Thursday, 28 August 2014

Send Out Your Light - Part 6

.Continued from Send out Your Light - Part 5 (Archived in Blog Posts List)

 In the interim between my being told I would at last be leaving hospital
 and actually going home,
 a bed was brought downstairs into the large middle room at home
so that things might be a little easier for Mam.
This meant that my mother would be nursing me in one room,
and in the next room off the hallway, she would also be caring for my grandfather,
who was elderly and far from well.

In addition to looking after us, my father, and brother, she ran a typical 1950s home,
which, in the Welsh valleys meant there were three coal fires to be attended to,
one each in the rooms where Grandpa and I would be,
and one in the kitchen range where every drop of hot water had to be heated.

There was no washing machine, so my formidable mother
 dealt with the bed linen from four beds,
 and all the clothes, and other items of the household of five
with the time honoured wash board and mangle.
The resultant mountain of washing had to be carried up
 some thirteen or so uneven stone steps
 leading up to the garden carved out of the steep hillside on which our house stood.
There it would be pegged out on a washing line that marched up the garden
 almost as steeply as the steps had done.
Washing day was not for the faint hearted!

Can you wonder that, knowing all this,
 I was immensely grateful to Mam for agreeing so willingly, to have me home.
From the outset I made up my mind
 to do everything in my power to make her care for me as easy as possible.

After so many months in the clinically stark wards
coming home was a strange feeling.
The walls, with their patterned paper and framed pictures,
seemed a much smaller cocoon than they had been before.
Similarly the comings and goings of the house were unexpectedly many and varied,
wearying me so I was reminded yet again I was still sick.

It didn't take long to realise being on the ground floor was not going to work,
as my room opened to the kitchen at one end, and the hallway at the other,
so I was slap in the middle of the main route through the house.
This, and my own need for a quieter place,
soon saw me installed in an upstairs bedroom overlooking the beloved hills.

Sadly my doctor insisted I should not be continually facing the light,
so the bed was positioned with my back to the window,
 and facing away from the beautiful view.
With it's old fashioned high wooden bed head
and my inability to manoeuvre myself to see around it,
 this pretty much left me the panorama of a blank wall,
but what the heck!
 I was home.

After so long continually in bed I still didn't sleep well at night,
but the joy of nights at home was in the feeling of calm and the emotional safety
which had been missing in the hospital.

Another joy was being re-united with my 9 year old brother.
Hospital regulations at that time banned visors of his age,
and I had missed him badly.

Rob was a auburn haired, (Mam forbade the word ginger),
fire cracker of a boy who kept the household very much alive and kicking.
Two of his favourite activities now I was home, were to become
a) snuggling down under the blankets with me to read, or chat,
or, (towards the end of my illness), watch T.V.,
and b) to torment me in any way he could devise,
The fact his older sister was reduced to a sitting duck was obviously too good to pass up.

One of his favourite pranks was the act of a moment.
He would dash into my room, grab a handful of hair,
give it a sharp tug, and vanish grinning back out of the door and down the stairs.
One of his more memorable tricks was timed to coincide with Mam's visit to a neighbour
at the same time as I had one of my medically induced migraines.
Creeping into the bedroom, he switched the radio on,
found a station broadcasting, above all things, a recital of Handel's Messiah,
and turned the volume up as high as it would go,
then left me to it.
The radio of course, lay out of my reach, and I could only sit,
 or more accurately lie it out, until Mam's return.
I have struggled to like The Messiah ever since.
My medical supervision now lay in the hands of our wonderful old family doctor,
and I will tell you more about him,
 and the development of my relationship with the inner companion
who had become so integral a part of life, the next time.


P.S.  Sorry about the wierd spacing between paragraphs.  Blogger is going it's own sweet way today.


  1. Hazel, such a difficult time for you at such a young age but you were grateful for your family - even your brother who seems to have been a typical younger brother delighting in causing an uproar. Reminds me of my little grandson! We who have a loving family are truly blessed.

  2. It's been nice to be able to write a part of my story which isn't just the "bad bits" for a while Lynda! Blessings x