Friday, 26 July 2019

Porters- Series 2

Following the recent death of the actor Rutger Hauer, see: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2019/07/rutger-hauer-dies.html, I binge-watched the new five part second series of the TV comedy Porters, see: https://dave.uktv.co.uk/shows/porters/. I have unforgivably delayed reviewing it because of other work commitments. (My to-do list is growing longer in proportion to dark energetic universal expansion; I really need to slow down.) Series 2 reunites the same production team and it is largely the same format as Series 1. I'm glad to say it has not replaced the cleverly designed title sequence or the Wurlitzer organ theme music. The script is the similar, with speedily delivered one-liners. Too speedy sometimes and I had to watch a few scenes more than once; not that that is really a criticism in today's age of online players. The difference with Series 2 is that new writers are brought in whereas Series 1 is completely penned by Dan Sefton. One of the Series 2 scriptwriters is Susan Wokoma, Frankie's actress.

Frankie returns to the St Ethelreda portering crew in Series 2 and continues her enterprise in black market larceny. However she has progressed from selling outdated Viagra to Chinese businessmen and now steals perfume from dying patients on the geriatric ward. She has surreptitiously obtained the entire "do not resuscitate" list from one of the doctors' briefcases. She also organizes a women's boxing tournament in the basement. Lucy and Dr Bartholomew become bitter rivals and almost end up killing each other in the ring. Lucy is of course still being ineffectually pursued by her eternally dogged suitor Simon. Hardly a spoiler alert is needed when I say Simon fails to get the girl... and what a terrible waste of comedic plot that would be if he ever did! Lucy is still besotted with the handsome and debonair Helimed hero Dr McKenzie and almost marries him at one point, although Simon does succeed in putting a stop to that. A new porter joins the team called Anthony De La Mer. That is an unusual surname and strangely enough it is the surname of a real porter I knew in the maternity unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Coincidence? Anthony is something of an Essex Jack-the-lad type and is one of the most perceptively created characters in the series because he exhibits certain personality traits that are typically associated with hospital porters. He is a prodigious blagger. We used to say about those kinds of porters: "Name a place, he's been there. Name an activity, he's done it." According to his professed persona, Anthony is a former MI6 officer, licensed to kill, and he has dated celebrity patients in the private hospital he used to be at. He clashes violently with Frankie when he tries to muscle in on "her patch!" by trying his own hand at the perfume theft game. Tanya Franks returns as the hospital administrator Jane Bison, another wonderfully accurate character. Like real NHS managers, she cares nothing for the actual performance and quality of the service so long as it looks good. She goes almost berserk with worry when "Ham and Cheese" turn up as patients, two teenage boys who are absolutely archetypal depictions of overrated amateur internet stars. As in Series 1, Mzzzzz Bison is bureaucratic, bullish and aloof. However, she uses her secret weapon against Simon at one point by lifting her eye patch; which must be rather like the scene in Star Wars when Darth Vader takes off his mask. Simon is suitably struck dumb. In the antagonists' camp along with Jane Bison are the security guards, including an enormous Irish woman who looks like a wrestler and has a loose trigger finger when she's wielding a TASER. Simon also falls foul of a series of practical jokes one Halloween nightshift, mostly at the hands of the rather ghoulish couple who run the mortuary. The drill goes live when Frankie is kidnapped by a serial killer. There are many other excellent storylines; for example when Dr Pradeep becomes a porter for a day, Simon damages a surgical robot, Frankie runs into an old friend who thought she was dead and Simon secretly rough-sleeps in the hospital when off duty (Something which all of us have done. I remember many chilly nights in the linen store when I was too tired to walk home from the social club and had an early shift the next day). There is a lot of black comedy in Porters which reflects the gallows humour necessary to survive in real healthcare work. Much of it may be distasteful to some viewers, such as when Simon makes a sperm donation to his own mother and a coma patient wakes up after twenty years and thinks she's still a young girl. A couple of months on A and E will cure those viewers! Healthcare operatives of all kinds make sick jokes; fact! If we didn't we would lose our minds.
I enjoyed Series 2 of Porters almost as much as Series 1. The single disappointment was the absence of Tillman. To be fair, I think I felt it more sharply than I otherwise would have if I hadn't watched the programme in the wake of Rutger Hauer's death. In the story, Tillman leaves portering to journey to Tibet and study meditation with the Dalai Lama. Anthony was deployed in to replace him. I was pleased to see that the character is not completely removed from the programme. Hauer returned to shoot a handful of scenes that give him a continued presence in the show, mostly in the imagination of Simon. There is one outstanding scene where Simon meditates over Tillman's old sunhat and astrally travels to Tibet where he meets the Dalai Lama, played by the prestigious TV and stage actor David Yip, famous for the very popular crime thriller series The Chinese Detective. He is seeking spiritual advice from Tillman, but ends up simply playing golf with the Dalai Lama. I am enjoying Porters more and more as I watch it. As I said in the background posts below, I was dubious about the series at first, but my doubts have now evaporated. Hospital porters have been featured several times in the media, but Porters is one of only two examples I know of in which our profession is portrayed respectfully. The other is my own novel Evan's Land. I hope there will be a Series 3.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Rutger Hauer Dies

I'm very sad to report that Rutger Hauer has died. The Dutch actor was born in 1944 and has starred in multiple television and cinematic roles since 1969. He has worked with top directors such as Ridley Scott and Paul Verhoeven. He is probably best known for playing the Roy Batty "Nexus 6 replicant" in Scott's classic sci-fi film noir, Blade Runner. I first knew him as a child when I enjoyed his series of humourous and surreal TV adverts for a certain well-known Irish dark ale, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIXmHMLPmiM. I am a big fan of Blade Runner and the movie would not have been the same without his extraordinary performance; however, I can now only remember him as Matthias Tillman, the eccentric German patriarch of St Ethelreda's Hospital porters. An old hand with a copious knowledge of golf, karma and his own brand of shock therapy that is guaranteed either to kill or cure. See here for details: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2018/11/porters-first-series.html and: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2018/10/porters-returns-to-dave.html. He was seventy-five years old and is survived by Ineke, his beloved wife of fifty years. Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49098435. Rest in peace, Rutger Hauer... Tillman is now on Eternal Nightshift.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Happy St Theo’s Day 2019!

On behalf of every serving hospital porter, every former hospital porter, and everybody else who loves, appreciates and supports us, with all the Pride and Dignity of my Extremely Proud and Dignified Brother and Sister Porters, I'd like to wish all my friends and readers, a very happy St Theo's Day. Here is my HPANWO TV video for St Theo's this year: https://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2019/06/st-theo-2019.html.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

More Blocks and Digs

I have carried out another round of blocks and digs; I think to celebrate St Theo's Day which is this Saturday coming. In this case I struck down four people, all of whom had badly mistreated me a few months ago when Peter Robbins and others started spreading defamatory lies about me, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-robbinsic-12-document.html and: https://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.com/2018/10/programme-304-podcast-what-really.html and: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.com/2019/06/programme-326-podcast-what-else-really.html. Some of them just unfriended or blocked me quietly on Facebook. One person wrote to me to tell me they were doing so and why. I say "why", but they didn't really explain anything and they refused to listen to my protestations of innocence. They got the first one! There are many others I could name on top of the four I gave blocks and digs to yesterday, and I may find out that there are others I'm not yet aware of. I know I must not let myself become consumed with this or I will become bitter; but it felt good to fight back. I fought back in the best way a hospital porter, or ex-hospital porter, can. I was quite elated after I had done it and I still feel satisfaction at what I did. There will be another campaign in due course.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Sarah Kuteh loses Appeal

I'm sorry to relate that Sister Sarah Kuteh has lost her appeal in the case of her discharge from the Darent Valley Hospital in Kent, see here for background: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2016/12/nurse-sacked-for-praying.html. After her dismissal in 2016 Mrs Kuteh appealed through the NHS trust system and then initiated a lawsuit. The court heard that the intensive care sister endured numerous complaints about her "religious preaching". One patient described her behaviour as being "like a Monty Python skit". Despite the fact that with full training and over fifteen years of experience, she should have been an invaluable member of the hospital personnel, she was sacked. I can't help wondering if she wasn't a Christian, would this aversion be reduced? I recall from my own service that there is a wide variety of religious opinions, including non-belief, in the NHS. Some people liked to speak openly about their faith and others were more private. This sometimes included discussions with patients. I myself had some amazing conversations with patients about all kinds of subjects. The complaints made against Sister Kuteh do not appear to be that serious. The worst thing anybody said is that her actions were "very bizarre". Not "harmful" or "abusive"; just "bizarre". That doesn't sound too bad to me. What's more, the statement: "She spent more time talking about religion than doing the assessment" is mere hyperbole. How long did she spend on each? Did you time it? Give it to me in hours and minutes otherwise it is meaningless and should not be submitted as evidence. In her defence, Mrs Kuteh brought up human rights laws about religion that I discuss in the background links below. Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7053709/NHS-nurse-offered-Bible-cancer-patient-LOSES-unfair-dismissal-appeal-tribunal.html. Actually, even if the court correctly interpreted the Nursing and Midwifery Council regulations, the point hanging over this whole matter is that the NHS is incredibly selective in what it chooses to react against. My own case was similar to Sister Kuteh's except that it involved behaviour off duty, yet I was spat out with all the urgency of a mouthful of hot lava. At the same time, the health services shrug their shoulders at far more serious matters, such as appallingly low standards of performance and conduct from operatives. As I said before, my advice to anybody in the NHS is: DO NOT be good at your job. That is unless you want a very short career. Not only will they fail to respect you, they will hate you for it.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Peter Mayhew Dies

I'm very sorry to report that the great hospital porter Peter Mayhew has passed away. The enormous seven-foot-three-inch actor was the man inside Chewbacca, the giant "wookie" alien in the original Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith in the prequel trilogy and The Force Awakens from the new trilogy. He was also acted as an assistant to Joonas Viljami Suotamo, the actor who played Chewbacca in The Last Jedi. By then ill health meant he couldn't don the furry suit himself for that final epic. His co-stars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, as well as the director George Lucas, are very sad at their loss and paid tribute to Mayhew, saying that he was as warm and loving as his character. When he was portering at Kings College Hospital in London they had no uniform in stock to cover his huge frame and he had to wear a special suit. A ward sister from Kings Tweeted: "Star Wars colleagues talk about sweet-nature of Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) who's just died. In 70's I was a ward sister at Kings College and remember the giant porter who was gentle and kind to our patients. I also recall wonderment on their faces as Peter arrived with a wheelchair!" Source: https://twitter.com/JennyDarnley/status/1124219985335848960. He wanted to be an actor, and appeared briefly in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, but thought that his career would be limited by his significant stature. How wrong he was! Peter Mayhew, On Eternal Nightshift. Rest in Peace, Brother Porter.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

St Theo's Day 2019 Fliers


The fliers for this year's St Theo's Day are finished. Pretty soon I shall print and distribute them. This year, as with last year, I have produced two different fliers, one for the Oxfordshire hospitals on my doorstep; and another to be distributed to other institutions around the country. I will send the second national flier by post, addressed to the porters in those institutions. Apologies for the long delay between St Theo's Day 2019 and the St Theo's Day 2019 official get-together. This is due to staff availability.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Irish Healthcare Abortion Rebels

Did they really think it would be so easy? Ireland recently lifted the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution allowing terminations of pregnancy. However, despite the likes of Peter Sutherland and George Soros rubbing their hands together with glee and thinking that the job was done, they did not count on that famous Irish warrior spirit. Several hundred nurses and midwives have petitioned the Irish health minister Simon Harris to open talks on provisions for conscientious objectors to the new abortion legislation. They are led by a Mary Fitzgibbon. They even demand the right not to deal with termination patients at all in any way, including referrals to complicit colleagues, see: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/abortion-legislation-nurses-petition-harris-on-opt-out-1.3712239. I really don't see how they can force healthcare professionals to perform abortions against their will. They are already in trouble for carrying out disciplinary action against a serviceman in County Mayo who dared to speak publicly about his opposition to legalizing infanticide, see: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/hospital-worker-faces-disciplinary-action-after-speaking-out-against-abortion-in-online-video-37744645.html. I have a feeling that this brave individual is a porter. I can tell because the media always uses the words "employee" or "member of staff" when referring to hospital porters. I salute my EP&DBP in Ireland! I can sympathize with him even more because I know how it feels to be a healthcare prisoner of conscience, see: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2013/01/one-year-on.html. Terminations in the United Kingdom have been legal since 1967 and they are performed at my hospital, the John Radcliffe in Oxford, but I was never involved with that myself. Quite the opposite, for nine years of my twenty-three year career I served in the delivery suite in maternity. Abortions were done in the gynaecology centre which was close to maternity, but the departments were kept strictly apart. I am very proud of my Irish colleagues, both portering and civilian, for their courageous stance. Who knows how many people in the future might owe their lives to these heroes of healthcare. The struggle has become much more intense recently, and not just in Ireland. In the United States of America, the abortion regulations have been horrifically eased, especially for third trimester terminations, see: https://www.humancoalition.org/2019/02/01/new-york-is-celebrating-abortion-up-to-birth/.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Social Media and the NHS

My "agent on the inside" has sent me the interesting and disturbing image you see above from my old hospital. It is particularly disturbing when you consider my own fate, see: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2013/01/one-year-on.html. In just the seven years since my discharge the culture online and its relationship to "meatspace" has changed beyond all recognition. What was done to me in happier times has now become normal practice and there are countless other examples. A slip of the finger on your keyboard can literally destroy your life. Even prominent celebrities can be blacklisted if they commit the most minor or inadvertent contraventions of the mainstream conventional mindset, for instance see: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2017/07/richard-dawkins-banned-again.html. The John Radcliffe's management has decided to warn staff about this peril. It is strange that the poster advises staff on how to remain safe, yet its tone assumes that the ethos behind the peril is perfectly legitimate and just. Points 1 and 3 are obvious; these are part of the standard NHS policy on confidentiality. This states that everything that happens while on duty relating to patients and people are top secret and cannot be divulged with anybody who does not have a need-to-know... Yes, if there was a UFO crash in the ambulance bay I promise I would not breathe a word... Well, maybe I'd say just a few words. What does Point 2 mean? "Positive" can have many definitions, but the poster does not clarify them. As for Point 4, what do we need to be protected from? Are there pixels coming out of the monitor that are armed and dangerous? We see here another vague insinuation without explanation. It's as if they're hinting at something that they don't want to state openly. Point 5 is saying that we should not be allowed to say anything about our job at all anywhere? In that case shouldn't Dr Evan Harris be sacked? I do not vote Lib-Dem so would "not feel comfortable" with one of them treating me. You see how ridiculous that is? Point 6 is just a general innuendo of insecurity and guilt. This is the Orwellian world we live in where post-modern allusions are considered official instructions. If I were still in portering and I read that notice I would not feel in any way protected or enlightened about what my rights and obligations were on social media as an NHS serviceman. Maybe that's the way it is meant to be. There is a scene in the dystopian science fiction TV series Blakes 7 where the heroes are incarcerated aboard a prison spaceship. The warder tells them: "There are other rules, but you'll find out what they are when you break them.", see: https://youtu.be/vpqQPKjs27o?t=240.