Les and I have been lifted by friends, family, and strangers this week and I want to be sure to say thank you for all the kindness that has come our way to ease the stress.
We are blessed indeed by the many boaters who have offered help and assistance. Tom and Jan Jones on NB Waiouru have kept watch on our boat while I made trips to the hospital, and they have kept me laughing with their fabulous Kiwi sense of humor. They've helped me move the boat for water and saved my space so I could return to the same spot. Both of them have been kept my spirits up and my mind occupied so I didn't sit and fret about Les.
Jennie and Chris Gash on NB Tentatrice live nearby. They picked me up from Warwick train station yesterday after my physio appointment, took me to Tesco for my BIG shop, and we had a lovely lunch, catching up upon their return from their summer cruise. They visited Les yesterday and took him some clothes, and visited him again today. Chris and Jennie are going to bring Les home once he is discharged.
The folks at the Fiddle and Bone pub/Sherborne Wharf allowed me to pay for my coal over the phone and they arranged for a water taxi to deliver it to our boat, where Tom Jones stacked it neatly on the boat roof.
Paul Balmer of NB Waterway Routes was up to Birmingham to visit his daughter. He stopped in yesterday afternoon, bringing greetings and love from Sue and Vic on NB No Problem whom he had visited with earlier in the day, and we had a lovely natter over a cup of tea. Paul is fascinating to talk with and he offered us lots of pointers about using his DVD maps and apps which really excited me to try as soon as Les is back aboard. Paul also offered to come up and help us with lock flights if we needed it.
We've been contacted by more than a dozen boaters offering us love, encouragement, and help. Our friends Tina and Andy Elsford of NB Ytene have called and checked in as have Sue and Ken Deveson of NB Cleddau. Grateful thanks to every one of you who've reached out. It reinforces how fortunate we are to be part of the community on the cut. We are wrapped in your kindness and loving care and I know I am not alone even though my Best Beloved seems so far away.
Family and friends have checked in and IM'd me on FaceBook, passing messages along from Les to me via FB and email when I had no phone. Thank you Martin, Ken, and Sue! Big hugs and lots of love to our North American contingent for checking in on us.
A local Brit took the time to explain to me that within a given hospital, each ward functions independently of all the others around it and one can have a ward that is poorly staffed with incompetent care, while the ward right next to it can be brilliantly managed and have a team of doctors, nurses and staff that are very good at delivering excellent care. For U.S. blog readers, a ward is a room of usually six beds. A floor may often have 4-6 wards on it depending on what kind of patients are there (ob/gyn, cancer, general surgical, etc.
When Les returned to Sandwell Hospital Wednesday morning, he was housed in Lyndon 2 Ward. The senior sister and matron of this new ward apologized for the shabby treatment we received previously in Priory 2 ward, and his care has been exceptionally good by a very caring and dedicated staff, for which I am thankful. Things are moving now (pun intended) and it is likely Les will home tomorrow.
I want to give a special shout-out to Julien and Stephanie at the EE shop in Birmingham, 109 New Street. I went in Wednesday morning after getting back home via a taxi from New City Hospital at 2 a.m. I had spent the rest of the night cleaning the boat since I could not sleep and consequently I was pretty brain dead when I walked into the EE shop. Julien sorted me out a new contract better than my previous one, and a new phone that suited my needs: I wanted a clam shell design so the cover protected the phone and something very simple to operate. I refuse to have a phone that functions as though it is smarter than me; one that assumes when I begin a process that it should take over and call Dakar to book me a hotel room and then route a call to Timbuktu for a car rental simply because I pressed the wrong part of the screen. I don't want a phone that is always updating apps and sucking up battery energy with wi-fi. The flat design of those phones makes it uncomfortable for me to make calls, and invariably when I call my kids back home in the States I disconnect the call with my cheek. Yes I am a Luddite!!!
Anyway, Julien wouldn't let me leave the shop until my phone was sorted. He set the date and time for me, made sure the sim was in and the phone was charged, up and running. Stephanie ported my old phone number over for me. I was well cared for and they provided excellent customer service with a large dash of kindness stirred in. Thank you!!
TOA Taxis of Birmingham have also been brilliant. I've felt safe traveling with them at all hours of the night returning from the emergency runs to the hospital, and their drivers have been kind and helpful.
Finally I offer a grateful thanks to the stranger who got off the train yesterday in Warwick. I was on my way to my first physio appointment and I had the trolley with me for grocery shopping later. Warwick rail station is not accommodating for the physically disabled, having no lifts (elevators) and many narrow stairs. This lovely man took one look at my face as I stood at the top of the staircase going down to the street, doubt written all over my features. He gently offered to take my trolley down for me, and walked down by my side so other people in a rush had to go 'round us. He took my trolley all the way out to the curb for me and blessed me with his help and consideration.