Love thy neighbour
Thank heavens for good neighbours!
As the anniversary of the Tathra bushfire approaches, I want to send out a huge thank you to my neighbour, Craig Hamilton. Not only did he save our house and five others from certain destruction at Thompson’s, he also wrote a poem about my cello’s experience in the fire. The poem is framed and sits in my lounge room in pride of place.
My husband and I were away in Beechworth on that horrible day. After seeing the news that night, we were sure our house had gone. The next morning we received a text from Craig, telling us that our house was still intact. The following day he sent us a detailed email of his experience of the fire in our part of the street.
There are many people in Tathra who did amazing things that day. And our neighbour Craig is one of them! Many, many thanks.
Wendy Kennedy, Tathra
My mum had a stroke in July 2015. She became paralysed on her right side, incontinent and unable to talk - except for 'yes', which often meant 'no'. She could cry.
I can't fault the nursing home, but during the 1575 occasions I visited her I realised there are limits to medicine. Pain, suffering and agony. By April 2018, Mum had learned to say "I die". I heard this for 88 visits, usually for the whole time, even while she ate.
Mum is free of her three-year ordeal, freed from the horror, but I have the memory of it. I intend in every future election to give my first vote to any voluntary assisted dying party. I could not save my mum, but I can contribute to a future when others can be spared a terrible life.
Bob Grasby, Bega
Getting priorities right
I have a great deal of respect for the nursing profession. I have known some wonderful nurses in my lifetime - kind, caring and compassionate - who often go above and beyond, and put their patients' needs before their own gratification. I have also met a few shockers - people who do not deserve to belong to such a noble profession.
When I started my formal training in 1960, we did not have many of the advantages that nurses enjoy today - good luck to them. With no hydraulic lifts, many of us ended up with crook backs. Also it was customary for patients to be kept in bed and in hospital for longer periods.
Bega did not having a nursing home for the aged and if families could no longer care for elderly relatives they went to hospital, sometimes for years. So students did a lot of bed baths, scrubbed lots of bedpans and without contract cleaners also did a fair bit of cleaning in the wards.
We probably had a union but hardly knew about it. Our lowly pay at first would have been less than our school friends who worked in offices as typists. We didn't complain - we daren't - but most of us loved our job. We loved our patients and our workmates (most of them anyway).
Our nurse to patient ratio was sometimes 1:20. The solitary Sister on the night duty in midwifery would occasionally call for the help of a junior from the general section when too many mums decided to have their babies in the wee hours. We were often super busy, but if we weren't, Sister would soon find something for us to do. There wasn't much time to stand around and gossip or complain.
So when I was approached in Ayres Walkway last Friday by two uniformed nurses, who happened to be manning the Labor candidate's stall and campaigning for higher nurse:patient rations, I asked what was their current ratio and was told 1:6 or 1:7. I'm afraid I lost my cool a bit.
Our government has many calls on its funding and apart from ensuring that nursing homes are properly staffed at all times I would not expect higher ratios in hospitals to be more important than such priorities as flood and drought mitigation or properly funded police and emergency services.