In case you didn't know, I don't get on with my smother-in-law. We have long since come to an understanding that it is best if we don't spend too much time in each other's company.
On Tuesday she became the proud owner of a new hip and has been holed up in the local mega-hospital ever since. In the last five days I have had to spend more time with her than is possibly good for my own health as the MD, rather conveniently, developed a life-threatening flu.
So all is good. The S-i-l has a new shiny hip, is already walking about and looks to be on the road to recovery, so what's the problem?
The problem is, that a packet of salt has been loitering under her bed for three days, they can't find a cup to put her drugs in, she broke her plastic cutlery and had to eat her dinner with a spoon. Every night that I have visited, her tray has been left on the table, her bed looks as if it hasn't been made for a week and there is no help forth-coming when she needs to go to the loo. Today she got stuck on the toilet for nearly an hour because the special seat for hippy patients had gone missing.
The health care cannot be faulted. The S-i-l is pain free and is healing well but what happened to basic care. Care of the small things, the comforting things, a smile from the nurses (who all look like they have got terminal PMT). Does it take much to offer a kind word, a joke or even a set of real cutlery. What do they think she is going to do, stab someone for lack of heart? I would!