A New Family is Born
Published 06/12/2015 | 02:30
Sir - As I sit in A&E in the Rotunda hospital (monitoring blood pressure), I am compelled to write to you. With a little time on my hands, baby safe at home with Daddy, I have chance to share our experience.
I and my husband welcomed a healthy baby boy (8lbs 14oz) into the world on November 20 this year. We chose the Rotunda Maternity Hospital as I work in Dublin 1 and could easily make the appointments, a logistical decision that proved to be the best decision we could have made.
From scans, follow ups, expert reassurance, antenatal classes and appointments, everything ran like clockwork. A last-minute scheduled caesarean was planned a day before our due date, as the baby was breech. The care, respect and professionalism shown from every single staff member throughout our time in hospital were outstanding.
I actually had a little tear in my eye passing the midwife station as we left the ward to go home last week. The midwives were so caring, supportive and informative. They left such a positive impression on me. The work they do is a true vocation. Whilst very busy you can see they love their jobs, creating such a positive atmosphere into which to welcome our newest little ones.
The follow-on care from my local community midwife and family doctors was also seamless. Their attention to detail was faultless. I was sent into A&E twice to follow up on separate precautionary concerns, each time receiving quick care, expert advice and reassurance.
Absolutely nothing was left to chance; priority care was received on each visit. I will be back to the day care unit and outpatients department over the next few weeks.
The friendly staff takes the stress of these visits away, making it a day out for myself and baby, rather than an ordeal.
I know maternity services and the HSE in general receive a lot of negative press, I wanted to share the overwhelmingly positive experience myself and my husband had, for which we will be forever grateful. Our baby boy Tom arrived into the world under the most professional care. We left the Rotunda as a family of three; calm, prepared (as ever you can be!) and ready for this hugely exciting time in our lives.
I wanted to highlight our experience and say a huge thank you to everyone involved. We may complain about health services in Ireland, however my own experience has shown me that our public maternity care services are a privilege and credit to Ireland.
Thanks again to everyone we met.
Grace, James and Tom Burke
The supermarket angel
Sir - On Tuesday, November 24 in Tesco on West Street, Drogheda, I was doing my shopping for the first time since my beloved wife of 65 years passed away last month. It was her month's mind so this day in particular was tough.
As I was at the self-service check out I seemed to be struggling and not too sure on how it worked, since my wife always did the shopping. I felt a kind hand on my shoulder and as I turned around there was the most beautiful girl. She had long, wavy blonde hair and wearing all black. She said she was on her lunch break, that she was in no rush and was happy to help me. She told me her name was Rebecca. She was probably in her early 20s. She asked if I needed a hand with my shopping and I told her I'd be so grateful for her help. She did all of my shopping and put it all in bags for me. It seems like a small gesture but it made my day and I just want to find her and thank her properly. She didn't know what a devastating time I've been going through or what I had going on that day and she wanted to help a 94-year-old man just out of the goodness of her heart and wasn't looking for anything in return.
This is why I am writing to you. I would really love to find this girl and thank her properly. People like her need to be recognised, we need more like her in this world, people who would gladly take time out of their day to help people.
I would really appreciate it if you could spread the word. It might help me find her so I can thank her for what she did and it also might encourage other people reading if they see someone struggling just to go over and help, it really can make someone's day.
Drogheda Co Louth
Let's Look After Our Statues
Sir- Ruth Dudley Edwards' illuminating article 'Leave the statues alone: they're part of our history' (November 29) has a resonance with plans that are currently being considered much closer to home.
While not tainted with the 'embarrassing baggage' of Thomas Jefferson and Cecil Rhodes it seems some of our well known monuments on College Green are in danger of being toppled from their perch in the interests of progress. Dublin City Council are presently seeking redesign submissions for the pedestrianising of this area with the stated intention of relocating the Henry Grattan and Thomas Davis monuments to a spot as yet to be determined. I hope those with responsibility for the reconfiguration process pause to reflect on the historical associations of the Bank of Ireland and Trinity College and their relationship to these monuments.
Taking Henry Grattan in the first instance; the former House of Parliament, now Bank of Ireland, was once referred to as 'Grattan's Parliament'. Perhaps the Bank would agree to rehouse this illustrious gentleman in the concourse of their own building. Perhaps it could be repositioned on Foster Place once the proposed removal of the existing plane trees has been carried out. One way or the other, to give the monument its context, Grattan should remain within view of the former Parliament Building, there is nowhere else in the city with the same connection.
Moving on to the Davis monument; I wonder did anyone survey the monument site, if not, they should know that a plaque laid by President Sean T O'Kelly in 1945 is still there embedded in the ground for all to see.
It's a matter of record that huge crowds turned out in September 1945 to commemorate the centenary of the death of Thomas Davis. Photographs show thousands lining the streets of Dublin for various events including the president marching down Dame Street flanked by be-medalled 1916 veterans. On that occasion he dedicated the site on which a statue to Thomas Davis would in due course be erected facing his old Alma Mater, Trinity College.
It was not until the 1960s that the Davis monument was finally realised, but what a contribution it makes to College Green. From time to time, students give a wintery appearance to the fountain by introducing washing up liquid, but Davis stands magnanimous above it all. As we rush headlong into next year's commemoration events, we should also reflect on the legacy of great men like Davis and Grattan and celebrate what these monuments represent. They are our history and should not be removed from the buildings to which they are associated.
Climate change part of life
Sir - Last weekend saw the arrival of 40,000 delegates and 6,000 journalists in Paris to highlight concern for global warming and climate change (November 29).
Dire warnings of imminent disaster were articulated by Prince Charles who declared that there was little time to avoid climate catastrophe and Jim Yong Kim who predicted that the impact of climate change would destabilise countries.
Lighten up people! The world has been changing and evolving since the very first moment of Creation/Big Bang. Change implies progress. To change is to grow. Species become extinct as their niche within nature becomes obsolete and are replaced by different ones better suited to the new environment. The dinosaurs of 60m years ago have been surpassed by the phenomenally successful mammals of today among which our own human race takes pride of place.
The climate change of 10,000 years ago saw the retreat of the ice sheets which had precluded the flourishing of flora and fauna on the European continent.
Even if the polar caps were to melt, think of the opportunities this would present for plants, birds and animals to establish fresh colonies within the new ecosystems of the previously inhospitable frozen wastelands of the Arctic.
Rather than wringing our hands Hamlet-like over the passing away of former things, which is the inevitable consequence of inhabiting a rapidly changing world, let us look forward to and embrace the new dawn being ushered in by the wheel of eternity.
Herculean task of sustainable energy
Sir - Following the Paris climate change conference it is worth noting the combination of actions that engineer and environmentalist Dr Saul Griffith calculates would be necessary to achieve an average energy usage of 5kW for every person in the world by using mainly sustainable energy sources (currently in the US, usage is 11.4kW while in Bangladesh it is 0.2 kW).
Given a period of 25 years to achieve this, the following would be required: two and a half full size nuclear power reactors would have to be constructed every week, a three megawatt wind turbine erected every three minutes, 250m of solar panels constructed every second, and finally, bio energy would require the equivalent of four Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with genetically engineered bacteria, every second.
This does not take into consideration an increase in global population. It seems that the world has quite a herculean task ahead in its pursuit of sustainable energy.
English landladies and the Irish
Sir - The 'No Blacks, No Irish' signs were for real (Letters, Sunday Independent, November 29).
In the summer of 1961 I arrived in London for the first time. After passing a number of B&Bs with the signs, near Euston Station, I was directed by a helpful policeman to the Kings Cross area. "There are Irish-run B&Bs up there, "he said, and he added "Be careful, every second B&B is a 'knocking shop'."
Having grown up in Athlone and Galway, I had never heard this expression, but presumed it was a place where you could get a knock over the head and be robbed.
I need not have worried. The first doorbell I rang was answered by a large lady with a Donegal accent. I noticed the Child of Prague statue on the hall table and a picture of the Sacred Heart on the wall. I was in good hands.
It was only years later, when I read John B Keane's novel The Contractors, that I understood why the English landladies of that time were so afraid of taking in the Irish. What they had against black people I never found out.
Savagery awoke old hatreds
Sir - My thanks to Paddy McEvoy (Sunday Independent, November 29) for providing an insightful and informative context to the scenes depicting the Irish in Britain as described in my letter (Sunday Independent, November 22).
Regarding the raw feelings generated by Ireland's neutrality during the war, he is absolutely right. One might point out however, that as the 1960s wore on, things got palpably better, due no doubt, in large part, to the massive contribution made to the re-building of the country and the manning of factories and service industries by Irish labour, not to mention the sterling work of dedicated Irish nurses which helped to sustain the NHS.
Sadly, as fate would have it, Irish Republican savagery reared its ugly head yet again, wreaking havoc on the lives of many and bequeathing a legacy of enmity that will take generations to abate. In the meantime we have at least the consolation of Adams's glib assertion: "It's good to be Irish in Britain now."
Mr McEvoy's point, "We Irish are adept at holding the Diaspora picture at a convenient angle,..." is well taken.
There is a path out of depression
Sir - Depression paints a frightful picture of devastation, havoc and unhappiness wrought in so many people's lives and also leads to suicide by unfortunate people, who, in their deep-rooted despair, feel they cannot cope any longer. Sometimes depression is considered to be a deadly disease.
I would like to take issue with that image of depression in Ireland (and the western world). My life's experience has taught me otherwise.
I would not live my youth again. I was born with severe hearing loss and in 11 years of schooling I suffered physical beatings and mental trauma, which lead to severe depression, unhappiness and despair. For many years, I did not seek medical help.
Then one day I made an amazing discovery. Ignoring social and medical conditioning to look outwards, I looked inwards and found I could tap into a bottomless well of strength which we all possess. Briefly, in giving honest answers to myself, I made the discovery that I was the architect of my own unhappiness. I was feeding so-called depression with negative destructive thinking, which was fuelled by my own low self-esteem and self-pity.
I was elated to discover that depression is not a physical entity - it is a thought process that reacts to the negative or positive we feed into it.
I could not wait to test my discovery, which I found and I completely changed my life for the better almost overnight.
Personal happiness and stability were there for the taking, and from my positive and wonderful experience evolved my maxim: "We are the products of our own thoughts."
Yes, we are what we feed our mind with - change your attitude change your life. The above experience happened over 40 years ago and I since have daily happiness and stability which I would like to share with others who are searching for it.
Depression is two-fold; a smaller amount of people will always need medical attention and drugs. The much larger amount of people can help themselves.
Sir - Never mind your Black Fridays, cyber Mondays, wifi Wednesdays and all the other ould shopping fads that have been foisted on us.
There is only one real shopping day in Ireland and that's the 8th of December. That's when we rural people mobilise and organise and "head to town". We are not after technology or gadgets. We are looking for the traditional things: Lemons sweets, USA biscuits, the Christmas copy of the Ireland's Own, sturdy clothes, a bit of style for the dinner dance, new good clothes for the kids and a few traditional toys and games.
You won't find us using payment apps, we will haggle and pay in crumpled, well-worn notes. You won't find us shopping online. We will try the stuff on and ask for opinions and input: "Oh that coat is lovely on you, Xavier, but the colour is a bit young for you." Well, come home and tell stories of our great adventure: "Jaaaaaysus, town was mobbed, you couldn't move in the shops." Long after Black Friday is forgotten, we'll still be heading to town on December 8.
Telling the truth
Sir - Do you really believe the following:
That austerity is finally over and we can forget about soldiers guarding our ATMS?
That some of the homeless will be living in their new modular homes before Christmas?
That the executive members of the IFA did not know what each other were earning?
That over 300,000 of our young men and women have emigrated and are unlikely to return?
That hundreds of thousands of jobs have been provided here, but salaries yet to be announced?
That the Minister for Health has at last solved the trolley crisis in our hospitals?
That any hospital considered not to be doing its best will be fined €10,000?
That patients who are longer than 10 years on a waiting list will be given a DIY surgical kit?
That from here on in every politician will tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth?