Stretcher-Bearer

By my dad….

Stretcher-bearer. One may think this is a strange title for my next few paragraphs on life living on the edge, but you’ll smile as this is the answer to one of the clues in last week’s prize cryptic Scotsman crossword. Yes, I do have time for some relaxation between chores!stretcher bearer

I worked in my late teens over the summer holidays in Bangour General Hospital (trying to keep out of my Dad’s way) as a theatre orderly. This included me being, if you like, the stretcher-bearer to those heading towards the knife. Those requiring surgery of one kind or another saw me, hopefully as one who smiled and chatted about this and that to try to reduce their anxiety level somewhat. I took them down to the bright lights of surgical precision and returned them to the “comfort” of the hospital beds hopefully feeling a great deal better.

Working there a good few years later made me realise that the efficient running of a busy establishment with the inflow and outflow of life itself depends on not only the consultants (my dear departed dad included) but everyone, including the cleaners are not only necessary but essential. This hospital was one where injured and badly burnt soldiers came by train from Edinburgh to have pioneering plastic surgery treatment during the First World War. The stretcher-bearers then were there to comfort these men and provide a new backbone to their shattered lives.

I feel a bit like that although I cannot take Jane back to the ward clinically better, but perhaps I can support her and not let her slip backwards into the fire that is hell. I am not terribly religious but I had a Christian upbringing. God is there somewhere but at times he seems too busy to cast his eyes on us. I tend to have a word with the bosses upstairs most nights but I tend to keep away from the Holy Ghost.

Jane has been quite good today and has had a massage and a facial which cheered her up greatly. Not too much work for me today – in fact the canvas and poles are redundant in the cupboard under the stairs. Perhaps I’ll be using them tomorrow. This is my life now -and fortunately I have had my stretcher-bearer experience which I can use in my role of wife bearer (please note not wife beater!) and I am very lucky that she is slim ! Carrying her around, keeping her safe and preventing her from falling off is the best I can do.

I think the kids (can I call them that now?) are doing wonderful jobs as stretcher- bearers as their lives are filled with tossing coloured balls into the air and trying to catch only the red ones!  We are very proud of them all. To go back to the crossword : the clue was –        injured porter 8,6.

Well – time to pack up and go. Thank you Sarah, for continuing your thoughts and we hope Mabel improves in the waterworks department!

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