Tag Archives: National Health Service

Gone A Bit Grosz At The Hospital

28 Dec

Ink drawing on the hospital ward.

I’m using some of the time I’m doing hospital and nursing home visits to catch  up with some sketching. It’s been stressful seeing people I care about so frail and ill, but there’s usually an upside to every situation if you look for it. One good thing is that it gives me a chance to just sit still for a while and not dash around all over the place trying to get everything done by and for Xmas. Some time for reflection and time to concentrate on my sick relatives rather than on myself. It is also an opportunity to draw people and places that I don’t normally have access to.

This evening we went to visit Dad-in-law, who is now so much better that he’s been transferred out of the High Dependency Unit and onto a general ward, walking a little bit, eating and chatting away. So much progress in the last 6 days. All the other men in the ward are looking pretty fit and are likely to be going home in a day or two, so the atmosphere is so much more relaxed than in the HDU and the place isn’t filled up with machinery and tubing.

I drew Dad-in-law’s neighbour as he read his newspaper. Sometimes I realise that my drawing style changes slightly according to the subject. Some models have inspired me to Northern Renaissance, some to Schiele or Klimt and today it seems to me that I went a little bit George Grosz when I was drawing this chap. Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen [size S] into my current favourite sketchbook, an A6 recycled leather bound by Artbox.


Xmas Day At The High Dependency Unit

25 Dec

Ink sketch: Xmas at the H.D.U.

An elderly relative went into hospital for heart surgery a few days ago and after a night in Intensive Care, he was transferred to the High Dependency Unit for intensive nursing. He’s doing well and will hopefully be transferred to a general ward in a couple of days but we’ve been back and fro visiting him for the past five days and it’s a strange and unsettling place to be. Most of the patients are very frail and elderly and the Unit is very high-tech with patients hooked up to many machines and lots of tubes coming in and out of their bodies. Of course, these machines and the very high level of nursing care are saving lives and giving people a chance of a few more years of quality life, but the machines are quite scary and the atmosphere is necessarily not relaxed and homely like the general wards. At this time of year there are no Xmas cards or decorations, no personal items at bedsides, just the bare minimum of individual possessions in amongst all the medical paraphanalia. It reminds me a bit of The Matrix.

But visiting hours bring smiles to the faces of the patients and also the staff, who seem genuinely pleased to see their patients spirits lift when they get visitors. Everyone who went into the Unit at the same time as my relative seems to be getting stronger each day so there’s a lot to be grateful for. I know there are problems with the National Health Service and we shouldn’t be afraid to speak out and challenge poor care and bad attitudes, but when it’s working well it’s a fantastic thing that so many people in other parts of the world don’t have access to.Today it was especially poignant to remember that there are people unable to spend this holiday with their families, and that there are staff who are working through the festive season to keep others alive and well.

The drawing is done in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen, size S into an A6 leather-bound recycled ‘Artbox’ sketchbook. I have changed the facial features to maintain anonymity. I wanted to capture the tininess of the human in amongst all the machinery and tubing.

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