I was invited by Debbie Knight, Head of Nursing and Midwifery Education to talk at the Ward Leaders day at Portsmouth Hospital. We’d met virtually via Twitter as their Book Club had recently read my book and they had a ‘chat’ session on Twitter and asked me to join in which was great fun……
So at silly o’clock on Wednesday I found myself trundling the long journey across to my friends in Trowbridge ready for the shorter journey Thursday morning to Cosham, where the hospital is based.
I’d set my alarm the night before for 5am, ready for the taxi to pick me up at 05.45……well I thought I had..🙄….I’d certainly set my phone to 5am but luckily I opened my eyes, looked at my phone and it told me it was 04.57…..and for some reason I decided I’d simply get up instead of waiting for the alarm to sound. Went to switch the alarm off only to find a grey switch staring back at me instead of a lovely shade of green, meaning I’d actually forgotten to switch it on 🙈………luckily the chaos that would have happened was averted and I went about getting into the shower……
It was one of the new Hull Trains that pulled into the station……seems like they think passengers no longer need their old lovely convenient luggage storage spaces to slide your suitcase in at ground level and now state they have overhead storage for medium and large suitcases…..Which I couldn’t possibly manage….🙈……so I had to park my large suitcase in the disabled bit in the hope that no one in a wheelchair needed it……WHY…….?
The obvious route is on the Cross Country Train avoiding London , but these are my least favourite train company and their prices are extortionate …….so for a 20 minute longer journey, one change at London instead of 2 on Cross Country, I went first class and it cost me £100 less than their standard class …….🙄 I know London, I’m happy on the trains so a no brainer…..so there I was trundling in the darkness at the start of a 6 hour journey to London first……good job I like trundling….
It wasn’t until we got to Grantham, half way, that the sun started to wake….
The journey actually went quite smooth…😳
Anyway back to the reason I was there…….after a lovely overnight stay with my friends, it meant a shorter journey (90 mins instead of 6hrs!) and a decent start time to Cosham…it was a dull drizzly day and of course, we were met by the dreaded ‘Delayed’ sign as we reached the platform. I txt Debbie eventually to say we’d left 15 minutes late and I had left in plenty of time so no panic necessary …….
I managed to get one piccie before the drizzle became a downpour……..and put paid to anymore sightseeing out of the window….
This was a totally new route through Salisbury, Romsey, Southampton to name three before arriving at Cosham, my destination for 24 hours…..
Debbie kindly kept me company by txt during the journey as I didn’t have a clue where I was but she was tracking the train, giving me updates, which was perfect and much appreciated……
Debbie, as promised, was waiting outside the station and we trundled the short way to the venue they use for staff events nearby the hospital. By pure chance there was also a Dementia group going on!
We sat outside the lunch room and chatted about this that and everything and then Debbie said how the hospital is just rolling out Allocate Roster Pro system, which was a real blast from the past as that was the very first roster system I worked on in my NHS Direct days…..they’ve only just got it.So how amazing that something I was involved in from the start, 15 years ago, has just been rolled out here………
Anyway, we went into the room and waited for everyone to settle. I’d been given an hour so I spoke about language, experiences, the hospital environment, environmental lies, the senses and much much more, including:
“We’re often referred to as ‘Challenging patients’ but I refer to challenging staff. There’s a reason why we’re distressed and it’s up to you to find that reason. You need to enter our world as we simply can’t enter yours….”
I always finish reading the Billy extract from my book as the time I’m given can bring out many emotions in people. So I like to end by making them laugh to release the tension…..
Sooooo many questions at the end. I can’t remember many but do remember them asking about environment, language and how it affects my daughters. Such wonderful questions. They then agreed to a piccie…
My suitcase was a lot lighter to take home as they bought all the books I’d taken afterwards, but the next speaker had arrived, so me and Debbie went and sat with a cuppa and were joined by 2 of the book club, which is where our relationship started…..and had a piccie…..
It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day. Debbie had supported me perfectly, even taking me to the hotel making sure the room had all been paid for and that I was happy with everything before taking her leave to continue on her long shift…..sometimes I just feel very lucky that dementia has brought all these new opportunities….well every cloud……..