Cookie's mum here: After bugging me to continue with my story from the other day, Cookie went back to taking a nap after giving me my "instructions".
I think we left off while I was in the British Military Hospital in Paris. Anyway, the staff in the hospital were really nice to me. Also, one of my brother's came over to visit me. I found out later that my dad had started to get concerned because he had not heard from me. I usually met him for lunch on Monday's because he was working around the corner to my office. The first Monday after I was due home, he just figured I was busy at work, but the second week he got concerned. At the time I was living near my brother Cyril so my dad called Cyril's office and was told that he had made an unexpected trip to Paris. Dad then got even more concerned and called Cyril's wife, who then told him that I was in the hospital in Paris. Of course Dad got really concerned and also annoyed that they had not told him sooner what had happened!!! So I had a really nice visit with Cyril, who told me that on the Saturday when I was supposed to arrive by plane from Paris, he had gone to the airport and was then made aware of what happened -- needless to say Cyril (and my dad when he found out) were really annoyed and upset that the group had left me in Paris basically on my own!!! I then started getting letters and cards from friends, etc., in England. Also, the brother of a friend of my sister's also came to visit me. Actually, when he got there, it was rather funny because I heard someone mention "Rosalind Black" and knew who it was. For some reason, Harvey always called me by my oldest sister's name -- and sure enough, it was him!!
When the time came for me to return to England, I was not allowed to go by plane because I was not allowed to be in an upright position for too long. So I was going by boat ferry overnight and my sister in law Margaret came over for the day to travel back with me. There were a couple of amusing incidents that happened on that trip. First, I had a British army escort to the train, which did cause quite a commotion. For some reason or other, I did not have shoes, but did have socks on. The porter wanted to have my escort lift me through the train window!!! I put a stop to that and insisted that I could manage to walk the short distance to the train!!! The trip itself was quite uneventful, but VERY bumpy when the train was going on and off the ferry. I was confined to bed so I got quite restless. Margaret quite enjoyed the trip!!! She had also done some sightseeing, etc., in Paris!!!! When we got to London, we were left on the train for quite some time. Apparently the ambulance that had been scheduled to pick me up at the station had got the days mixed up because of my travelling overnight!!!! My dad was quite used to dealing with officialdom and getting his own way (another long story for another time), and he had talked his way onto the platform to chat with me. This was actually supposed to be taboo because the fact that I was still on the train, meant that they could not clear it through customs. Consequently, the train was running quite late for the outward bound trip. Railway officials asked if I would mind waiting in the First Aid station until the ambulance arrived. I said that would be fine -- what I did not realize was that they were going to take me over there on a stretcher!!! This was a warm Sunday morning in September at Victoria Station. My dad and Margaret walked about 10 paces behind me; I was flat on my back staring at the ceiling (everywhere but at the crowds) and the porter was yelling "MIND YER BACKS" every few minutes. So, of course, everyone was looking a me and wondering what had happened to me. Finally the ambulance arrived, but they had sent one with only 1 ambulance attendance -- so they put me in a wheelchair to get into the ambulance. When we got to the hospital, again they put me in a wheelchair (one of those old wooden "bath chairs" that can be seen on old English movies, etc.). I was very uncomfortable and finally collared a nurse and quite loudly complained about the fact that I had had to travel overnight because I had to lie flat, and was now being made to sit up, which was VERY uncomfortable. The hastened to get me a stretcher before I made too much of a fuss. I finally got up to the ward and, again, was made to sit up in bed. Turns out it was because I had peritonitis and that was the normal part of treatment. Also, English hospitals did not have electric beds and the contraption to sit me up was very complicated and the patient could not adjust it!!! Very uncomfortable!!!!! I am not sure if I mentioned it, but the food at the British Military hospital was like a four start French restaurant -- so, of course, the first meal I had in the London Hospital seemed even worse than it usually did. It came around on a steam table and was tasteless and overcooked. On Monday, my surgeon was making his rounds. You only saw your "specialist"/surgeon once or twice a week and he came with a whole entourage -- Him with Matron, Sister from the ward, head nurse, Resident, Intern and (because it was a teaching hospital) several medical students. You only spoke to your specialist when he spoke to you and usually the answer was "yes" or "no" answers. I was still recuperating from the journey, so when he asked how I was, I said I was still very tired from the trip over. He commented that there were better ways of coming from Paris. At this point, I didn't care what I said, and answered, "Yes, but I had to travel by train because I was not allowed to sit up for that long and I get here and am made to sit up!!!" Well, after everyone picked their jaws up from the floor (because no one EVER responded to the specialist like that), he had the decency to look a little flustered and turned to Matron and said that if I was more comfortable, I could be allowed to lie down!!!! There were a few other little incidents like that along the way. For instance, I name has the French spelling, and one of the doctors who came around (and there were many, many many doctors who came around) was discussing my case right in front of me (which is something that is also NEVER) done, and made the comment to the other doctor he was with that he wondered if I spoke English. I again responded that yes I did speak English because I was from London!!! Also, because it was a teaching hospital, a medical student was assigned to work up my medical history. A male student with a female patient had to have a chaperone (!!) and had to do the workup around everything else going on, so it took quite some time. When he thought he was finished, he quite casually asked me if I ever got breathless. When I said that I did he asked what I attributed that to I replied "to the hole in my heart of course". Both of their jaws dropped because now they had to go into that history!!!
English hospitals at that time did not have the luxuries that US hospitals did (no phones or TV's) but the nursing care was superb and there were lots of little extras -- such as a cup of tea first thing in the morning (before breakfast, of course) and backrubs at night!!
I finally had my surgery and was in the hospital a couple of weeks afterwards, then I went to a convalescent home for 3 weeks. If I went into all the little things that happened (funny and not so) this would run on for pages and pages. Suffice it to say that at the end of it all, I had gone ona 2 week holiday and ended up being gone for 3 months!!!! I had not been working at this firm for long so I was lucky that they kept the job open for me!!!
Well, I hope I haven't bored you too much -- I will now let Cookie have her blog back.
Cookie here -- well, after a nice nap while mum was writing that, I will not write too much except to say
ttfn and toodle pip