Nella Martin

an appointment with a nurse in practice

Category: Children

All Bodies Great and Small.

In the beginning I was mostly interested in the bodies of small creatures, spiders, frogs, worms, snails, caterpillars, chicks that had fallen from nests. When we are very small, we are much closer to nature and wildlife, or did it just feel that way? I would once sit,  delighted and thoroughly entertained at watching little red spider mites crawling all over hot paving slabs or a stone wall. I now can’t remember the last time that I saw any. Are they still about but I have failed to notice them?
Do children still have funerals for dead butterflies and beautifully ugly, bald, dead blackbirds chicks? I can remember taking one with me to a Girl Guide camp, hopeful that I would be able to raise him after our cat ate his parents. He did of course die and I sadly gave him a grand little funeral with a decorated grave, then I dug him up again a few days later, eager to know how his little body was decomposing.
As I became older, human bodies began to hold a similar fascination, inside and out. Women’s bodies have always been the most interesting because they can grow and feed babies, men’s seem rather boring in comparison, a penis alone a poor consolation prize. A part of me has always felt a little bit sorry for men because of that. I’ve never met a man who laments not having this ability though, yet, somehow in many places all over the world Men even feel that they are better and more powerful than women. I’ve never understood this when they can’t even grow their own babies. I can remember having these thoughts at three to four years of age when my mother was pregnant with my sister and they have persisted over the years.
I’ve been nursing for many years now and have seen the bodies of many men, women and children. I cannot remember a man or a child ever apologising to me for their body, like the frogs and the spiders they mostly just unconsciously are, as they are, but it often saddens me that women almost always apologise for their bodies. They are sorry for their body hair, for stretch marks, for how fat or thin they are, if they might smell a tiny bit of anything other than perfume or deodorant. They are sorry that I have to do something as awful as a cervical cytology/smear test.
Bodies are meant to have hair, a cervix is a cervix, just a part of the body but tucked a way, to me and other doctors and nurses no different from looking into an ear or down a throat for tonsils.  Bodily secretions really don’t bother me, I used to play with frogs and snails and dig up dead birds. I still find it all interesting. Little babies chubby hands or the wrinkled veiny ones of a 90 year old are both as equally delightful, they are alive and working and pretty amazing as every single living creature is, when you look, think, notice and wonder.




A Weekend Without A Computer.

I’ve missed our computer so much. I’ve felt all restless and unable to settle to anything. I did get rid of all the laundry piles, clean have been ironed and put away and dirty piles, washed, rescued before they became creased in a pile and put away also.
My little kindle isn’t really up to blogging, I wanted to write about dolls but it can keep.
I took D2 and a little friend of hers swimming today. Luckily because of the friend I didn’t have to go in. I hate it. I hate the smell, I hate the changing rooms and wet floors, I’m not happy being braless and virtually naked in front of strangers. I understand why Nigella wore that big black burkha thing at the beach. Some of us just like to keep our bodies to ourselves. Then the being all wet and having to get dry, put clothes back on with dripping wet hair and skin all taut, dry and itchy. I find it all torturous. The girls loved it though. We then went to see a friend’s pond which is full of spawning frogs, it was quite a sight and sound.
Husband had had his brothers round to watch the football. I can’t be in the house at the same time. It’s hard to see husband, an intelligent man, reduced to behaving like a foul mouthed yob, screaming at players and a referee that cannot hear him. I can’t bear all the high expressed emotion over some men running around after a ball. It’s not nice or dignified and I lose all respect for him, so I have to leave the house for both our sakes!
It’s really hard writing on this kindle, I apologise for any grammatical errors.

A Spring Morning Walk Around The Sea Wall

Blackthorn Blossom

Blackthorn Blossom

mud flats/ sea wall.

mud flats/ sea wall.

Thursday, my fourth annual leave day off. Husband had a day off also today. I walked D2 to school, she skipped along and chatted merrily about playground gossip all the way there. Back at home with the essential domestic drudgery completed, H and I faced the expectation of having to do something together, we very nearly managed it but we fell at the last post. We didn’t fall out out and it’s not that we didn’t want to spend time together but the truth is he wanted to go out for a long brisk stride with the dog, radio to his ear listening to sport live five or radio 4. My heart sank at the thought of being in his stinky car with stinky dog and trying to keep up with him during the walk with radio blaring and dog barking at anything that moves. Following a hand hot discussion, he went off on his own, much to my relief and I had my day off back to myself. I walked down to the sea wall and got lost for two hours, an hour of that felt like an eternity as I tried to work out where I would end up. I enjoyed the peace and solitude and it all worked out OK as eventually I found my way home.

I commented on some friends soppy FB post thing about finding perfect love. It doesn’t exist. It really doesn’t, it’s just an illusion at the beginning. Eventually, it is all about picking up dirty discarded socks, a sink full of washing up, bills to be paid. Children, barky dogs and cars needing their various needs attending too. It becomes about survival, TOLERANCE, compromise. If you can still manage to snuggle up in bed at night, give each other a kiss goodbye as you leave for work and remember to ask the other about their day after work, you are both doing fantastically well. It’s not really essential to go out on your precious annual leave day together, surely??!! That’s what little gossipy friends are for (and it does help if they are a similar height as I can’t tell any little fibs about anything then as they are on my eye level!)

No great cuisine today, just sausage and mash for dinner. D2 managed to bring another little friend back to play. They shut the bedroom door and got the dolls out, I think the dolls and teddies had to endure some harsh schooling. This was followed by music on the iPod and bracelet making. I have to pretend to not notice what they are doing as they have started to become self-conscious about playing with dolls. It won’t be long before the poor dollies are discarded for good.

Sweet Potatoes

photophoto (2)

I’ve noticed that this little blog is in danger of becoming dominated by food, however I suppose that makes sense, food is the main thing that I think about!  So much of my time is given over to shopping, making packed lunches (although husband has taken to making his own colourful salad creations) and of course dinner. Every day dinner has to be given some thought, ingredients obtained and prepared. Today it’s over to the sweet potato. They are very popular in this household. Husband prefers his curried, D2 roasted or mashed, D1 doesn’t mind how they come and when she is home from Uni is generally grateful for any food that she hasn’t had to forage for or prepare herself. Unlike potato potatoes, sweet potatoes count towards your five a day. I also found them to be the perfect weaning food for babies. Today at husband’s request I’ll be making a sweet potato and chick pea curry. I mostly make it up as I go along and I never measure anything. D1 will be reading this so she can use it on her Uni house mates!!

Fry onion, garlic and fresh chopped tomatoes, or use a tin if no fresh around.

Add herbs and spices to your own tastes, again this varies each time, I generally add cumin, mustard, coriander, turmeric, cardamom and ginger, then I separate some out for D2 before adding in fresh chillies with a little chilli powder, you could just use a curry paste if you prefer though.

Then add the chopped sweet potato and really any other vegetables you have about, sometimes I add in courgette or aubergine, maybe a carrot, some red pepper to make it even more colourful, finally put in the pre cooked chick peas and simmer for about 20 mins. Serve with rice or bread. Quick, very simple, cheap and nutritious.

D2 has another little friend round to play tonight, she only eats pasta, chips or pizza. I feel really lucky that mine eat almost anything really.

Chicken Pie

It’s another cool but gloriously bright and bird chirpy spring day! Twin girls from further down our lane, came here this morning to walk to school with D2, their three little faces were all sunny and chatty to match the day. They didn’t want me to walk with them, so three little red and grey dressed nine-year olds set off to school, calling for another along the way. I want to record these moments, they are so fleeting. She is my last, before I know it there will be no little youthful face to wave off to school.

I have an annual leave week, however I’m going into a care home to do some outstanding health checks this morning. It’s a lovely home. You only get to read about the bad ones in the press, yet all around us are care homes with hard-working staff, working for minimum wage doing their very best and with real affection for the people that they care for.

I roasted a chicken yesterday, I paid extra to try to ensure that it had been a happy chicken. I’ve salvaged enough of it to make chicken and mushroom pie for dinner tonight. I cyber spoke with a friend of mine last night about pastry making, To me it’s one of the quickest and easiest things to do, I’ve never bought ready-made. I think that’s from all those early years spent with my Grandmother and helping her bake, I don’t have to look at a recipe, the amounts and hows have been etched in my brain alongside my first words. If I ever develop Alzheimer’s, I will remember how to make pastry right up to the very end. I do meet many disadvantaged families through work and It always saddens me that so many people do not know how to cook even the simplest of meals from scratch, to them cooking is switching on the oven to heat up oven ready prepared foods. It’s such a very important part of life and living healthily. I believe that there is a real need for schools to include food and nutrition with some cookery classes on the curriculum. It will probably do many people more good than some of the other subjects that will be instantly forgotten and never used again. Some people will argue that those skills should be learnt at home, but sadly if the parents do not have the skills and many do not, there is nobody to teach the children.

Finance management is another important life skill, not one that I’ve ever been good at. Information on credit cards, APR, loans, mortgages and budgeting should also be taught in schools because again if many parents struggle with this themselves how can they help their children. They are my thoughts this morning!! I need to go to do those health checks now.

International Women’s Day

On my kindle in bed, I’ve just been reading the harrowing personal accounts of some women across the world. Mothers having to abandon children too heavy to carry as they flee wars zones, this in an attempt to save the majority of their children. Young girls walking barefoot for many miles to fetch dirty water. Girls denied an education because of their gender and women with no access to obstetrics care or contraception. Girls subjected to genital mutilation, forced marriages, trafficked girls. Girls missing school once they start menstruating due to having no sanitary protection.

I consider my own life and that of the women and girls around me. We have so much. Money may be tight at times and my husband messy, but I chose to marry him and to only work twenty-seven hours a week to balance child care needs. If I didn’t make the very most of the thirteen years of free education offered to me at school, there are adult education classes available to me now, the basics or a foreign language, or I could learn to paint or arrange flowers. My clitoris and genitals have been left intact so that I can enjoy a fulfilling sex life. I have access to free contraception so that I’m not forced to give birth every year as many women do. I turn on the tap for clean water. I can be single, marry or divorce as I wish. Work full-time, part-time or stay at home to bring up children. I have these choices. I can reject my husband’s sexual advances and carry on reading my kindle, the worse that would happen is that he would be slightly forlorn but only until he starts looking at which horses are running today and getting excited about Saturday football matches. My daughter is studying chemical engineering at University,  still a very male dominated field, she is one of six females out of a cohort of fifty students. We still need to go some way with addressing certain gender biases in our society, however there is nothing actually preventing any of our daughters from reaching out and having the same opportunities available to our sons and vice versa. I have my own bank account and my own money, choices, today, do I spend my seventy pound a week grocery budget in Tesco, Aldi or Asda???  In fact in many ways I have more choices than my husband,  I buy and cook as I wish within the finances available to me, he has to eat what I purchase and decide to cook for him!
It wouldn’t take so very much for our infrastructure to collapse, events such as war and natural disasters could see us subjected to a plight similar to many women and girls around the world, it is a sobering thought.

Village life.

Yesterday I spent the day in the village. D2 walked herself to school. There is very much a going back in time feel to the place, sadly in 2014 in many towns and cities parents don’t feel that it’s safe for 9 year olds to walk themselves to school. Tucked away here at the end of the world, with no through traffic, it’s probably as safe as you are going to get anywhere. I shopped in the village, bread from the bakers, lamb chops from the butcher for husband and his mate the plumber, fruit and veg from D, who comes in a van three times a week to the village square and has been doing so for over 30 years. He is overweight, wheezy, the nurse part of me has him diagnosed with COPD and diabetes without ever having seen him in surgery. His wares are haphazardly displayed, I asked for beetroot, he replied that “it’s ‘ere somewhere love but I’m sorry oi can’t find it” He said that last week about the chillies!!

D2 had sewing club after school but had left her sewing box at home, I walked up to school to give it to her at home time. At 3.15 the school emptied out and the village was alive with mini book characters, witches, fairies, where’s Wallys, Wandas, one Stig, princesses, pirates, footballers, Matildas.  It was amusing to see.

Husband had asked for his mate to come for dinner, they had requested the chops, I deliberated with the butcher how many lamb chops they would eat each, he knows them both, we settled on three. I didn’t eat with them as I had to take D2 out, I ate with her earlier. I love listening to Plumber Mate and H gossip away. P is divorced and not having as much luck as he would like with the ladies, he was asking for any handy tips, apparently they all say that they like him lots but view him as a friend or like a brother and don’t seem to want to sleep with him. I chuckled away to myself. He is great fun and company but as I look at his 5o year old ruddy drinkers face and think of his very old fashioned views I know exactly why the ladies are holding back.!

I took D2 to Jiu Jitsu for the first time. She loved it and was keen to practise her defense against strangulation techniques when she got home.

I need to head off to work now. I have no idea what patients I have booked in today, I prefer the element of surprise.