Wednesday, October 6th 2010

One week on

Amazingly it’s been one week already since I arrived here at St Michaels Hospice. Ann and Vanessa continue to provide my morning care and feed me my midday meal. After that I’m left in the very capable (and at times extremely busy) hands of the hospice staff. The last time I was here you may remember me mentioning the enjoyment I got from the regular Jacuzzi baths I would take whenever there were sufficient staff to assist with handling me. Unfortunately as part of the modernisation programme the old Arjo bath has been ripped out and the room is currently being converted to a wet room. Sadly for me it’s not yet finished so I haven’t been able to escape from having bed baths. I was really looking forward to being submerged in water again. I miss that a lot.

The weather for the most part hasn’t been particularly pleasant since I arrived. More often than not it’s been raining to varying degrees and when it isn’t actually raining it’s been quite damp and windy. Consequently there have not been many opportunities to actually get outside. This morning was one of those rare exceptions when Ann managed to get me outside and overlooking the garden whilst we chatted over a coffee. It still wasn’t particularly warm so I ended up sitting there wrapped up in a blanket fighting off the light breeze whilst at the same time grateful for the feeble warmth from the sun.

As I sat there sipping coffee through a straw and gazing out at the gardens before me I couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness at how their character had been completely changed. The last time I visited St Michaels I took particular joy in their small but visually interesting garden. Even before I was able to get outside I used to sit in the conservatory overlooking the gardens and just admire it and the various forms of wildlife that would visit it, marvelling at the antics of the squirrels and birds. It had a lovely closed in feel to it, like a secret garden, and the mature trees and shrubs around the boundary formed a perfect screen against the hustle and bustle of a road and general hospital just beyond its boundaries. It was like a little oasis of calm in an otherwise busy area. But now that closed in and protected feeling has gone along with one whole side of trees and shrubs, leaving in its place a wide open area with views of the car park. The reason it’s been done is because the Hospice wants to build a labyrinth and the area between the car park and the garden is the only area available. I believe the intention is to put up a fence and replant with a hedgerow to maintain the seclusion of the garden so perhaps it will look a lot better when completed. It’s certainly been something of a controversial decision and I can’t help but feel that they’ve traded something mature and natural for something that is artificial. But that’s just my own opinion.

So apart from today’s little excursion outside it’s been relatively quiet and I’ve been left to my own devices free to catch up on some reading, writing and watching a few documentaries.

As for my meerkat friend, well he’s just settling in fine. Why only the other day I caught him saying to one of the nurses, with a wicked glint in his eye ‘come back to my burrow and I’ll show you my dried scorpion collection’ smile_regular. Honestly you can’t take him anywhere!

Mark

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