20 November 2011


Dear Sophisticated Ladies


Aung San Suu Kyi demonstrated  so much humility this week when she was interviewed and said she didn’t feel comfortable when journalists referred to her suffering. She was alive when so many of her fellow citizens had died and experienced true suffering. She is a truly inspirational woman, a beacon of light, at least she is for me. The impact of this amazing woman has been immense already and I hope will continue exponentially.


Well what a week this last one has been after my brief period of incarceration with the unique hospitality of the National Health Service. Since then I’ve managed to limit my contact with the service to that of an outpatient happy to pay the exorbitant parking charges!

 What has been curious has been the number of times people have suggested that I might want to express my dissatisfaction with my experience in hospital. Obviously I would expect this from friends, family and you my dear readers. But I was not quite so prepared to hear this from health professionals within the same establishment.

 Before I expand on this point I have to tell you about the response of a friend who I haven’t seen for a while. An older bachelor friend from a previous life one might say. He has a tendency to be, shall we say, a little self absorbed although he does have the courtesy to wrap it up in genuine concern for my welfare (when he remembers).

 The (text) conversation starts with an ‘out of the blue’ message asking how I am. Unusually for me I reply honestly saying my health is not great at the moment and I’ve been in hospital. I end by asking how he is and so you could say I asked for it! It being his response; brace yerself ladies it’s not nice! Said bachelor tells me his Chalfont’s (piles to you and I) have been playing up and it’s only now that he’s been able to sit down comfortably!

Anyway I urge you to put that unpleasant image out of your mind as I have far more important things to tell you! Funnily enough I didn’t respond to the Bachelor’s message although I doubt he will have noticed from his featherbed of pain!

Back to the Health Professionals I have interacted with this week. I saw a Consultant I had been referred to privately this week and he couldn’t have been nicer. He was knowledgeable and treated me like an intelligent sentient being which was refreshing. What’s more he had answers, offered solutions and took my suggestion as to what had happened seriously. Bugger me the patient might just have a perspective worth listening to!

Of course I am paying him so of course he’s going to be all ears as its good customer service. But he seemed genuinely concerned when I explained what had happened in hospital to the extent he asked me several times who had said what. Earlier in the day I had been told by another health ‘professional’ that the problem was that because I wasn’t showing signs of being acutely unwell nothing would be done to resolve the particular problem.

It is important that you understand that whilst one can have a diagnosis of a chronic incurable illness this is NOT the same as being acutely unwell. One merits medical intervention and the other apparently does not.

So this private appointment was overall positive as the outcome was being referred for a CT scan on the NHS. Something that would have happened eventually by which time I would presumably become acutely unwell. I simply can’t wait how exciting is the prospect of flashing blue lights in Barry!

Latter in the week I saw another Consultant for something completely different; I tell you ladies this MS thing is like a jewellery box full of must have treats! This second Consultant often talks to me about opera and is a quietly spoken sensitive professional gentleman. He is reviewing his prescribed drug regime, even though there is nothing to be done at present he is concerned to hear about the recent shenanigans.

The conversation turns to whether I have drawn the experience to the attention of anyone and whether I might want to consider doing so. Later the same day yet another person involved in the management of my condition suggests I should complain. Given my line of business the trump card is drawn slowly out of the pack; ‘what would you say to someone telling you this story?’ Nice if sneaky one!

The quandary is twofold: one I would have to reveal rather more personal detail about my condition, than I would like to, in order to convey why the experience was so horrific and two I do worry about how complaining might potentially jeopardise my future ‘care’.  This is of course why people tend not to complain and hence nothing changes.

So I, think, I have concluded that I will write to (someone) about my experience in terms of my disability i.e. how the service did not meet my needs because of my specific requirements. More feedback than complaint perhaps – is this a copout I ask myself? Answers on a postcard please!

One thing that occurred to me, as I sat in the Spire (ex Bupa) Hospital waiting for my appointment, was the absence of female consultants in private practice. I’ve never seen a woman privately and I asked several friends the same question. Only one had seen a female consultant privately although this is probably reflective of the number of women getting to be a consultant as much as women being less avaricious.

Of late it has taken me much longer to style my hair as my arms, particularly the left one, are much weaker. The hairdryer is harder to manipulate coupled with impaired co-ordination rendering me even more rubbish with a brush! Excuses I know; surely a genetic fault I can blame someone for? No as an adult I must take responsibility for this shortcoming!

Consequently I decided to go for a short cut once more as it’s easier to manage. So ladies the spinster resembles more of a bachelor! Those of you attending this week’s swansong Salon will be exposed to the naked lobes of my ears. The hairdresser did suggest I purchase a hat with earflaps – he was playing with fire as he comes to the house and who knows what a spinster scorned might do. Or might consider had the speaker not had a pair of sharp scissors in his hand!

Stupidly I had arranged the shearing ceremony after the house had been cleaned. The nice shearer did ‘sweep’ up the leftover trimmings but I noticed sufficient orphaned curls to make a bird’s nest on the kitchen floor just now! He is not a human hoover after all. On the matter of substandard performance I turn to the bedroom window.

Don’t you hate it when the sun shines in a particular direction and the state of the glass is revealed in its full filthy glory? The other day as I was getting dressed I noticed odd smudges on the bedroom window, on closer examination I realised they were kitten sized paw prints. You may remember my tales of torture earlier this summer after which Arabella went to live in the City. That gives you some idea how long it has been since the window was cleaned!

Yesterday I had a lovely Saturday with a late lunch with a friend followed by a spot of shopping. We tried on loads of outfits and inevitably pressed the plastic into mild submission. How funny was it when said friend confessed that she already had the dress that I had just purchased – she has promised  not to wear it to the Salon should she be able to come along. That’s true friendship!

Auntie asked (again) whether the Salon this week might be the time when I would wear ‘the dress’. Heavens do I wish I’d never told her I’d bought the blessed thing! I do like it and yes it was a bargain but I still feel like an uncooked sausage in it as the fit is ‘snug’! Piggies fighting under a blanket come to mind again…There’s nothing for it I shall be forced to share my shame with the family over the festive season!

In preparation for the Salon Finale I have written a provocation paper on censorship (see blog for details). The nub of it being if the public can be trusted to vote then surely we can be trusted to decide whether to go to see an exhibition with sexually explicit content? Should elected representatives be allowed to express a preference on our behalf using our taxes to fund their decision? No prizes for guessing where I might stand!

Well this week’s missive is the penultimate one delivered to you by email (unless you are reading it on the blog of course). As I mentioned last week the emailing of missives will cease from the end of November so if you need your weekly fix you will need to sign up to the Victorious Endeavours word press blog.

In sophistication as always


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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster, Sophisticated Salons

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