges,yes,special people who still have the mundane tasks to do that we all do.

By writing these words,pressing publish on this WordPress ,I’m reminding myself of what a gem our NHS is ,because without it ,so many of our loved ones wouldn’t be here and that salient fact shouldn’t be ignored when we hear of dedicated ones resorting to food banks and the like just to survive.

Hospitals can be depressing places,I agree,but they are also places where hope resides,where good people give of their skills for the furtherance of their fellow man and what a true joy that is to witness.

When you see a person receive life saving surgery and just look at their faces,that is a truly wonderful thing,and I wanted to acknowledge the work of all those in hospitals up and down Great Britain tonight.


The Voice on the train!

As I sat on the underground yesterday from Richmond to South Kensington,my sensitive hearing soaked up the sounds of the rolling stock as it trundled along the rails,From Richmond it did its stuff through to Kew Gardens before reaching Gunnersberry.As the train stopped at that station,allowing for passengers to alight and to board,I notice the surgical attachments to the aural cavities of the passengers,and it’s struck me that I’ve been travelling the underground,on and off since the 1970s.Now,as then,you get the hardy stalwarts who are devotees f the broadsheets,or the “Evening Standard”,and,of course,the young pretender to the throne for f underground newspaper,”The Metro”.However,the majority of travellers now occupy their journey with their phones in one guise or another,Yes,without wishing to bore you any more with my opinions no on the I-phone,something really impressed me yesterday as I travelled into the centre of the city and to my destination.

My journey on the district line ma route that I have taken many times before,panned out like this:aHaving been quite tired from quite a few journeys to London from my home on the Dorset /Hants border,I was struggling to stay awake,but then from my right side,and elderly lady used her phone.She wasn’t the typical user,rather like me,as she appeared to wonder what to do with this “thing” in her hand,but she persevered with the call.When she dialled the number,waiting for the receiver to pick up,she answered the call:”Hello Fiona,how are you ,and how is Charlotte?Have you heard how she is in Cuba?As she waited for the response,she let out a huge sigh of relief!You see,her relative wasn’t in Cuba where the eye of IRMA was heading,but in the South American country of Chile.Her relief was real,her sigh of ecstasy was real,quite a wonderful thing to witness in the human spirit.Her care and concern was real,not false or forced.

It’s funny that she wasn’t aware of my attention,of my life,of my visit to a hospital to visit a dear loved one.She didn’t need too,of course,but she showed humanity,a display of care,of compassion,of concern.These small ,but significant events are there in life,it’s just that so many other things crowd them out ,making it very hard to discern our fellow man.

Now,we all have our ups and downs ,our aches and pains,but sometimes,just sometimes,we know of those who grapple with life at the very sharpest end,and we need to reach out to them as much as we can.Its Funny that that lady had much much re in common wth a stranger to her like me than she ever thought,and this s my blog post for this Sunday.Thank yand u for reading my prose as you are contributed no to my mental Health more than you will ever know.

Thank you from Adrian Smith on this Sunday in September,2017.


That time just before its rains,when you’ve not got a coat,and umbrellas don’t work when your walking on the beach with the Atlantic winds stirring up,angry,not to be appeased,Yes,he realised that the drops would be felt on his head,then his back until the rain pelts you from all angles,You get drenched pretty quick,even though you start to run,to run for your life,and then you realise that your alone ,as you have your son with you.For years,you had told him about the winds on Porth,and maybe he sort of got fed up with hearing the stories,as if they had become prescribed beach myths from his old Dad.aNiw,in that moment,in the hour,every minute,every second,the wind blew the rain ,and it blew it to you and for you.It had a life all of its own,it was making its impressions on you,on us.Its memory has lingered long in our memories ,our Cornish folklore.Since that day,I’ve walked on many beached up and down Breat Britain,but nothing to compare it with that day ,that time that place,fore shared memories of any sort,even in adversity change us,draw us closer together.

As the years pass,we all have stormy times in our life.Sometimes,we fight against them and win,others we feel that we are swimming against the tide and progress seems futile,but those times,that time is remembered,stored,drawn upon to live without thbeing n us again,so to speak.On that day,we found an Oasis in the local pub upon the beach,father and son ,a shared memory,a stormy day,but a shared day.We couldn’t stand up too well,but we were better off together.Truth is,we need to share good times,and,if we really want to be grown ups,we need to learn to share the tougher times,for out f them,we will grow to appreciate ,to live with greater vibrancy and purpose.

So,as the rain starts to fall:That was my memory muse today.