The Anonymous Widower

Good And Bad Doctors

I’m listening to a program on BBC Radio 5 called How Do You Cope?, which is discussing doctors. And what makes a good one!

I am reminded of the story of the birth of our first son.

He was born in a London teaching hospital and delivered by a student doctor, who obviously didn’t do a bad job and made no mistakes.

The next time I saw  C, she told me, that she’d had a visit from the Professor, who asked after her and her experience.

He told her, that the doctor was a problem for the Medical School, in that they felt he had shown the ability to make a very good surgeon, as he had the right attitude and physical skills.  But he was having difficulty in passing exams.

I sometimes wonder, if that would-be doctor became a brilliant surgeon or left the medical profession early.

December 22, 2019 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

I Can’t Bear To Look At The Times Website Today

The headline story is of the poor woman sentenced to death in Sudan for a love of a man of the wrong religion, giving birth on the floor of a prison cell in chains.

What has all this got to do with religion?

May 30, 2014 Posted by | News | , , , | 1 Comment

I Meet An Ipswich Town Cockney

On the 38 bus coming back from the Angel, I was approached by another Ipswich Town fan.  As usual in this sort of weather, I was wearing an appropriate woolly hat.

He told me he’d been born in the Royal Free Hospital in the Liverpool Road, which probably makes him a genuine Cockney, according to this map.

His parents had then moved to Suffolk.

I’m not, but how many Town fans are genuine Cockneys? For various reasons like the closure of Central London maternity units, very few genuine Cockneys are born these days.

November 29, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Registering Babies

There has just been a discussion on BBC Radio 5 about how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will register the new baby.

Will the Registrar go to them or will they have to go to their offices?

In the 1960s and 1970s, there was no problem, as the Registrar came round the wards and registered all babies they could, before they left hospital.

I never went near a Registrar until I had to register the death of my wife and son.

July 23, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Birth Of Our First Son

With the birth of the baby to the Duchess of Cambridge expected within a day or so, it is perhaps a good time to tell the true story of our first son’s birth in 1969.

Our circumstances just before the birth on the 16th of July, were a bit chaotic to say the least. I did outline them to a certain degree in this post about waiting for Apollo 11.

To summarise, we had no hospital for the birth, were living with C’s mother in Barnet and the baby was four weeks overdue.

C thought it would be a good idea to go and sit in St. James’s Park, as it was getting rather oppressive with her mother, who had no idea or experience about childbirth as C had been adopted. Mother felt she should be in the Victoria Maternity Hospital in Barnet. You never told C what to do, if it was against her wishes. Especially, if you were her mother!

It was a lovely day and we sat in deck chairs in the Park until about five o’clock, when C said that she thought she was in labour. As I said in the other post, she decided she was going to the old Middlesex Hospital, where because of her imminent state, she was seen by a doctor and admitted as an emergency.

As I said in Part 2 of the waiting for Apollo 11 story, I stayed all night and nothing happened, except that about midnight the contractions stopped. C always said she was telling me to go back to her mother’s and get some sleep, but whether I was being loyal or stubborn, I don’t know and I just stayed.

I went to work on the Monday and the evening was another of waiting, with the odd contraction thrown in.

Part 3 gives the full story of the birth, with our first son being born soon after midnight.

Only after we had returned to her mother’s did C reveal the truth about what had happened.  Until about four or five hours after they broke the waters, did she ever have a proper contraction.

She had fooled the doctors, so she could get into her chosen hospital.

I doubt the Duchess of Cambridge is faking!

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Health, News | , , | Leave a comment

Riding Whilst Pregnant

There has been a bit of criticism of Zara Phillips riding, whilst she is pregnant.

I do wonder if her mother and grandmother gave up whilst they were pregnant!

I’ve known lots of women, who continued to ride after they became pregnant and some for quite a long time.  In none of these cases was there any complications. Although an anaesthetist once told me, that he once had to give an epidural to a very fit ballet dancer during childbirth and had difficulty getting the needle home, as her muscles were so strong.  But it all turned out right in the end.

The funniest story was from a mate of mine, who rode up to a forthright lady we both knew well. “Good morning, Mrs. S”, he said and the reply was “I’m pregnant and so’s the horse!” Both births were successful, and I’ve met the daiughter involved many times.

July 17, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Advice For Expectant Mothers

There is a widely trailed story today about what expectant mothers should avoid. It’s here on the BBC. This is the main advice.

  1. Use fresh organic food rather than processed
  2. Avoid food and drink in cans and plastic containers
  3. Minimise use of moisturisers, cosmetics, shower gel and fragrances
  4. Avoid buying new furniture, fabrics, non-stick frying pans and cars when pregnant or nursing

When C was pregnant with our first child, she was a student in her last year at Liverpool University.  She actually did her exams at nearly seven months pregnant.  She got a II-2, so she couldn’t have done badly.

She didn’t purposedly avoid any chemicals, but as the nice flat we lived in didn’t have a shower, she did at least avoid shower gel, which is on the list of products to avoid. As to the last point, we couldn’t afford new furniture or cars. our frying pan had been borrowed from her mother and was a well-used steel one, complete with a bit of added rust. Did it put iron into the food?

Neither of us smoked, although throughout her pregnancy, she had to endure the Capstan Full Strength cigarettes of her tutor; Robert Kilroy Silk.

But advice was different in those days.  We went to stay with a family in Hingham in Norfolk, where C had been a mother’s help during University holidays.  The mother, who incidentally was the daughter of a doctor, asked if she’d like a brandy before going to bed, as it would make the baby sleep better. She declined, but only because she was pretty abstemious with alcohol.

We also moved south just a week or so before the expected birth date and then in London, she didn’t have a hospital. I told that story in a post called Waiting for Apollo 11. Theses are the links to Part 2 and Part 3 of the story. We didn’t do boring, even in 1969.

We all survived and the only question, that sometimes comes to mind, is was the cancer that killed her caused by all of those smoky tutorials forty years before she died?

I do know that if she was here today, she’d be laughing like a drain!

June 5, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | Leave a comment

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

After leaving Enfield, I took a nostalgic ride on a 121 bus to Southgate to get the Piccadilly line back to Central London. I pased this anonymous block of modern flats at the top of Windmill Hill.

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

One Of The Most Significant Places In My Life

So why is it significant.  On the site there used to be a nursing home, which is where I was delivered by my parent’s GP; Dr. Egerton White.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

THe land of the free – unless you’re female

Janice turner is on form in The Times today, with an article, which has the headline above.

It is summed up by this early paragraph.

How bizarre it is to watch the United States — the upbeat, future-focused wellspring of all things exciting and new — tear itself apart over contraception. America, capital of the global porn industry, teen pregnancy gold medallist, progenitor of Madonna and Gaga, having its presidential election defined by the morality of birth control.

Apparently, the United States is making it much harder for women to get contraception and has gone totally against people planning their family. Especially if you’re poor.

Even countries as Catholic as Ireland and Italy have seen that contraception is one of those things that creates a better society.

So does the United States want to create a worse country for its poor?

Obviously, they need a lot of male children to fight their wars and female ones to care for the injured.

March 10, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

The University Doctor Smellie

The GP at Liverpool University in C’s and my time there was a Doctor Smellie.  He was one of the better GPs I’ve had and I’ve been lucky to have at least two good ones.

When C became pregnant with our first child, she went to see him and he suggested she have a home birth. Not something that she was thinking of and she wnt to Oxford Street Maternity Hospital instead.

If you research the name Smellie amongst doctors you’ll find an interesting history, including a William Smellie, who is sometimes called the father of British midwifery.  So perhaps the good Dr. Smellie was just wanting to follow the family tradition.

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Health, World | , | Leave a comment