NHS – I can only say good things about it….

i-08ca6e167e2e8304689525a2dcadee28-stevetop_small.jpg So, here I am recovering from my broken foot. At the end of last week I had to go to hospital to have the cast removed, another x-ray and see another doctor to find out whether things were getting better or worse.

With all the bad things you hear about the NHS in the media, it would make sense to expect slow service and poor facilities. In all my trips to the hospitals to fix my foot, I’ve experienced only pleasant staff, excellent service and complete care. From the moment I arrived at casualty at Ashford hospital at 2am I was treated well. Both the doctors on duty were dealing with 2 serious accidents brought in by ambulances so the triage nurse arrange for me to get X-Rays rather than wait. After the X-Ray it was clear the doctors were not going to be available for a while so she managed to find a bone specialist on duty elsewhere in the hospital. All in all I was treated in 2 hours. I find that more than acceptable for an organisation that can’t accurately predict when members of the population will injure themselves.

Forward 1 week and I have a follow up appointment at Canterbury hospital. All my paperwork had been forwarded (actually, the X-Rays are electronic images and I guess they share the same computer system with Ashord) and I was sent for another X-Ray. The doctor decided a cast would now help the bone fix faster and leave me a little more comfortable (every light touch to the foot was painful). I had the cast fitted and went home within 2 hours.

Last week, 4 weeks after the accident I returned to Canterbury for the cast to be removed and another X-Ray. The X-Ray was good, the foot felt a million times better (the doctor could touch it without me hitting the ceiling) the only problem I was left with was restricted movement due to the muscle wastage. I was immediately referred to the physio-therapists at the other end of the hospital, seen within half an hour and given an exercise plan to help me get back to running. I have another appointment in 2 weeks with the same physiotherapist and she mentioned that if the movement is good by then I may be able to join their weekly gym class. The whole process was complete with 3 hours of my arrival.

Every one of the staff I have dealt with has been pleasant and professional. Despite all these positive things I have to say about our local NHS hospitals, I still wouldn’t encourage anyone to break a bone to try them out.

Ever wonderered what the web server looks like?

i-e5c74b332d0f858ecd57ef9e60db462a-ourwebserver.jpgHave you ever wondered what our web server looks like? No? Just me then. Well, if ever you do wonder, it looks like this. Working 24 hours a day every day of the year alongside lots of similar friends doing the same job. Not visible in the picture is the Cisco firewall which stops nasty people trying to break into it.

This is “server2” which was in a datacentre near Heathrow. Since this picture was taken it has retired and we are now using “server3” which has the cute nickname of “chestnuts”. It was ‘born’ over Christmas this year when we moved to a new datacentre. Building a new server in the new datacentre meant the transfer was invisible to web visitors with no downtime. It also let us upgrade a some of the software.

Bereavement, and why I don't know what to say

I just this minute heard from an acquaintance that someone close to him died. I don’t know him that well, I’ve never met or spoken to him, just worked on some computer things with him. Yet the minute I read the message I was in mental turmoil.

I never have felt comfortable hearing someone say that someone close them has died. I don’t think it’s the death itself I have the problem with, it’s what I should say to the living. I am genuinely sorry to hear of someones death whether I knew them or not. I just don’t feel that saying sorry or sending my condolences equate to much, especially when I don’t know the person who died.

I do know how I’ve felt when members of my family died. When my granddad Root died, I felt a great loss that I will no longer be able to debate with him, that I never got to visit the places he spent the war to here his accounts surrounded by the scenery. I feel like crying just typing about it. Yet at the same time, I’m so happy he made his life a success. As he said to me once, “I’ve had my 3 score and 10 years…”, said with the contentment of a man who knows he is happy, he was a success.

When my granddad Mitchell died I was only 10. I remember sitting in the limousine following the hearse with my mum. I was looking out of the corner of the window thinking “I wonder what my friends are doing in school”, then at someone on the path looking at our procession my thoughts veered into “I should be really sad now, but I’m not”. I felt guilty then, which is probably why it etched itself into my memory (even the street background of red brick terraced houses and large grey paving slabs for the path). At 10 years old I never developed the relation ship with Granddad Mitchell that I did with Granddad Root.

When someone says to me that someone they know has recently died, I really don’t know what to say that will make them feel better. This time, after a few minutes of writing then deleting things I finally sent a single line reply, “Sorry to hear the news”. I hope it meant something positive.

The Peacemaker (C.S.Forrester)

This is one of those gems you can only find in a second hand bookshop. The tatty cover of the edition I found of this relatively thin novel had been well worn in it’s 35 year life. For the life of me I don’t know how second hand book sellers know what is worth keeping and what needs to be thrown. This thin novel is the sort to be thrown away but I think it was saved by it’s authors name alone. He wrote the “Hornblower” series which I have yet to start reading but have only heard good things.

This story is a totally non nautical story of a very intelligent mathematician and physics teacher who discovers that a magnetic field can not only be cancelled out by his new invention, a permanent magnet can loose it’s magnetic effect completely. Through a set of circumstances he tries to use the device to force the world to disarm so there cannot be war again. It is easy to forget just how magnets are crucial to our modern lives, so 30 years after this book was printed the story is still just as valid and realistic. Except this book wasn’t the first edition, C S Forrester wrote this story over 70 years ago in the 1930’s.

The story of the Peacemaker is fabulously told and if you come across it, pick it up to read.