St. Mary's Church, Udimore
St. Mary's now has it's own web site which can be accessed at www.stmarysudimore.org
Friends of St. Mary's Church
The Friends are inviting anyone who is not a member to consider joining them. They have just issued a new pamphlet with all the details. If you are interested please contact Liz Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org
A message from The Revd's Jim and Barbara Hobbs
A Letter from Father David Sherwood
My dear friends
Home thoughts from hospital
Although I am writing this at home after discharge from hospital these are the thoughts that I formed in hospital. I take my title from Browning’s “Home thoughts from abroad,” the poem that begins “Oh to be in England now that April’s there.” Browning was longing for England when he was not there but in Italy and was longing for home. My thoughts are not particularly theological but I have included some things which you might find of interest and to reassure you if the same thing happens to you or to a loved one.
On 14th January 2021 I had a car accident. I was on my way to church to take the 6 o’clock mass and was turning right from Bohemia Road into Tower Road. There were temporary traffic lights shortly behind me to the right. As I turned right a police car hit me, trying to overtake. The car driver claimed to have lights flashing and its siren sounding but I never saw nor heard anything. I think what actually happened was that the car had been held at the temporary traffic lights and when they turned green sped away, turning on its lights and siren then, but that was insufficient time to allow me to react to it. I felt very shaken up but had apparently suffered no injuries. The car went into the garage to be mended and I was taken home by a passing police car. This accident may well have been the cause of my heart attack. That was the view of the doctor who examined me in hospital who thought it could well have been a contributing factor.
I had been felling unwell for a couple of days with severe pain in my upper abdomen which turned out to have been cause by an infected gall bladder with stones which will need to be removed in about three months time. Everything came to a head on 22nd January when my symptoms were extreme shivering followed by excessive sweating and a terrible feeling of weakness so that I could not get out of a chair without assistance and I needed help to walk. These are not the usual symptoms I associate with a heart attack. Carole called the ambulance which came promptly. That is reassuring, given that we have all heard stories on the television of ambulances taking hours to arrive. I was then taken off to the Conquest hospital into which I was admitted within a matter of minutes, again countering all that we have heard of queues of ambulances at hospitals.
I started in A and E which seemed to have a huge number of staff. I felt I was being properly cared for and I placed my trust in the staff. From that time on I was conscious that the hospital was rather like the United Nations in that there were so many nationalities. When we had the referendum on Brexit much was made about immigration. This showed me how we just could not run our National Health Service without the help of many immigrants from all over the world. We should be grateful to have them and their dedication to the job. After A and E I was transferred to the acute assessment unit which resembled Dante’s inferno with many patients arriving and departing and a lot of staff. At some stage, either there or in A and E, I was questioned about my symptoms and realised later that my mind was not fully functioning and so may have given inadequate information to those who were trying to help me. It was difficult to sleep because of the noise of staff and patients, including loud phone conversations in what turned out to be Romanian and my fellow patient had speaker on on her mobile phone which made it all the louder. In the next bed was a delightful old man who was 97 and told me much of his life story. There was a frequent turn round of bed occupancy. A patient opposite was obviously a drug addict who came in and out. She eventually left, clearly having had her fix. I wish I knew the answer to the national drug problem, whether to make softer drugs legal or to get a greater number of police and customs officers to fight the trade. I doubt the girl opposite, then about 30, will see her 40th birthday. I had a long chat with one of the chaplaincy team with whom I found a good deal in common. It took my mind off my problems and I was very grateful for her.
I was eventually transferred to the cardiac care unit. I cannot fault the treatment I received in the wards where I was. The staff were unfailingly kind, considerate and efficient. Even the food was quite nice. You get a wide choice and the what is meant to be hot is hot. Even the coffee is drinkable. I am an expert on cheap coffee, having suffered it in several parishes where I have been or visited. I managed to keep saying the daily offices of morning and evening prayer, but found it difficult to pray. There are a number of sick people for whom I normally pray daily, but instead I simply asked God to accept my prayer for all those for whom I usually pray. The prayer I particularly found of help was the Jesus prayer, breathing in to the words “Jesus Christ, son of the living God” and breathing out to the words “have mercy on me, a sinner.”
At first I thought I was going to die, but realised after a relatively short time that I was going to survive. It was not at all dramatic but quite mundane. My great disappointment would have been not to see my grandchildren grow up. There is a wide range in ages of the five of them, my eldest grandson being 17 and the youngest not yet three. Although much is made these days on departed people “looking down” on what is happening here I do not know whether it works like that. I was also concerned about history repeating itself, as both my father and his father died of heart attacks, my father within a month of his 76th birthday and I passed my 76th birthday on 17th January.
I read a lot and had books with me, but found that sometimes I did not feel well enough to read and was therefore content just to look around me and to doze. I now better understand those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia who simply stare into the distance. As I was they are not well enough to read or do anything else. I was pumped full of drugs and had sufficient blood taken from me to start my own blood bank! You are allowed to take your mobile phone into hospital so that I was able to keep in touch with a number of people. You also need to remember your charger as you are also allowed to recharge your phone. During Covid restrictions you are not allowed visitors so the phone was a real lifeline for me. One thing that surprised me is that it was quite cold in hospital, being used to the stifling heat in hospitals in the past. You need to take extra clothing to counter this. Thankfully you are not besieged by bad background music. I was conscious of various tunes going round my head, many of which were by Schubert who has been my most recent discovery. Classical music has been my abiding passion over the years and I have discovered music new to me or new musical genres, so that, for example, I do like modern jazz. I am amazed by the quality of Schubert’s music as he wrote so much of high quality during the last year of his life, dying of syphilis at the age of 31.
On my tenth day in hospital I had an angiogram and angioplasty followed by a procedure in which two stents were inserted into one of the arteries of my heart. I did not have an anaesthetic and I wondered at the progress in medical science which enables such a procedure. Having had the procedure I knew that I must soon be released from hospital and I longed to go home. Once I got home it was so good to be there.
We normally try not to drink alcohol Mon-Thurs but this was a celebration so I had a gin and tonic, the best I had had in at least 20 years! Then to be able to sleep in my own bed was wonderful. The hospital beds are perfectly comfortable but this was my bed in my home. Breakfasts in hospital are quite good but I was able to have my all-time favourite of bacon and scrambled eggs-excellent.
I now start the slow road to recovery. I am beginning to get my appetite back and have amazingly lost a stone in weight. I shall need to eat carefully and must take regular exercise. This has started and I realise how weak I am. We take so many good things in life for granted. I am definitely one with Dorothy in “The wizard of Oz” - “There’s no place like home!” I have to take what are a number of big steps for me: to get back to church; to start taking services again: to drive and to get on a plane. Please remember me in your prayers and give thanks for our wonderful National Health Service.
With my love, Fr David
David was a solicitor for 12 years before becoming a Vicar in Essex. He was one of the first group to achieve an LLM in canon law and retired in 2006 befoire moving to Hastings in 2009. Married to Carole they have two sons and five grandchildren. He is currently Honorary curate at Christ Church in St. Leonards-on-Sea. His hobbies include classical music and modern jazz, watching sport and reading and doing jigsaws.
Brede Flower Festival
Regretfully the annual Flower Festival, that is normaly held over the August Bank holiday weekend, had to be cancelled because of Covid 19. Thoughts are being given to alterrnative possible events and will be announced as soon as they are finalised. For any information contact Sue at email@example.com
Open Air Market
Instead of the normal Friday Farmers Market there is a 'By Locals, for the Locals' event being held in the Car Park outside the Brede Village Hall between 10 am and 12 noon every Friday morning.
Stalls selling fresh meat, game, some smoked produce, cheese, eggs, bread, fruit and veg, hand-made cakes, quiches and ready meals as well as apple juice are safely set out to comply with social distancing rules.
Do come and support this local event, whatwever the weather, and particularly given all that is going on at the moment.
For more information contact Gill Potterton of Glorious Food on 07590 621015 or email her on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rye Mutual Aid
Rye Mutual Aid has been set up to support anyone who needs help. Are you unable or concerned about leaving your home because of Covid 19/Coronavirus? Do you need someone to run errands - do your shopping, post mail or pick up a presciption, etc. Or would you like to talk to someone if you are feeling isolated? Rye Mutual Aid can help.
The Dispatcher Volunteers are:
Broad Oak Brede - Donna on 07809 345416 and Bruni on 07941 357101
Udimore - Genevieve on 07891 124082; Gary on 07803 687170; Darren on 07949 724803; Sue on 0771 261325 or Jenny on 07748 843413.