Tag Archives: Coronavirus

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Simon and Bernard 1962. Hard to believe they are now 61 and about to be 59

My two pairs of children – two boys and after three years, two girls – adored each other as toddlers and babies. Our sons live in London and are therefore still close, but our daughters live abroad so rarely meet except for major family events like our 80th and 90th birthdays.

I’m sure that as a toddler Louise thought Jane was her special possession. At the first peep of a demand for a feed, Louise would pull at my skirt, wailing ‘Ninny crying! Ninny crying!’ Fortunately that nickname didn’t stick. This year when Jane, having had chemotherapy and a total gastrectomy for stomach cancer, was left alone when her husband needed surgery, Louise flew to Switzerland from Spain to be with her at that worrying time – braving the huge queues at the airports because of Covid.

Not that there was always peace between the sibs, but let no-one from outside dare attack any one of them!! Their motto was definitely ‘All for One and One for All’. 

It’s very sad to read of brothers and sisters who have lost contact, haven’t seen or heard from each other for years. One wrote to say she only discovered her brother had got married when she read about it on Facebook.

Read more of Abby’s stories in her memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and her previous posts Abby’s Tales of Then and Now. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site and get a taster for free. ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £9.99 in paperback. ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour.

Visit my blog at https://abbyjw.com

Woman in a White Coat

GOING ON A BIG RED LONDON BUS AGAIN

Aren’t they gorgeous??

It was great to board a red London double-decker bus for the first time in over a year!! The nursery rhyme, the wheels on the bus go round and round, ran though my head as we tapped our Freedom Passes and took our seats. The three other masked passengers already seated nodded and kept their social distance.

The wheels on the bus go round and round

All ‘round the town

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish

The driver on the bus goes ‘Move on back’

The people on the bus go up and down

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep

The baby on the bus goes ‘whaa whaa whaa’

The parents on the bus go ‘shh, shh, shh’

Before Covid, I used to drive to my various Further Education classes. I have a Blue Disabled Badge because of my bad hip and previous heart attack, and mostly I could find a parking space nearby. I had to give up in despair and go back home only a couple of times in all the years I’ve been attending these courses.

There’s a bus stop close by all three of the Westminster Libraries I patronise, so until Covid, I used to go to those by bus. Fortunately, there is also a Home Library in our district and, since Lockdown, a very polite young man brings me six books of his choice every third Friday. I specified Whodunits and usually I have only already read one or two of them at most.

It’s wonderful to be able to shop in person again instead of ordering everything online. You can see and feel the merchandise and find the odd thing you don’t need but must have!!

We thought about driving to Tottenham Court Road to go to two of my favourite shops – Muji and Flying Tiger – but fortunately we decided against it. It was a nightmare. It is now a two-way street, having been one way towards Hampstead Road for many years. Much of it was closed to all vehicles except buses and cycles. Cars, taxis and lorries all forbidden. The worst thing was that the bus stops are far apart and for a disabled person the walk to the next stop was a pain – literally!!

I bought the drawer insert in Muji that I needed, visited the new Lidl that replaced Sainsbury’s at the other end of Tottenham Court Road and had a look around Flying Tiger.

Not a lot of purchases to show for my trip but gorgeous to be free to go on a Big Red Bus again!!

Read more of Abby’s stories in her memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and her previous posts Abby’s Tales of Then and Now. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site and get a taster for free. ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £9.99 in paperback. ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour.

About ‘Woman in a White Coat’

THE QUEEN’S GALLERY – BUCKINGHAM PALACE

The entrance to the Queen’s Gallery

How wonderful to be able to visit Art Galleries and Museums again! Living as we do in Central London, in pre-Covid times we would have visited a gallery or museum at least once a month. Since Covid, our visit to the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, for the exhibition Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace is our first gallery visit in person for a year.

Attending a range of Art History Classes online and seeing exhibitions on a PC has been invaluable, but of course it’s not the same. Yes, you can zoom in on specific features on your computer, but there’s nothing like seeing the actual masterpieces like those on display in this present exhibition.

I would have liked to have seen more of my favourites – Rembrandt and Vermeer – but there was plenty to enjoy in the mixture of Rembrandt, Canaletto, Vermeer, Rubens and Titian, with just a few duds.

One of the great things about all the exhibitions in the Queen’s Gallery, is that all the paintings and other artifacts are in immaculate condition – or as good condition as several centuries will allow. The exhibitions there are always well curated, with easy to read, clear information, next to each picture. I’ve given up using the audio guide as I like to take pictures – allowed without flash – and I don’t have enough hands to listen and focus my camera at the same time.

We had to check in either with the NHS app or our completed tickets. You can get your tickets stamped to give you access to all the exhibitions at the Queen’s Gallery for a calendar year, which is a very good deal for those of us who live in London or visit London or the other palaces regularly.

We were lucky. The wretched rainy weather we have had recently cleared during the time we queued to enter – keeping our social distancing – and until we got back to the car. The skies opened again as soon as we got home and so we didn’t go out again.

Notices about Covid, Social Distancing and Directions to walk were everywhere – and Masks, of course. And which of us finished first could no longer sit on the bench by the entrance. A twisted cord stretched from arm to arm.

Read more of Abby’s stories in her memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and her previous posts Abby’s Tales of Then and Now. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site and get a taster for free.

Woman in a White Coat’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £9.99 in paperback. ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour.

Woman in a White Coat

 

GREAT TO BE CHOOSING MY OWN BANANAS

 

Lovely to see full shelves

Now that we’ve been vaccinated against Covid and the rules for masking and social distancing are being more generally obeyed, we feel able to go shopping for ourselves, instead of having to have our groceries delivered. As a retired consultant pathologist, I have no problem with wearing a mask – it’s just like the old days!!

Last Friday, the Tesco store in Kensington was immaculate, the shelves stuffed full of goodies. It was lovely – going to the supermarket in person, being able to select bananas of just the right degree of ripeness and choose between Hovis’ own granary flour and Allison Country Grain flour, taking time to read the package details.

Yes of course I take a list, but at least I don’t have to keep checking that my shopping adds up to £40. Oftentimes, as an elderly couple with smaller appetites than in our youth, we’ve struggled to make our orders up to £40 and had to add things we don’t really need yet. Some supermarkets charge £4 –a whopping 10% – to orders under £40, while some, like Waitrose, won’t deliver orders under £40 at all.

I really missed being able to just wander around and get inspired by what is available and choose fruit and vegetables as they come into season.

But then I just love shopping. One of our regular weekend treats was wandering around shops, not necessarily buying anything – interspersed with visits to one of the great art galleries we have in London.

Zoom is super for browsing and online classes, but there’s nothing like seeing art in the flesh. Have to wait to redeem the tickets we’ve booked when finally, lockdown is relaxed.

Read more of Abby’s stories in her memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and her previous posts Abby’s Tales of Then and Now. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site and get a taster for free.

Woman in a White Coat’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £9.99 in paperback. ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’ is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour.

Woman in a White Coat

NOT AGAIN!! NOT MORE FRACTURES

I can’t watch even though I’ve carried out loads of injections as both a dentist and a doctor

I was hurrying towards the taxi to take us to the hospital for the 2nd dose of our Covid-19 vaccine when I caught my foot in one of those large triangular signs that indicate where pedestrians should walk outside some scaffolding and I went flying.

Having osteoporosis, I usually break a long bone when I fall. The last time I tripped was on the steps leaving our flats to go to the cinema, and I broke my left ankle. Previously I tripped over a broken paving stone while looking across the road to see where my piano teacher’s flat was. On that occasion, I broke my left wrist, managed to play my concert piece with him using just my right hand, and then drove home in heavy traffic through Trafalgar Square and St James’s Park using only my right hand. My worst fracture was of my right hip in Spain where I had gone to help Louise, who was having her second baby. We were on the way to the obstetrician for her to have a check-up when I tripped over my thick-soled Doc Marten’s lookalikes. This was during the severe ‘flu epidemic of 2000. The NHS Hospital, the Residencia, was full so I had my hip replacement surgery in a delightful private hospital up on the hillside above San Sebastian, but still covered by my NHS card. I’ve a couple of crush fractures of my vertebrae due to my osteoporosis. No idea when they occurred.

So, with Josh’s help, I picked myself, dusted myself down, got into the taxi, had my jab, and came home. I had fallen hard on my left side and by now it had started to ache badly. Over the rest of the day and the following day the pain got worse. Three ribs on my left side were tender. I couldn’t sleep lying down. Coughing, hiccupping, and burping were all agony. It’s not until you do any of these normal things and it hurts, that you realise how often you carry them out. I’ve tried strapping, hot packs and ice packs, but I think the cure has to be just time. Now, a week later, though those ribs are tender to the touch, they only hurt when I lean back in my chair or I forget and try to lie down on that side.

In normal times I would have asked my GP to book an X-ray at the local Health Centre just to check – I always have at the back of my mind that any fracture could be through a bone weakened by a deposit of my breast cancer, even all these years later. But in these Covid times, a not strictly necessary X-ray clearly isn’t on. It wasn’t until I had a full bone scan in 2002 to see whether my breast cancer had spread to my bones – it hadn’t – that I had a previous rib fracture confirmed. I’ll no doubt find out next time I need a chest  Xray for some other reason. Healed fractures leave a scar on the bones.

It’s been a horrid few days but worth it to feel we now have antibodies against Covid-19 and can at least start to get our own shopping at the supermarket – being careful to mask and keep to social distancing.

Many thanks to all those who wrote to say they were enjoying my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and my new book ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’.

Woman in a White Coat

 

 

 

 

 

TOUCHY-FEELY -REFLECTIONS WHILST SHIELDING

Take care and keep safe

I’m not one of those people who are always touching you as you stand talking to them – poking you in the ribs, touching you on the arm – but I find I miss the human touch. I’m lucky, I have Josh to give me a quick kiss and a cuddle, but I miss the casual kisses and hugs that have come to be part of normal greeting.

We didn’t kiss or cuddle in our family and I remember being surprised and delighted when Josh’s rather reserved parents kissed me when I arrived for a meal and when I left. I soon got used to kissing our friends hullo and goodbye, though I think Josh always had some reservations about greeting our male friends that way. Soon, a kiss and a hug was how we greeted everyone.

However, I certainly wasn’t happy about being given a quick cuddle by my much taller male colleagues when I was working as a senior pathology consultant. That’s the trouble with being five foot nothing – they felt it was fine to give me a cuddle as they passed me in the corridor, even when I absolutely didn’t fancy them.

It was worse when I had my one and only perm. My dark hair frizzed up like the back of a curly haired sheep and my colleagues couldn’t resist patting me on the head. Once was enough. It was back to my nearly straight hair and a French pleat as soon as it grew out.

For years I’ve had my hair cut really short but after five months of shielding it’s long enough for a little bun and soon I shall have a French pleat again –white now, not the deep black it was when I last wore my hair up.

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now. It is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster

HEARING AID LADY

My neat little charger and my hearing aids

I had my first hearing test when we were still living in Marylebone. A flyer came through the door stating that the big chemist on Wigmore Street, John Bell and Croydon, was offering free hearing tests. Being retired and with nothing better to do, I made an appointment for the following afternoon.

Not surprisingly, the test showed the usual high frequency loss associated with being well over 60. I wasn’t conscious of not hearing well and did nothing further until I got new glasses at Specsavers and saw that they were now also doing hearing aids.

A pleasant young woman tested my ears and prescribed hearing aids. They were OK, but I tended to wear them only when I remembered. I was discussing this with the Music Lecturer at CityLit and telling her that the hearing aids ruined the sound when I played the piano. She recommended Harley Street Hearing. The audiologist there was the first to adjust her aids so she heard music as it should sound.

That was two years ago. Now I need to wear them all the time and I have a variety of programs including one for when I play the piano and one for TV.

I opted for rechargeable hearing aids. Mine has a small recharging box connected to power via a C type USB lead. There is no messing about with those wretched little round batteries I had for the previous models. I just position my hearing aids in the charger every night.

There is, however, an extra problem in this Coronavirus Time. When I went out and looped my mask over my ears, I often dislodged my hearing aids. I bought a pack of toothed extenders from Amazon and hook my mask onto one of those. The mask then stretches across the back of my head instead of behind my ears. Problem solved!!

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now is£2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster for free.

https://amzn.to/3hX6z2D

 

OUR 4 MONTHS IN ISOLATION – MORE BOOKS WAITING TO BE READ

The books on our desk waiting to be read.

The books I borrowed from the library are mainly fun books, light and maybe a little silly. The books that sit on the little desk in our bedroom are books we bought or were given as birthday presents. You can see which are Josh’s. He’s the one who likes biographies. The only biography that is mine is my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’. It’s there so I can refer to it while writing the sequel and check I’m not repeating myself.

As you see from the titles of the books, I’ve developed an interest in the brain. When I was training as a pathologist, I worked for a month at the Hospital for Neurological Disorders. For me, the brain was an organ I removed at post-mortem, fixed in formalin for six months and then examined thin slices under the microscope. At that time, in the early 1970s, MRIs were just an experimental procedure. We didn’t dream that we would ever be able to look at patient’s brains in an f MRI and see which part of them were functional and lit up. Then, our knowledge was mainly based on what happened when parts of the brain were removed by surgery or by accident – which functions were lost when that part was damaged or lost.

Maybe when I grow up I’ll have one more career as a neurophysiologist – if I survive the latest plague!!

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

SELF-ISOLATED AND BORED??

Woman in a White Coat

May I suggest you read my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’? A young girl grows up in Petticoat Lane in the 1930s. Born when the Great Depression was at its height, in spite of being poor, she grows up to become a dentist, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a consultant pathologist and cancer researcher, as well as a wife and mother of four. The highs and lows of an 88-year long life.

If libraries stay open you can borrow a copy or get a taster on Amazon free by clicking on ‘Look inside.’

Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

SHUT AWAY FOR FOUR MONTHS??

As you see from the bookmarks I always have at least two books on the go

It’s not compulsory yet, but for us elderly folk it’s almost certainly coming. By chance, I passed our local library at the weekend so I collected some more books – now 13 in all. They’re a mixture – mainly my favourite whodunits, but also some poetry and a collection of Oscar Wilde’s witty remarks. I’ve still got half a dozen of my own books to read – some I bought and some left by Louise when she paid us a flying visit last month.

Daily exercise should help. When our physiotherapist granddaughter popped over from San Sebastian I was jealous of her fancy sports watch. Too mean to buy an expensive one like hers, I ordered a much less pricy Letscom fitness tracker. My hip replacement has been painful for years and I gave up on exercise classes for the over 50s so I started by doing 10 minutes of mixed exercises each day. Yesterday I was able to do that much twice. Luckily our flat has a long corridor so I start by walking up and down 10 or more times.

I’ll try to complete the sequel to my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ which I finished in 2017 as I was recovering from the heart attack that nearly took me off. I’m aiming to get back to writing every day. It’s easy to get lazy but if I’m going to be a virtual prisoner for 4 months I’ll need to structure my time.

And I’ve even started sorting and clearing out the kitchen drawers. Amazing how much stuff we oldies accumulate that we’re never going to use again!!

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat