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Showing posts from June, 2012

With woman, with my sister

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Midwifing my sister: a deeply profound experience
(Originally published in The Practising Midwife (2006); 9(4):18-9.

In 1993, as a nearly-qualified student midwife, I cared for a friend having her first baby; it was a harrowing experience. I felt vulnerable as a junior in the NHS hierarchy.My friend was relying on me to protect her from harm but I felt powerless to do that.She and I felt traumatised from the birth.I vowed not to provide midwifery care for a friend or family member again until I could have more influence over the decision-making process.

So when, in 2002, my sister Anne asked me to be her midwife I was rather wary.At the time, I had been working overseas for several years.I had only recently returned to midwifery practice in the UK and begun to rebuild my confidence.Anne lived outside my normal area of practice and I felt uneasy about acting as a midwife in an unfamiliar area.Initially we planned for me to be a birth partner rather than a midwife.I encouraged her to bo…

Episode 5 - The Denture Disaster

After my 'booze cruise and bruise' on the children's ward came the placement I had been dreading - eight weeks of geriatric nursing at St. Francis Hospital in Dulwich (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/iss/archives/collect/1sa40-0.html). Previously a workhouse the hospital struggled to disassociate itself from its history and had a poor reputation amongst the general public, many of whom believed that if  you were admitted there you would never come out, except in a box.  The fact that it specialised in care of the elderly and mental health (at a time when long stays were common for psychiatric patients) did little to shake this belief.   Senior student nurses relished sharing horror stories from the geriatric wards.  I steeled myself for endless hours of heavy lifting, commodes, double incontinence and crusty toenails. 

However, from the moment I arrived on the ward I loved it. Though the work was indeed heavy and tiring, I loved being with older people and often felt sad to l…

Curried Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup (Adapted from Hugh Fearley-Whittingstall’s Veg Book to be Slimming World Friendly!)

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Spray a large heavy saucepan with frylight.Chop 2 onions, 3 cloves garlic, a large knob of peeled and grated fresh root ginger and 1 fresh red chilli.Sweat these down in the pan on a medium heat, adding a few tablespoons of water as the mixture dries out.Add in 1 tbsp ground coriander and 2 tsp curry powder.Cook for another 2-3 mins, adding a small amount of water if too dry.

Meanwhile, peel 3 large or 5 smaller sweet potatoes and cut into cubes of about 1 inch.Add the sweet potatoes to the onion mixture and 1 teacupful of Red Lentils.Stir for a few minutes to coat in the spices, then add about 1 litre of water and 2 tbsp Marigold Veg stock powder (or stock cubes – or use fresh stock if you have any).Grind in some black pepper, bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for approx 30 mins until the potatoes and the lentils are soft.Add salt to taste after cooking (apparently if you add salt to beans or lentils before cooking they become tough!) (The original version uses olive oil to …