Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bolshevik shed repair.

For me, the part of shed re-building that I have enjoyed the most has been burning the old roof. We took it off first. Basically a garden fence laid on it's side with a layer of roofing felt on top. It was rotten and came off in a combined and uneven way. During this phase of construction we spoke mostly about sex, although we occasionally stopped to consider how we were going to replace the roof. We both accepted, however, that we could only truly learn how to create the new roof through the dismantling of the old one.

After two days we had a big pile of rotten wood and an interim roof was formed in the shape of a tarpaulin tied to some bricks. It was now waterproof, so we turned our attention to the floor. A healthy wooden floor needs to be airy, free of damp and free of the risk of damp. There was a bank of compacted soil mounded up behind the shed within which we found a mangled old iron brasier. The soil had trapped moisture under the shed. It was moved. The brasier was repaired and put to use burning the roof. We're putting the floor in soon. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The stealth nurse strikes again!

So anyways,

I was waiting outside the Canadian Embassy with a van full of assorted propoganda for a demonstartion against the inevitable cuts that all parties are planning to bring in. Sort of doing my civic duty, yeah? And this policman comes up to me and he's like, "So what are you doing here then?" and I'm all like "Who wants to know?".

It was a fabulous spring day, and the glint of it shone in just about everything. Even the mad christian women who bash about trying to convert atheist socialists had a rude glint their eyes.

And this copper was like "OK, I want to see some ID, are you allowed to drive this vehicle? Are you insured on it?" and this van is better insured than the copper, so I thought I'd have some fun.

I eventually pulled rank on him when he accused me of being rude to him, and I thought to myself, "OK, who's the one asking for trouble? Me or him?" and it was one of those moments where it was blatantly him who was asking for trouble, because he'd already sworn at me.

So I pulled the Stealth Nurse!!!!!!!!!!

"Well, officer, as a nurse I am also a public servant, and if I were to speak to a member of the public in the manner in which you have just spoken to me I would expect to be disciplined."

He then said "OK, shall we start again?" to which I said "I think we should, yes."
I still got one of them bloody tickets though, second this week. It's like a paper trail of harassment.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm pouring sauce into a jar.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The stealth nurse.

The stealth nurse passes a bay in a busy city hospital
There are four women in the bay
He is wearing a coat and hat, and for all the world
Looks like Columbo, but older
With shades of ginger

And he dons his hat to these four women
As to wish them a good day
They say
"Annabel needs to have a crap!"
Pointing their fingers, shaking with rage
"Then she will have a crap."
The stealth nurse graciousely says.
"And she will have it soon."

They'd better have some fresh fruit
Now, they think,
To help them pass

But Annabel's still waiting
But maybe it's just a fart.

The stealth nurse is aware
the possible farts do not care
if they feel like a fart or a crap

the possible farts still can stay
for as long as they may
below radar resting and flat

For he's concerned with her skin
and the state that she's in
she's in quite good state at that

So the farts are a bonus
they're not in any way c-dif anyway
so that's a blessing, take it on your way

have a nice day
the stealth nurse says
and she's off, and she's forgotten her hat.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Playing 'The thrill is gone' by B.B. King. On the Guitar.

First, you need to get both stoned and drunk in a mild fashion on a night in the middle of the week. You must have work to do in the morning, but you must not on any account be prepared for it. You must have a ready supply of tobacco and a dwindling amount of beer and skunk.

Now, listen to it on You tube.........


These are two scales to solo with over the top, figure out which you would prefer to use and where.............

B Major Pentatonic 7-10//7-8-9//7-9//7-9-1-//7-10//7-10//

and C Major(I think) 7-9-10//7-9-10//7-9-11//7-9//7-8-10//7-9-10//

They bring gooood results if you keep skipping them along, throw in a few octaves and bend them.

Finish your beer and skunk. Play it again. Save the rest of your baccy for the morning.

More on this later.....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Building Labouring.

Montmarcey did some building labouring work ealier this week to earn some cash to fund his nursing habit. They only wanted me for three days. Bastards. They could have told me before I started.

Building labouring is not fun. It makes you tired, but the thought of getting a bit of cash at the end of it is nice. We were stripping out a house and replacing everything, pipework, doors, floors, plastering. My job was to carry things and sweep, both of which I can do to a proffessional standard. At one point I had to demolish some bricks from out of a fire place, for which I used a crow bar, which was nice, but then I had to carry the bricks outside and sweep up a lot of soot, which wasn't.

It was all very Ragged trousered philanthropist, apart from the fact that we didn't all sit around with tea and talk politics. Instead, we sat around with red bull while the Estonians talked Estonian and I tried to communicate with a nice bloke from Romania. All I could think of was to say Chowchescu (Not sure how this is spelled.) and give the thumbs down sign with a grin. He liked that and gave me a Romanian ciggarette. Later on I gave him a Drum rolly, which he agreed was stonger and ultimately more manly.

Safety on a building site is very important. It you're wearing safety boots, a high visibility vest and a hard hat you become immuned to everything. Birck dust, soot, cement dust and all manner of floaty carcinogens are all repelled, wobbly chairs used in the place of step ladders become more stable and electricity from the plug situated next to the water pipe loses the ability to conduct itself through your tender organs. It's all very reassuring.

The worst thing is not having something to do. The superviser streched himself between a few sites and would pop up every now and then. He was a chilled Irish bloke, but I've had it hard wired into me that whenever the boss is there, you have to look busy. He seemed to turn up every time I rolled a ciggarrette or sat down. This fucks with your mind. Instead fo doing tasks, finishing them and feeling satified, you do tasks, finish them and feel nervous. What next? I found myself most at peace when drenched in sweat, muscles blazing and not thinking. This is not natural.

Even a small house renovation is an assembly line these days. Standard parts get put in faster than you can blink. On the last afternoon I was there, some blokes came to replace the back doors and windows. It took them two hours to knock out the old ones and put in the new ones. It takes a day to put the pipes and electrical wires in, then two or so days after that to put the floors and platerboards over the top. Each one of these tasks is carried out by a separate competeing micro business (Gang.). Roofing seems to take the longest, but when they invent a spray-on mono tile, all that will change.

No-one ever needs to look at the schematic of the house, cause they've done it all a thousand times before. The architects and Engineers just cut and paste the whole lot anyway. It would be a lovely thing to do outside of capitalism. Easy, quick, painless, now I'm off to the library thankyou very much, see you when it needs doing again. Perhaps there'd be a debate about putting a mural on one of the walls. That would be cool. Yeah. House rennovation could be truly inspirational if it weren't for those pesky capitalists.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Student Nurse and the Polish Man with Back Pain.

Names, locations and facts have been changed to maintain a lack of research funds. Comissioning editors for "Scrubs" and "House" are denied intelectual property rights on this script.

‘A Wooden Die (Zbigniew Herbert.)

A WOODEN die can be described only from without. We are therefore condemned to eternal ignorance of its essence. Even if it is cut in two, immediately its inside becomes a wall and there occurs the lightning-swift transformation of a mystery into a skin.

For this reason it is impossible to lay foundations for the psychology of a stone ball, of an iron bar, of a wooden cube.’

Of course a man in need of food with excruciating back pain is not a wooden cube. However, on a ward dedicated to old people of many different cultures, there are many different communication issues that arise. They have a wide range of caring needs, whether they are physical, circumstantial, mental or a combination of the above. There are people in the last stages of cancer in beds next to people with severe Bi-polar disorder, next to people who have little to no home help who have simply fallen over. They have one thing in common. They are old and unable to work.

As we live in a society based around competition and profit, they are often marginalized. Their families may have moved to follow work and their pensions may be inadequate to support them. Not all of the patients on my ward suffer from these situations, many have caring families on hand to support them, but these factors cannot be ignored. The alienation that they suffer can manifest itself in many forms that can make a nurses life miserable. Aggresion, paranio, neediness. They need a decent life, hospitals are not equipped to provide this.

A wooden die is simply a wooden cube with spots from one to six painted onto its side. When you roll it, you transfer your hopes to win a game onto the outcome of that roll, thus giving it a personality. If you roll a one when you want a six, you may say that that the die is a complete bastard, when really, it’s just a piece of wood. The next time you roll that die, you will be more wary.

Montmarcey Brown is still studying nursing, and spent the grand total of ten hours on a hospital ward just last week. This gives him special "observational" powers, but doesn't knock the life out of him to such an extent that he wouldn't have the energy to write a blog, or do a bit of study for that matter. Study requires beer, cigarettes, a healthy determination, high hopes and an ability to piss in strong winds.

There are times on a ward when you have the chance to see further into the minds and situations of the patients. Feeding someone is one of these times, even if it is only through a glance or gesture. At mealtimes patients are given food appropriate to their culture and dietary requirements. The meals are put on a trolley at the end of the ward with the bay and bed number written on a piece of paper laid on the tray next to them. I got bay forty, bed twelve (Which I reached by means of a Matter Transporter), an elderly polish man who was sitting upright in a specialist wheelchair that looked like a seat from a sports car on wheels. He got an approximation of shepherds pie, broccoli, peas, chicken soup and custard. It didn’t look very appetising, but I described to him what he had on his plate and pointed to each piece in turn, asking him what he would like first. Although he didn’t seem to be able to speak English, we negotiated that he should have the broccoli first as it looked tastier than the peas and the shepherds pie was still too hot to eat. It took five minutes for him to eat two pieces of broccoli. After fifteen minutes he’d had about half of what was on his plate and looked satisfied. He’d thanked me after each mouthful and seemed to enjoy his food, which was extremely satisfying for me. I wiped his mouth, told him I’d be back to see if he wanted more later on and went off to twiddle my thumbs beside the nurses’ station.

I live in Acton, where there is a large Polish population. During the Second World War many Poles moved to London, fleeing the invasion of Soviet and German forces, they were allies to the British forces and had a positive image amongst the population.

More recently, with the expansion of the European Union, many more Polish workers have immigrated into London. Fear of job losses, fuelled by right-wing papers such as the Daily Express and organisations like ‘migration watch’, as well as employment laws that make it more likely for the workers to be employed in low paid casual work, with little to no rights, makes life hard for these immigrants. Because I am white and fair-haired, I often get seen as Polish. I have learned to point at myself and say ‘Polski?’ whilst waving my hands in a manner that says ‘I am not.’ They usually gesture back with a rolling motion of their fingers that says ‘I’m gasping for a cigarette’ to which I reply with pinch of Drum tobacco and a blue rizla. I can say 'Suck my cock' in Polish, but the chances to use this term
during polite discourse are limited. I learned the term in an innocent and culturally appropriate manner whilst working in a drinking establishment. Oh, and I can say 'Solidarnosk' and know a little bit about it being a socialist and all. Not a lot, but a little. Like Jimmy Saville.

Luckily, the other nurses on my ward are from many different backgrounds, and racism doesn’t seem to be a problem, but there isn’t a single member of staff I know of who is Polish, and there don’t seem to be many Poles on my course either. This should really be addressed because there were at least three Polish patients on the ward the last time I was there.

After lunch the ward settles down as the patients digest their food, have a nap and wait for their relatives. The qualified nurses and health care assistants generally retire into the staff room for the long break they’ve been waiting for since 7.30am, leaving the student nurses free to sit at the various nursing stations and harass any qualified staff who happen to pass by. I was wandering about the ward looking for someone to talk to when I noticed my Polish man reaching for his custard. He was trying to drag it towards him, past the half full plate of shepherds pie still on his tray. I walked over and offered to feed him again. It was at this point that he started to talk to me in Polish, none of which I understood, but I didn't bother him with that because he was eating, and this was tremendously satisfying for me. Old people in hospitals generally lose their appetites. At the time I thought that maybe he was confused and thought I was Polish. I have since learned that many patients will talk to you in their mother tongue, even if they know you don’t understand. It’s one of those things that people do.

After he'd had enough custardI did my wavy hands ‘Polski? I am not’ several times, but he didn’t seem to take it in the first few times. Eventually he beckoned me closer and said, in a plumy phrasebook English ‘I am suffering the most excruciating back pain.’ I said, ‘I’ll see what I can do.’

When you start on a ward, the first thing you should do is get to know the roles of the various different nurses, care assistants, social workers and doctors who are there. I never did this, preferring to hassle the least busy, most affable looking people. The trouble with this approach was that the least busy, most affable people were having their breaks or trying to do their paper work. There was no one about, so I asked a nurse sat at the nurses’ station if she could help. She had to write reports on five patients before her shift finished. I decided to approach the head sister, who was having a hushed argument with one of her colleagues. For some reason I wasn't too worried about interupting them, they're good at responding to a pannicked face. ‘Daljit is in charge of that bay, go and find him’ I didn’t know who Daljit was, but she had resumed her argument, so I decided I’d have to guess. Luckily there was only one other male nurse on the ward at that time, and he turned out to be Daljit.

‘He’s had painkillers an hour ago, so we can’t give him more. We’ll move him to his bed so he can lie down.’ I was a little surprised that Daljit knew what to do without seeing the man, but when we arrived at his bed with the hoist, he seemed relieved. ‘Do you want us to move you?’ I asked. He nodded, seeing the hoist and hearing my questioning tone he had put two and two together.

First we moved his table out of the way and closed the curtain around his bed, then Daljit asked me to hold him forward as he positioned the sling behind his back, tucking it down so that we could pull the other ends of the sling up between his legs. The sling attached to the hoist by means of plastic clips, which we had to pull up from between his legs. It was quite a struggle to attach the plastic clips to the hoist and we had to lower the hoist a few times and reposition it around the chair to get the best fit. Eventually we had the hoist in position, so I plugged it into the wall socket and raised the man so that he was above the bed. We then had to swing him around so he could lie on the bed, which proved difficult as his legs were rather stiff and the main trunk of the hoist got in the way. Eventually Daljit had to apply some force and squeeze his legs past the trunk. (Knowing how much force you can apply when carrying out a clinical procedure is something that you can only learn with time. You've got to do it without causing harm, but sometimes you've got to use a bit of elbow grease.) We gently lowered him onto the bed, making sure that he was comfortable, before rolling him onto his side to ease the sling out from underneath him. This required us to stand either side of the bed, then I rolled him towards me by gripping his shoulder and thigh, while Daljit rolled the sling up underneath him, then Daljit did the same, while I eased the rest of the sling out from my side. At this point he became a little panicked as he was close to the side of the bed, so we had to make reassuring noises. ‘It’s ok, we’ve got you.’

Mission accomplished, Polish man moved from chair to bed and relatively comfortable.
I am a student nurse; therefore, legally, I am not able to do anything without supervision. This can become difficult when people need assistance and I am close to them.
Understanding does not require a common language. People throw dice, thinking that they understand the dice, when really they have a one in six chance of getting what they want. When elderly people are on a hospital ward, often they may regard the various professionals that they meet as die that they can cast. Is it worth the effort trying to make them understand? Maybe the back pain is easier to endure than the humiliation of being reduced to symptoms, none of which Montmarcey has really experienced.
In this way, the role of a student is valid but unpredictable. We come on to the ward with no routine and no preconceptions. We do not know that the Primary Care Trust will deny certain patients the right to die in comfort because it will cost the hospital too much. We do not know that the patient was discharged, only to be re-admitted later, not because they are ill, but because their family cannot cope. We have no concept of how casualisation and low bursaries are eroding the ability of nurses to develope professionally. This makes us slightly amusing, and a little human. Contact, in the last days of your life, is all that you can hope for.