Saturday, 2 May 2015

Calvary Hospital

was once run by nuns - the Little Sisters of Mary.
It is where Middle Cat is currently incarcerated. She hopes to slink back to the rehabilitation place very shortly. The food, she tells me, is better there. Yes, hospital food does tend to be dire. I took her some grapes and mandarins yesterday because there is no fresh fruit to be had. ("Fruit salad" comes out of a tin.) Why?
The hospital itself is, quite frankly, old. The bathrooms were last redecorated back in the fifties and must be a nightmare to try and keep clean. Middle Cat's room reminds me of the only episode I ever saw of an American medical drama with "doctor" someone who was supposedly a neurosurgeon. That would have been in the early sixties - my maternal grandmother thought it was "lovely". I was bored but I do remember the decor. 
My paternal grandfather had one of those essential male operations there. I can remember going to visit him. The place was staffed by nuns then - nuns in full habits. We children, just Brother Cat and myself, were very, very well behaved at the sight of these alarming women. I remember however that my grandfather, a staunch Presbyterian, saying they were good to him. It is, of course, highly likely his reputation had gone before him. 
There was no nun in a habit in sight yesterday. The only reminder of their existence are the ward names and the small plaque on the pillar in the foyer. It tells people of the beginnings of the hospital. The hospice next door still has some nuns working in it. I know one of them. She wears "sensible" slacks to work these days. Her life has been spent tending to the dying.
Middle Cat was having her BP taken by a lively young nurse with a Greek-Cypriot background. They were discussing the nurse's forthcoming wedding and laughing about the fact that the nurse was "eloping" so as to avoid all the traditional fuss my sister had to endure.
The "vampire" from pathology turned up too - to take a blood sample - a male vampire. He and Senior Cat agreed that the role had once been "women only". 
It's certainly different now. When my grandfather was there the only male staff were doctors. I suspect that everyone employed there would have been a Catholic. Yesterday one of the nurses was a rather good looking young man. The specialist talking to a nurse at the nurses' station is Jewish. I know because I once did some work for her.  She gave me a wave of acknowledgment as I passed. The sense of self importance seems to have diminished. I wonder if it makes them better at their jobs?

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