My sister,Jane

On Radio 4’s Saturday Live listeners can leave a message of gratitude to someone they haven’t thanked before but have really impacted them in some way .

I would like to say sorry to a group of vulnerable people to whom I fear I frightened / shocked/startled and to whom I’ve never seen since ….

Around 5.30am on this day 18 years ago I had a phone call from the nursing sister of Lane Fox Ward ,St Thomas’s Hospital ,London .All the patients have sleep disordered breathing, chronic respiratory failure and pulmonary hypertension. They are not well and often fearful people . She told me to come in quickly as my sister ,Jane, was very unwell . I had spent the previous evening with Jane , and because the staff couldn’t locate a piece of medical equipment she needed, had driven back to St Oswald’s Road ,to get it for them . I did not have confidence in the ward staff and was very concerned about the level of care .I felt I did have insight having stayed with her the night before last , and witnessed the nurse on night duty only do 2 ward rounds and spend the rest of the time reading the bible .

Anyway , back to my apology . After the phone call , I dressed , and this is weird and superficial, but I remember what i was wearing – black shorts and t shirt and carried a brightly coloured plastic basket . John drove me to Northfields, I got the tube to Westminster and stood ,gripping the bar and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed . People looked away , no-one said a thing . I (sort of ) ran across Westminster Bridge ,along the riverside walk and into the entrance of Lane Fox Ward . The nursing-sister was stood in civvies, white jeans and a white t shirt , I knew she was waiting for me .Ironivcally she just said 2 words ‘Im sorry’ and I immediately knew .
So what did I do ?
I screamed . I howled and then flung my basket across the ward .

So to those patients , i would like to say sorry

2 Replies to “My sister,Jane”

  1. Oh Rachel, I have tears – for Jane and for you. On Friday while driving the 3 hours to our beach house for the bank holiday weekend I spent the entire time regaling my carful of friends with Jane stories. They wished they’d met her. Me, well I miss get very much xxxx

  2. What a day to revisit your blog after a period of absence. I reckon you are forgiven. Like Sally, so many Jane stories and memories. What is amazing is that considering her challenges, they are all happy…….laugh out loud hilarious mostly! I know there were tough times but like your Dad she kept those as private as she was able to. The part of her that she shared was simply joyful. Like Sally, I miss her very much. ❤️

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