By Cynthia Cross

Cynthia Cross is a generous contributor to the goodenoughcaring Journal. After distinguished career in child care she lives in Kent where she is nurtured and encouraged by her dog Lucy. Cynthia is also a member of the goodenoughcaring Journal editorial group.



Tony complained about a lump in his mouth and the dentist sent him to hospital for it to be investigated.

After seeing a consultant an appointment was made for Tony to have a minor operation two months later.

A few days before  Tony was due to go for his operation, a letter arrived saying he needed to bring his pyjamas, toothbrush etc.

We had not realised that he would have to stay as an in-patient. Tony said he would not go if he had to stay overnight. I persuaded him to go to the hospital with me, but I promised him that I would not make him stay.

When we got to the hospital I explained the situation to the person at reception, who laughed and sent us up to the ward.

We arrived at the ward we were greeted by a staff nurse. I once again stated that we had not understood that Tony would have to be admitted and that he was unwilling to stay the night. We then received a lecture about how lucky he was to be treated and that if nothing was done Tony would soon be in pain. The nurse then said to Tony that he should not be silly; he was a big boy. She asked him how old he was, he replied “Fourteen in age”. She was completely nonplussed by this and asked him what he had said, and he repeated it again with more emphasis. She then turned to me and said very severely “are you responsible for this boy?”   I said “Yes all of him”. She then went away and came back with a male nurse who tried unsuccessfully to jolly Tony along.

We then sat there waiting; sometime later nurse Sarah came, she was from another part of the hospital, she told us that her husband taught children who had been excluded from school.

She asked Tony if he minded her calling him Tony, and then said that everyone she knew was afraid of going into hospital to have an operation, She said that people were asked to come into the hospital the day before their operation so that they would have a better chance of knowing where they were when they came round from the anaesthetic. Also they stayed the following night in case there were any complications, such as a lot of bleeding.

Tony felt able to ask nurse Sarah questions and she offered to try to get permission for him to come back the next day, in time for his operation and to be discharged a couple of hours after, providing there were no serious concerns about his condition.

Tony agreed to stay that night at the hospital and after the operation was willing to stay until the next day. In addition to me visiting on the two evenings, he had a visit from nurse Sarah, who chatted with him and brought him some comics.

Tony is now a proud grandfather who has recently retired after almost 40 years working for the NHS

Cynthia Cross