Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Who's on your drum skin then?

Well, the Tigers Bay First Flute may need a new drum skin this year, as the Doc may not like the idea of the Deputy being hammered on the 12th.

I wonder who they might be able to choose instead??

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bye bye analogue.... Hello iPod

Getting older is a strange sensation. There's no doubt that you think it will never happen to 'you'!! And even thinking that way seems hackneyed. Then all these little things start to happen and their accumulation makes you wonder about the passing years.

I was in Curry's a while back, in search of an alarm clock. You know what I mean? Little box, green light, goes ding at 7 and lets Wendy and Seamas into your bedroom? Well, no kidding, Curry's don't do that kind of alarm clock any longer.

DAB clocks appeared to be big, but what blew my mind were the Ipod gadgets in the store. I know Ipods, having purchased 3 for the offspring, but I genuinely, honestly had no idea they were the whizzing gadgets they appear to be. To have an alarm clock now, it seems you need an iPod to plug into it. To have almost anything in Curry's now, it seemed that an iPod was an essential component. Wow.

And then this:

Now to be fair, I stopped using tape recorders many years ago, and went digital, but it did strike me that our march toward modernity is unstoppable. I remember when digital thermometers were introduced to hospitals, they were just the latest 'must have' for the up to date hospital. It always makes me a little wistful when I realise that younger generations have no idea how to use glass ones, or indeed that they ever existed.

I suppose we should rail against the night, but I think I'd prefer to do it with dignity. It often occurred to me that my ex-husband's need for a much younger wife had a lot to do with convincing himself when he looked at the couple in the mirror that as long as one of them was young it worked for both of them!! Mind you, that hasnt worked all that well, but thats a tale for another day.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Last day of school

Today is my last MA class in Queens for this year. I know that certain people scoff at adult learners, indeed in my day it was quite an embarrassment. But returning to Queens, graduating and going on to start my MA has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I have ever done in my life.

We are never too old to be challenged, and there is no doubt that studying a subject with which you feel you are completely familiar is a robust challenge. The first time I read Liam Kennedy's MOPE article, I threw it across the room in rage and disgust. I thought the man was bonkers, to be honest, or that he was missing some deep understanding of the Irish psyche.

It has taken some time to realise that we have created this 'imagined Ireland' concept, and it has been a construct in many ways. One of the best books on the subject is Eric Hosbawm's 'Invented Traditions'. He explores and explodes many myths about the things we feel have been 'there forever'. More to the point, he looks at the reasons for doing so.

I am always preaching that we should never be comfortable in our views, we should always search seek and challenge what we believe in and why.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Who dares to speak of '77

The way things used to be, originally uploaded by missfitzphotos.

I thought it was timely to post a photo of the 1977 Fianna Fail election manifesto for a variety of reasons. This was a ground breaking election for the party then, and my memory is of much simpler and much less sophisticated times.

Having said that, the Manifesto is probably the height of election swindling, in that it is full of empty, vague promises with little structure or thought behind them. A little like the recent promise to remove stamp duty in the Republic for first time buyers in this years election.

Looking back is not always healthy, but it can be salutory

When is a heart attack not a heart attack......

I gave great consideration to writing about this, but in the end I thought.... why not! If we want to share a negative experience, it seems that we have no second thoughts or hesitation about it, but we seem to be a lot less forward about saying nice things.

In my case, I have good things to say about the NHS, of all the heretical things in the world......

I am quite habitual in my routine on Friday nights. I always buy 10 cigarettes, a bottle of wine and the Belfast Telegraph. I dont smoke any other day of the week, and I would only generally have a glass of wine one or two nights a week with dinner, but I zone out on Fridays and normally I enjoy it.

Last Friday, I had my usual crime and smoking night, and toddled off to bed. I woke at 3 am with a crushing pain in my chest. At 3.30, I called my son because I couldnt walk, talk or wish the pain away. After one look at my ashen face, he dialled 999 and I sat outside in the yard gasping for air.

When I realised I was going to have to go to hosptial, I gave a little thought to my state of dress and decided a pair of knickers would be a must for the preservation of modesty. I sent the child upstairs for same garment, but even in the throes of what I thought was a heart attack, I wouldnt wear granny knickers!

In the end, although it seemed an eternity, the 2 nice men arrived in their ambulance, mercifully sans blue flashing lights. They were calm and reassuring, and led me to the back of their truck and hooked me up. Give them their dues, they were very tolerant of me and even indulged when I asked to read my 12-lead ECG. I havent read one in 15 years, but it was like riding a bicycle and I assured myself I wasnt having heart attack after all.

The hospital was beyond reproach. It was clean, efficient and even though it was 4 in the morning the staff were cheerful, empathetic and superb. The Consultant arrived at 8.30 in the morning, and we chatted and he listened very carefully to my differential diagnoses. When I was a nurse, I despised patients like me, but Dr Devlin took it in his stride.

There was one very scary Ward sister in the CCU, who induced some ugly flashbacks for me from my days as a student nurse. In the end, I tried to avoid her which seemed to suit both if us. I had been promised a blood test at 3.30 in the evening, with a 4 pm discharge. They delivered their promises to the tee.

I have nothing but praise and commendation for Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry on this occasion. We hear so many o f the bad things that can happen in hospital care, and to be fair some pretty bad things happen. All the more reason perhaps to give praise where praise is most definitely due.

By the way, I've decided to treat this as a warning, and wont be 'binge smoking' on a Friday any more. With the new smoking ban now in force, its time to quit for good, I hope!