What’s In A Name?

This is a post was inspired by a thread on a friend’s Facebook timeline. My friend has decided to return to her given name rather than the shortened version of it that she has been using for a number of years. It caused quite a stir, not one person criticised her decision but many gave their own reasons for the name they use as opposed to the one their parents chose. It’s a subject I’m quite passionate about and I’d love to know how you feel about your name.

 

My given name is Dianne. As a child, I was never referred to as Di. The only ‘shortening’ of my name that was allowed was the one my younger brother used ‘Dan’ but only until he was old enough to pronounce the full version.

My name has caused me trouble all my life. You see, my dad decided if I was to be Dianne, I had to have two  ‘n’s.  So I spent my school days and working life saying, “it’s Dianne with two n’s”

When I married and changed my last name, further problems arose. I now had to say, “it’s Dianne with two n’s and Horsfield without the e” You have no idea how often people became flustered.

Then I changed jobs and I decided I wanted to claim my own identity and became Di. I still have the Horsfield without the e conversation far more often than I like but what can one do? My name is not Diane Horsefield. It just isn’t me. Now, my husband, dad (who I absolutely promise has never once spelt my name right!) my maternal aunt and my friend from school, call me Dianne.

Then I got to thinking about my family’s names. My kids have names we thought couldn’t be shortened. One can’t and isn’t, the other three get a variety of version of the name we gave them. It’s their choice, and I am guilty of shortening their names too.
But then there’s my husband.

His name is Malcolm. He’s called Gavin. (An argument between his parents meant he was registered as Malcolm but only his dad called him it and he stopped fighting his corner within three weeks) But officially his name is Malcolm.
As a newly wed, I went to register us both at the local GP surgery. I gave the receptionist our names, dates of birth, previous doctor’s name and so on and went to take my seat to wait for my appointment with the nurse.

I’d been sat there a few minutes trying to decide whether I had time to pick up one of the dog-eared magazines, when I suddenly realised I had made a mistake. I went back to the receptionist and whispered, “I gave you the wrong name for my husband.” The woman’s hearing must have failed as she asked me to repeat myself. I tried again, a little louder but hoping to keep it as private as possible. Again, the receptionist pled deafness. I’m sure I saw a smirk cross her mouth. I’ve never been known for my patient streak. I now spoke loudly enough for the entire over crowded waiting room to hear that I was very sorry but my husband name is not Gavin, it’s Malcolm!

The sniggers, giggles and open guffaws from the reception area and waiting patients caused me to flush. I was also rather cross (Have I mentioned I’m not very patient?) I explained, in what I considered to be a reasonable tone, pitch and level given the situation, that I was not bloody responsible for his sodding name and advised those who thought I might have had some sort of memory lapse or having a torrid affair with some random bloke, to take it up with my husband’s damn parents!

At that point the nurse called my name and I stomped off down the corridor vowing I would never again do anything that involved me giving his name. If anybody needed his name and details he could damn well do it himself on his bloody day off.  I had almost calmed down to a more acceptable level when the nurse handed me some paperwork to sign. Guess what? The stupid people had spelt BOTH my names incorrectly!

So for my sanity please I’m Di, Dan, Danni, Dianni, but never Diane Horsefield!

At the market

Today, as a special treat, I’ve invited Nancy Jardine to my blog. Her second book in her Celtic Ferver series is launched today After Whorl: Bran Reborn.

This guest post is by Nancy Jardine

This guest post is by Nancy Jardine


Saturday 14th December, nice and early, I went out to sell at our local Farmers’ Market. Do I have produce like some home grown Brussels sprouts, or some carrots or home made bread? No, I have none of those things. And yet, I am allowed to sell at the market.

Before 9am, I turned up to find the stall awnings were already erected and my table was allocated. I only needed a small table, the cost £15 for the four hour duration of the market. It took me only a minute to whip a nice white cutwork cloth onto the scarred wooden slatted rectangle of wood that serves as a table. I’ve sold at the market a couple of times before and know how many skelfs one can get in one’s fingers if not careful (some people would call them splinters) so I cover with a nice white cloth to show off my wares. Unlike some of the stall holders who sell copious amounts of breads, or beers or cakes, or vegetables, or even jewellery, it doesn’t take me long to pile up a few samples of my energy draining efforts. I also don’t need to be at the market square for 7 am to get the electrics set up for the refrigeration needed for the stalls which sell meat or fish.

My produce is my books.

I whip a few examples of my novels on to the table and fuss them into the best displaying place. During the summer, I found the direct sunlight made some books shine more than others, though that wasn’t the case today. It wasn’t bad for almost mid December – no rain but the gathering cloud told of rain to come, though at that early time the wind was light. After the books were in place, I spread around some business cards, leaflets and some bookmarks detailing my novels. I adjusted a few advertising posters which were placed prominently behind me on a large placard that leaned against the plastic canvas of the awnings of the stalls, and some others at the side of the table set at comfortable reading height.

Two of those laminated adverts were very important, today, since one of them gave details of my ancestral mystery Topaz Eyes which has been nominated for The People’s Book Prize, and the other was information about After Whorl: Bran Reborn being launched on Monday 16th December 2013. I used a cast iron recipe book stand to display one of the posters. I pulled out some pens and my all-important cash box.

This photo is shown with permission of Nancy Jardine

This photo is shown with permission of Nancy Jardine


I was ready, so I waited. For customers. It took around 10 minutes before I had my first sale. I was buoyed up! I was selling. Smiles a mile wide!

Around 12.15pm, what had been an un-troublesome wind began to be a naughty one. The canvas awning behind me started flapping. Some of those flaps were quite dramatic when the huge metal clamps were dislodged. The canvas did a lot of shimmy shimmying and the packaging boxes behind the stallholders started a merry tap dance. It was one of those “Oh!” moments. Would it seem wimpy to pack up just because of a few major gusts of wind? A few moments later it had whipped up to 65 mph gales (at least that was what it felt like!) which descended on the area really quickly. High winds around noon were predicted so it actually didn’t come as too much of a surprise: gradual would have been good though. While my inner self was debating the wimpy question and I was smiling as though nothing unusual was happening, the awning behind me suddenly flew up and off and that was it for the day. Books are perishable, and when the plastic weatherproof awning has taken flight, the books are too precious a commodity to leave out. There was the merest hint of rain when the gust ceased. PANIC! I fought for some seconds to catch the end of the very large canvas, someone else assisting. On my side of the market, it was totally chaotic. When the table began to lift into the air, I got more than a bit worried! Fortunately, the stall next to me was a church group selling hot mulled wine and bacon butties and had lots of women in attendance. Help was at hand.

I used to be amazed at how quickly we could strike camp as a Girl Guide. Today was one better. Those stalls were cleared in about four minutes flat! The Christmas trees had to be caught from being special flying broomsticks! The unsold wreaths were grasped like basketballs and bumped and banged into boxes, but the pros of the market are like ‘Grease Lightening’! They jump around like blue…flies helping each other, and the rookies like me!

Definitely done for the day!

Back in AD 71, would my main characters in my historical romantic adventure novel, After Whorl: Bran Reborn, be doing anything similar? No. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t…and yet they do ‘sort of’ go to market. They want to thwart the Roman usurpers in any and every way possible, but full on confrontation isn’t the way. Brennus knows exactly how efficient the Roman fighting machine is and knows he needs to find other more creative ways to prevent Roman infiltration of northern Brigantia. Trade is a good way for him and Ineda, his newly acquired foster- sister, to be closer to the Roman forts that are springing up around them. Closer means more chance that their spying will be fruitful but that requires a good excuse for being in the proximity of the Roman-only enclave. Determined to get inside those fort gates, trading with the Roman scum is a very lucrative way.

Do Brennus (under the guise of Bran) and Ineda set up a market stall like I just did this morning? No. They wouldn’t be allowed to by the Romans. In Britannia, small towns did grow up around fort walls, populated by local Celtic trades’ people, but I don’t believe that would have happened yet in northern climes in AD 71. Though, it was happening in southern ‘England’ because those areas had been settled on by the Roman Empire for decades. That settling hadn’t yet happened in the north, in AD 71.

What I imagine must have occurred was that around the newly built northern Roman forts (Yorkshire) the Celtic tribespeople, who traded goods for Roman coin, would have delivered their wares to the stalls manned by immunes. In the Roman Army, immunes were skilled workforces who were particularly trained to do some special function. There were engineers, road builders, bridge builders… The list goes on. Those men who supplied the special skills needed were war trained, but did not take up arms unless they were being directly attacked. They were not the main fighting force.
Tribes mentioned in Bran Reborn
During my research, I’ve found it quite fascinating to read of the immune force of men who kept the Roman ‘siege machine’ well oiled, and well supplied! So, in my novel After Whorl: Bran Reborn, Brennus and Ineda deliver their leather and woollen cloth to Dulius, the Roman soldier who is second in charge of supplies at the fort named Nidd. After that, the leather and cloth Brennus and Ineda sell will be given to the Roman stallholders. The fighting force of Roman legionary and auxiliary soldiers were expected to ensure their own kit and uniform were serviceable. If they needed something new- for example if their tunic was irreparable -they had to pay for a new one. Money in actual coin rarely changed hands, I’ve read, but each soldier had an ‘account book’. The immune accountant would deduct the money a soldier needed for a new tunic from the year’s wages. I think supplies had to be constant to keep up with demand.

Although Bran and Ineda do not set up a stall like I did this morning the Roman stallholders would have. I don’t expect they would have had a pretty cloth covering the table like I did, but I do think they would have had a hard time selling their goods if poor weather descended upon them. They probably did have some sort of awnings which would have provided some shelter but gusty winds would have scattered their produce just like happened to me. The milled oats and ground emmer wheat, cloth, leather, vegetables, cloth, fish, meat cuts, etc would have been simply laid out on a flat surface. All would be susceptible to the vagaries of northern ‘English’ weather conditions. The decanus, a soldier in charge of a group of around 8-10 men, would maybe have done the market ‘buying’ since it’s thought they cooked and ate in their ‘tent’ group ( a contubernium was the name given to the ‘unit’ of 8-10 men ). That decanus would have been quick off the mark if the goods he was intending to buy suddenly flew off the table!

Some things never change!

Di- thank you so much for inviting me to chatter today, and I’ll also take the opportunity to say I’m deeply thankful of the constant support you give me on Facebook!

To Di’s readers I hope you get a kick out of reading my windy stories! Comments will be very welcome! (And lucrative for someone who wins an ecopy of After Whorl: Bran Reborn)

Facebook Launch Party **Giveaways**

For a chance to enter the draw for a ‘triquetra’ necklace and other prizes join Nancy’s Facebook Launch party https://www.facebook.com/events/520880144659724/ and look for details of how to win the prizes on offer.

Blog launch Tour **Special Prize**
A special Blog Tour ‘friend’ will WIN a mystery gift for the most commented visits to blogs during the launch tour for After Whorl: Bran Reborn. (i.e. most comments between 9th Dec and 18th Dec wins the prize) To be sure you don’t miss any blog posts check Nancy’s Blog regularly between the 9th Dec and the 17th Dec. http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com

Nancy Jardine lives in the fantastic ‘castle country’ of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband. She spends her week making creative excuses for her neglected large garden; doesn’t manage as much writing as she always plans to do since she’s on Facebook too often, but she does have a thoroughly great time playing with her toddler granddaughter when she’s just supposed to be ‘just’ childminding her twice a week.

A lover of all things historical it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and Crooked Cat Publishing.
You’ll find Nancy at the following places: Amazon UK author page Amazon US author page Blog Website Facebook Goodreads About Me LinkedIn Twitter @nansjar Google+
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Ravaged by war
…AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed.

Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion.

Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father.

When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.

The Perfect Gift?

I wrote this a while ago and thought, as it’s near Christmas, I’d share it with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Donna couldn’t wait for Christmas morning. She hadn’t been this excited since she was eight years old and had asked Santa for a new bike.

She had not been disappointed! Running downstairs on the frosty morning, she pushed open the living room door. There, under the tree was the exact bike she had seen in the shop window. Her shrieks of joy had woken her parents, who joined their tearful daughter under the tree.

Yes, that had been the best Christmas ever. But, this Christmas promised to be even better. It was her first in the new flat and also her first with Simon.

Simon was very special. He treat Donna like a princess. He was kind and thoughtful, he had an amazing sense of humour, he’d even got Donna’s mother wrapped around his little finger!

For the last month Simon had been promising Donna something special for Christmas. She had tried and tried to get him to give her at least a hint as to what it my be but Simon had kept his secret. All he would say was that it was something she had been asking for.

This was not a lot of help! Donna was an avid window shopper and was constantly pointing things out that she would like. She had seen a beautiful watch in the jewellers, a music centre in the electrical store, shoes, numerous tops, skirts, trousers and the most amazing checked jacket!

On Christmas Eve, Donna tried once more. Snuggled up on the sofa, a soppy movie on TV and a glass of whiskey cream in hand, she looked into Simon’s gentle, blue eyes.

“Is there no way I can persuade you to tell me what you have bought me? The suspense is nearly killing me. Plleeeease tell me”
Simon grinned his lopsided grin. His left eye crinkled slightly more than his right. Donna thought this was particularly cute.

Simon bent his head and kissed her on the nose.

“Nope, not a thing! Don’t worry, you won’t have long to wait! Let me see, only another seven hours.”

Donna’s excitement thrilled him. He’d never met anyone who was as impatient as her. Her childlike enthusiasm convinced him even more that the gift he had bought her would be ideal. He was nearly as excited about it as Donna was!

“Seven hours!” shrieked Donna. “Seven hours? But it will be midnight in two, and then it’s officially Christmas!”

Laughing, Simon tussled Donna’s hair. “Everyone knows Santa doesn’t come until you are fast asleep!”

Having no choice in the matter, Donna pouted before finishing her drink in one gulp.

“Right, well if that’s the case, my mum always said that the sooner I went to sleep, the sooner Santa would come, and the sooner I go to bed, the sooner I’ll go to sleep. So, I am going to bed.”

Donna spun on her heels, and stuck her tongue out at Simon.

Christmas morning dawned bright and sunny. Donna, yawned and stretched before turning to a slumbering Simon.

“Wake up! It’s CHRISTMAS!”

“Morning baby. Happy Christmas. What time is it?”

“It’s pressie time silly! Come on! Get up!”

Unable to resist Donna’s demands any longer, he followed her downstairs.

Under the tree, a huge pile of gaudily wrapped presents of all shapes and sizes sat waiting to be ripped open.

Diving in, Donna gradually worked her way through the mini mountain, sharing out the gifts.

Donna had read each and every tag before opening her presents and now sat in the centre of a pile of crumpled, discarded wrapping paper, a selection of perfumes, chocolates, Compact discs, make-up, tops, a pretty necklace and some novelty slippers.

With no more presents left to open, Donna was more than a little perturbed. She hadn’t opened one from Simon. She had made sure she knew which present came from whom and there was definitely not one from Simon. Had he forgotten to put it under the tree? Or maybe, it was too big, or better still, too small, to put under the tree!

“Simon honey. I don’t mean to be rude, but, I haven’t found the present from you.”

“That’s because I wanted you to open it last!”

Fighting his way through the wrapping and being careful not to tread on any of their presents, Simon strode over to the TV cabinet. Reaching behind it, he pulled out a large box covered in shiny gold paper.

Donna’s eyes widened.

“Happy Christmas darling. I just know you’ll love it!”

Donna’s jaw dropped as the paper fell away to reveal what Simon had bought her. She was truly speechless!

“Oh darling! I knew you’d love it! It is the one you’d seen and wanted so much isn’t it?”

“It’s…It’s…” Donna just could not find the words.

Luckily, Simon mistook the tears that were welling in her eyes for tears of joy.

Taking the half opened parcel from her hands, Simon shook the contents free of the last remnants of gold paper.

“It’s an Antony Worrell-Thompson wok! It’s got all the tools and a huge recipe book! I knew you’d be surprised!”

Surprised! That was the understatement of the century!

Somehow she told Simon that yes, it was the one she had seen and no, she most certainly would never have guessed in a million years that this was what he had bought her.

Donna scrambled to her feet and ran to the bathroom where the tears fell unchecked.

“A wok? What in God’s name was he thinking?” she asked her reflection. All that excitement and anticipation for a bloody wok! She’d never forgive him! If he thought that she was going to be bowled over by a bloody wok, he really did not know her at all! The worst of it was, it would have cost a fortune! Stupid, stupid man!

She pulled herself together before emerging from the bathroom. A blazing row followed, the outcome of which saw Donna spending the rest of the holidays alone. The wok had followed Simon through the door!

Most definitely NOT the perfect Christmas present!

A Short Piece To Make You Smile

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 Fifty Quid

 

 

“Guess what mam I’ve sold that ornament you hate. Got fifty quid for it too!”

 

I was dead proud of meself. Mr Jenkins’d wanted to give me twenty but I did like they do on telly and told him I wanted eighty. I couldn’t believe it when he’d given me fifty. I felt right grown up!

 

A sharp crack stung me face. I’d expected me mam to be chuffed, not to crack me.

 

“You stupid, stupid boy!” I’d never seen her so mad.

 

“But mam you hated it.” I was nearly crying, but 10 year old boys don’t cry so I swallowed hard.

 

“I nicked it.” Her voice was odd, shaking like and she looked scared. “I nicked it. It was a one off. I couldn’t sell the bloody thing because it was so rare.” Then she swore. I’d never heard me mam swear. She looked round the room, her eyes were weird like the pictures of rabbits I’ve seen when a car’s coming towards them and they don’t know which way to turn. She’d not moved when the cops turned up, three vans and a car, all with their lights flashing.

They took pictures off the walls, checked all the furniture and emptied the drawers and cupboards. Me mam just sat with her head in her hands. Me Nan came for me. She never even looked at me mam, just grabbed me hand and brought me here. I’ve not seen me mam since. I’m not allowed to mention her.

Nobody asked me about the money I got from Mr Jenkins, so I’ve hid it and one day when I’m grown up, I’m going to use it to find her and tell her I’m sorry for selling the ornament.

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Have You Made A Will?

I admit, this won’t make easy reading for some and it certainly isn’t light-hearted. Having said that, it is something I feel very strongly about and a topic I believe to be far too easily pushed aside in our modern Western life. We may be a little more willing to discuss what may become of various body parts should we die tragically but what about growing old? What about an incurable illness or dementia in all its awful guises?

I hope This doesn’t upset anyone, but I do hope it makes anyone who reads it, think and maybe even TALK about death and dying.

Do you have a life insurance policy? How about a prepaid funeral plan? A Will? Have you discussed with your nearest and dearest which, if any, organs you will donate for transplantation?
It’s now no longer taboo to talk about what we prefer to happen to our earthly remains and any finances after we die. But how many of us have even thought about what will happen in the weeks, days or hours before we die?
Despite as Benjamin Franklyn proclaimed some 250 years ago, “The only thing certain in life is death and taxes” many of us are reluctant to even think about the act of dying.
Given the choice most of us would die peacefully in our own bed with those dearest to us nearby. Unfortunately, for many of us, death will occur in a hospital bed, and while this may be appropriate for some, for others, whose death is expected this does not have to be the case.
The Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP), in conjunction with the Gold Standards Framework Prognostic Indicator Guide, offers a tool for patients and doctors to broach the subject of death. It gives us permission to admit that we are mortal, that not all illness and disease can be cured and that we do in fact have choices about what we want in the last few months, days, hours of life.
We have become complacent and demanding; demanding that every effort be made to prolong our moment of death for as long as possible; complacent in believing that our doctors have the ability to make us all but immortal. This is not helped by the ever increasing number of drugs that promise, despite the cost, to extend our lives for a few more weeks, days, hours. No generation before has had this opportunity, but, is this always a good thing?
It’s not until something catastrophic occurs to a friend, relative, or even ourselves we are brought up sharp. Suddenly death looms but we won’t discuss it. We are societally more willing to discuss our sex life than the fact we will die. Right to the very last minute, we will expect a miracle drug to be produced. Regardless of how unpleasant side effects may be, we want our doctors to fight to the end. Death is not an acceptable outcome. We want our friend or relative to live for ever. We’ve not discussed death with them. We haven’t even considered the possibility that they will leave us. Even with our very elderly and frail relatives, the thought of death is unpalatable. We allow them to be shipped may be numerous times, to hospital from their home, be that in the community or residential care, for treatment of infection. Do we ever stop and ask whether they want to be treated aggressively? Do we dare to consider how we ourselves would wish to be cared for if our roles were reversed?
I’m pretty certain that if given the option, all of us would wish to die peacefully in our sleep in the comfort of the place we call home. Unfortunately, for most of us, this is a fantasy. Just as medicine will not deliver immortality, many of us, if not, most, will thanks to the miracles of the medicine, pass our final hours with tubes and wires in every orifice; with machines bleeping and busy nursing and medical staff buzzing around us.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s not the way I want to spend the last moments with any of my friends or loved ones, whether they are in the bed or around mine.
The LCP has been developed in order to address some of these concerns. It was highlighted as a model of Best Practice in the NHS Beacon Programme 2001. NICE guidelines 2004 recommend LCP in the palliative care for cancer patients. The Our Health, Our Say white paper 2006 recommended it as did the End of Life Care Strategy DH 2008.
So what is this amazing innovation? As I, a lay person understand it, it’s really very simple. It requires that doctors and nurses discuss end of life care with the patient, where appropriate, and their family/carers. It asks that doctors rather than suggesting directly or by intimation, that a cure can be found and death cheated by medical intervention, face the fact their patient is dying and that medical intervention would merely prolong the inevitable and may in fact cause unnecessary distress to the patient.
In its simplest form it asks a multidisciplinary team to decide when further intervention is counter effective. It explicitly does not preclude the administration of medication to relieve pain or discomfort, anxiety and/or restlessness. It does not in any way suggest artificial feeding and hydration be withdrawn.
Where the LCP has been adopted and implemented, studies suggest that the vast majority of people died in a place of their choice and families reported high levels of satisfaction.
I have a progressive, degenerative disease. I’m never going to get better. The best I can hope for is a very slow decline in symptoms. I know there is no cure for my illness. I have very effective symptomatic treatment and I am not planning to meet my ancestors any time soon.
The LCP has been recommended by various studies for over 10 years now. Like most of my age, in the past decade I have lost a number of close family members. I also worked for most of my adult life, with the elderly and frail in care homes, the community and in hospitals, and as a volunteer counsellor for people with life-long diseases. Yet until last week I had never heard of the LCP. If in my personal and professional experience, I’d not heard of it, what are the chances the general population has heard of it or at the very least not talking about it. At risk of repeating myself, death is the one and only thing any of us can be certain we will face. Isn’t it time we stopped hiding our heads in the sand and began to face up to this fact and plan for it?
We are now subjected to numerous advertisements in the media for insurance plans that for a small sum each month, providing we live for up to two years after the start of the plan, will leave sufficient funds to pay for our final journey and even a bit left over to help the kids or grandkids. There is never any mention of what we might face in the months, weeks, days, hours leading up to the time when the insurance policy comes into play. We can even make plans for and pay in advance for our funerals, but still there’s no mention of how or where we might draw our final breath.
I accept it must be incredibly difficult for doctors to admit that nothing more could, or possibly more importantly, should be done for their dying patient but perhaps doctors should revisit the oath they took on becoming doctors. Doesn’t it say ‘first do no harm’? Surely there must come a time when as a professionals, doctors have to admit defeat and face the fact that nothing more can be done? More importantly should they not be more willing to discuss this fact with their patient and family/carers? I’d further suggest that the time to do this would not be at a time of crisis when emotions are high and rationale not always prevalent, but in the case of degenerative, incurable disease, soon after diagnosis.
It’s time to be brave. It’s time for us as patients to accept it is not possible to cure all illness and to face the fact that we will die. This is true whether or not we have a current life threatening/shortening illness. The vast majority of us can hope to live to a ripe old age. But old age its self brings illness and disease. It is time to ask ourselves how we want to be cared for in our dotage and to make those closest to us and those providing medical treatment, of these choices.
Nothing needs to be written in stone and the LCP combined with the Gold Standard Framework is a positive method of making those providing care at the end of life aware of our wishes.
There needs to be a huge shift in popular thinking. The catalyst for this must initially come from the medical profession. It is not going to happen spontaneously. We need to be told about choices, advised about risks and consequences and to be given permission to discuss our mortality openly and without judgement.
The LCP literature states that the plan is only as good as those implementing it and that on-going training and support for professionals involved with end of life care is essential for it to be effective. This will of course cost money and require commitment from Health Authorities and fund managers as well as the professionals themselves. These costs could be met by the reduction in costs of unnecessary repeated admission to hospital, the reduction in the need for ICU beds, accident and emergency admittances and even care home beds. But the will has to be there. The demand has to be there and neither will be until more people are aware of their end of life choices and make the medical profession aware of their wishes.
As Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement said:
“You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

Aunt Attica

Written in reply to Ailsa’s post

Once Upon – on FB
A perfect little piece of magic by ~ Lori Preush…. Can you tell me the story

I was walking over thePolar and Zazi ice field this morning and found a piece of parchment. Now I am a clever polar bear as polar bears go, but I have never mastered the art of reading words. I can read stars and seas, the Once Upon snow and ice, but not words. Luckily I have a wonderful little friend who visits me. She has a wise old soul for a human cub. Her name is Ailsa and she calls me Aunt Attica. I knew she’d understand the words and I knew exactly where to find her this particular morning. She’d be by the seal pool waiting for them to come and say hello.

I gave her the parchment and she told me it was a treasure map. She jumped on my back and clung with her small hands to my back and off we went.

Little Ailsa kept stopping me so she could look at the map. “We need to go towards the sun”. Then “Turn right Aunt Attica.” It didn’t take us long to get to the Small sea. I am a good swimmer and it wouldn’t take long to cross, but with the cub on my back, I was reluctant to jump in.

We need to cross the Small Sea, cub?”

Yes Aunt Attica. We need to go to where the penguins play.”

You will swim?”

No aunty. You forget I have my magic hat on. I can stay on your back and won’t get wet.”

Looking into her little face, pinched red by the air and her sparkling blue eyes and I knew she was going to be fine riding on my back as we crossed the Small Sea.

Hold tight, little one.” With that I jumped into the Small Sea and headed as fast as I could to the opposite bank

Hello world!

Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of reading some fabulous blogs. I had never read a blog until two months ago. My wonderful friend Ailsa Abraham http://ailsaabraham.com introduced me to an amazing primate http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2013/10/20/the-ape-goes-ape/comment-page-1/#comment-4167

Ailsa

Ailsa

 

Nettie

Nettie

I have also found Nettie Thomson http://nettiethomson.com/ I recommend a visit to each. It is thanks to reading these inspirational people and their encouragement, I have taken the plunge and decided to give blogging a go.

My brain works in rather a random often absurd way. I’d like to blame this on Multiple Sclerosis (I was diagnosed with a weird type of MS in April 2009 and am sure will be sharing some of the oddities and vagaries of living with it) but the truth is I have always had a warped sense of humour and a skewiff way of seeing the world, so MS, at least in this instance, can not be at fault.

Other than my odd sense of humour, writing short stories (some of which have been published) and reading blogs, I keep myself occupied chatting with friends on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/di.horsfield spending time with my four grown-up-fled the nest-sometimes,  offspring, their partners and my four adorable, funny, quirky, opinionated and feisty grandchildren. I am owned by two dogs, one cat and a rabbit, all of whom keep me in my place. I have a fabulous group of friends who make me smile as well as kick my butt when needed. I’ve been married for 31 years to a man who loves and supports me, makes me laugh and infuriates me all in equal measure and I wouldn’t change him for the world.

I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

Di