So without any fuss, I hand you over to the delightful Dulwich Divorcee.
Muddling Along actually seems to glide about the place like a swan – look at her shoe collection! And she’s been to the Sex and the City 2 Premier! – and it’s a treat for me to be setting up camp in her lovely blog. I hope I don’t mess the place up ….
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a lifelong struggle between doing what is good, and doing what is easy. Take jobs, for instance. On the very same day, a long time ago, I had two offers – a raffish national newspaper asked me to become a junior diary reporter, and I was also offered a respectable career in the civil service. I did mull it over – but of course I chose the naughty old tabloid paper, and had a whale of a time. I do sometimes wonder what would become of me if I’d taken option two.
In the same way, I would have loved to have been a doctor – but there was no hope of managing the science part. And it is quite a large part. I like to think I would have looked a treat in the white coat (though white isn’t completely my colour, I would have had to change it to the palest greeny-blue, I’m sure no-one would have minded – er, much) but I do admit we’ve all had a lucky escape from DD MD.
Sometimes, though, I still suffer a pang at the thought that I should be helping people, in a vague, unfocused, Miss World-contestant sort of way. That’s why I was really thrilled when Great Ormond Street Hospital asked me to write about their Peter Pan week earlier this year.
Yesterday, the hospital kindly asked me to pop along to see how all its new building work is getting on. I should point out that, had I ever made it even as a junor doctor, I would have hampered proceedings somewhat by bursting into tears whenever I saw someone in pain, someone even in mild discomfort ….basically, anyone in a hospital. And that’s all ten times worse when it involves children. Child’s finger trapped in a door? I’m in floods for the rest of the day. So, as you can imagine, my main mission, yesterday, was to try as hard as I could not to blub.
I nearly failed at the entrance, when there was a sudden bustle and a tiny baby was wheeled out in a space-capsule-style incubator thingy (see what effortless mastery I have of the medical terminology). So tiny! So helpless! So ill! But when I saw the baby’s mother, and noticed she looked radiantly happy, I realised that I shouldn’t look on this as a tragedy at all. The mother was positively triumphant – whatever was going on was in her baby’s best interests. Great Ormond Street performs daily miracles – this was clearly one of them.
I spent the rest of the visit in total awe of the stuff that is done here, in one of the world’s great centres of medical excellence. There are experts here in every possible field of pediatric medicine, all at the absolute cutting edge of our knowledge. But, as I saw, they are having to work, sometimes, in really quite cramped conditions. Peter Pan ward, built in the 1930s, features separate cubicles – at the time, a brilliant idea for combatting airborne tuberculosis. Now, however, it is a bit of a pain and means there’s no room for play areas for the children, while the lifts are hardly big enough to get a bed into, let alone oxygen cylinders, nurses and of course doctors.
Our last stop at the hospital was the chapel, a beautiful Victorian place filled with hope, love – and tears. The soft toys ranged around the walls near the altar all but finished me off.
There’s a lot that needs to be done at the hospital, and every little bit helps. Why not make GOSH your charity when you have your school’s summer fair? Child One and Two and I will be making stuff and selling it for GOSH at ours. For goodness sake, even Simon Cowell chose it as the X Factor’s charity last time (and I blubbed every time they showed the film about the hospital). There we are – we can all add our mite and hope that another child will be treated and saved. Finally, a way of doing good that couldn’t be easier.