Friday, August 25, 2006

WORST OF TIMES

…WORST OF TIMES

When I heard Andrew’s voice I longed to ask him how he was but a shutter came down in my brain - I had enough problems – I couldn’t risk complications.

‘No Andrew – I haven’t changed my mind.  Don’t worry about the dance I promise I won’t be there.’

A few days later I was told a number of times that Andrew had been at the dance.  One cheering thing – we had the results of the exam we took at Fever Hospital and I got 95%.  I looked forward to seeing Matron and basking in her approval for a change but she was on holiday.  Over a week elapsed before I heard from Jamie and then he said he was coming up.  I had started to get pre-visit nerves and this time had violent stomach pains on my day off.  Mum got the doctor who examined my poetry book and then examined me but NAD - nothing abnormal was discovered.

Diary entry autumn 1949
‘Feel excited about Friday but scared of anything going wrong and when he has gone back it will be so awful.’

My spirits alternated between elation and desolation and I longed to be on an even keel once more.  Sometimes I would say something that made him laugh and he would look at me with love and I would be happy again.  I told him about Andrew- I told him everything – there had to be complete trust.

Maddie went down to Oxbridge to join Paul for her birthday and when she came back I asked her about Jamie – looking to her for reassurance and there was none forthcoming – just vague hints.

‘He’s waiting for you to grow up.’ she said.

Jamie’s birthday was coming up.  We had a colour that was special to us – a soft coral tan that was the shade of lipstick I used- Tangee.  Jamie had bought me a beautiful mohair scarf in the same hue and I found some wool the same colour and decided to knit him some socks.  Maddie was an ace knitter – her needles would fly through the air whilst the garment grew at an amazing rate.  I however was all fingers and thumbs, but it seemed to me to be an act of love to put myself through the torture of knitting.  On four needles.  I had to endure everyone’s ribbing (sorry) but eventually the socks were finished with just one small hole where there shouldn’t have been.  Once I had darned it you would never have known.

I took him to meet the Millers whilst we were in Manchester and they were – as usual – very warm and friendly.  That night Jamie wanted us to stay in Manchester but we couldn’t afford it and I really needed to see my parents.  Perhaps I was being selfish and earned his disapproval.  That night in bed I sobbed silently so as not to disturb Gran.

The next hospital dance I peeked through the windows and saw Andrew.  He looked drunkish.  He didn’t come to another dance after that.  

One night Jamie phoned twice and didn’t get me- I phoned back and he wasn’t there.  I spoke to his landlord and thought he sounded strange.  Eventually had a letter saying it would be better not to phone him as he had to be out a lot and he would phone me.  My state of mind was beginning to be affected.  I carelessly put my hand in Oxalic acid which was painful but caused no lasting damage. One of our long standing older patients who was very ill was threshing about a lot and bashed my face with her fist. To my shame I burst into tears.

We all dreaded going to work in theatre for the first time and sure enough that was going to be my next assignment.  The pressure was high and the two theatre sisters –excellent at their job took no prisoners.  The first few days went well and then we had to autoclave rubber gloves to sterilise them.  The gloves were in the dangerous drugs cupboard and the keys were missing.  The engineer was called to break open the cupboard and there were the keys – locked inside.  I had been the last person to have them.  I was going to get my wish to see Matron – but not for the right reason.

My health was suffering; my work was suffering- I couldn’t go on like this.  Something had to give.

16 comments:

Sim said...

I can feel the stress of it all echoing through this post :( Thank goodness I already know you have now got your happy ending with MTL!

PI said...

Sim: whilst I'm writing this I never know whether to go downstairs and give MTL a hug or a kick!

amy said...

I never know whether to go downstairs and give MTL a hug or a kick!

how about both?
order is important, though, methinks -- hug 1st, and you're lulling him into a false sense of security. he'll never see it coming, which makes aiming easier; hug 2nd, and it should make up for the kick.


but, err... "poetry book"?
is this a euphemism, or did you have a curiously literary-minded doctor?
i do hate to ask, because if it is a euphemism (and i'm guessing it is) then the whole point is to Not Have To Discuss It... but by the same token, euphemisms are fascinating cultural artefacts (what people won't talk about and how they won't talk about it are terribly interesting), so... sorry, but also ???

PI said...

Amy: that's very funny. No it wasn't an euphemism - I was just amused that he seemed more interested in 'The Albatross book of Living Verse' than examining me. Also he was newly qualified and maybe bit shy.

Guyana-Gyal said...

All the signs are there, Jamie sure wasn't good for you.

I was in a similar situation, I was soooo depressed when I was with that fella.

PI said...

GG: wasn't there a song 'wrong time - wrong place'?

Dr Maroon said...

The course of true love… as they say.

It IS too late to give him a kick but it’s never too late to give him a hug.

I thought it was the socks that they were going to find inside the drugs cabinet, and then you’d had to explain everything. I don’t know why I thought that on reflection.

Life of a Banana said...

you are one of the lucky few who found your soulmate.

some people never do and that's life.

PI said...

doc: dinna fash- he gets plenty of hugs. You thought that because you have a very inventive mind.:)

LoaB: yes but honey, thirty years is a lifetime n'est ce pas?

Shyha said...

Sorry for a little off-topic but I've found your 'For First Time Visitors' section. Great and helpful stuff!

PI said...

shyha: I am so glad. It is very much thanks to Randall he of 'Musings from the hinterland' I am having such a difficult time tonight with blogger but Randall is on my side bar.

amy said...

that is very funny!
all of my friends know how fond i am of a good euphemism, and will think it hilarious that i'm starting to see them even when they're not there!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I was just thinking what an excellent euphemism a "poetry book" was, given the millions of lines witten about its pursuit, perusal and, of course, the convenience of good indexing.

And then I read it wasn't. I shall certainly be using it that way in the future though. You've invented a euphemism, Pat! The Past Imperfect Euphemism!

That was sweet of you to knit him socks. He seems to have been a bit changeable himself at that time. First he was chastizing you for spending money on a bonnet when you were saving up to get married, and then he wants to blow a chunk of change on a hotel in Manchester.

Could you give him a kick/hug, a kug? Or an...er...hick? I think I'm straying where I'm not wanted now! (Golly I am being bawdy in my comments today. It must be the thought of the Kir, later ;) I can't afford the champagne version at the moment, but will try a wee bit of soda for the bubble effect)

When are you posting again?

Granny said...

I've been following along and waiting for next chapter.

PI said...

amy: well Sam has decided it is there so be it - prabably was sub-conciously anyway.

Sam: that's a valid point re spending money - did I mention he was Scottish:) actually I suspect he was hoping the Millers would put us up. His memory tends to be a bit shaky and is constantly amazed at the detail I remember - photographic images usually.

PI said...

Granny: I don't know how you find the time - but glad that you do.