Sweet Rose Cottage

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a fairly frustrating week all round. I caught the man flu, which turned out to be close to actual flu in some ways and still has me feeling terrible. On top of that, add some insomnia, anxiety and general joint pain, I think feel close to the classic ‘death warmed up’. She writes during a sneezing fit on the bus.

Wednesday Addams & Antigone Funn inspired generic tired mortuary worker look.

I was in for two days this week and I’m only in work for one next week. I’m then in for the rest of the year, and I’m starting to do some on call type work. In the last two days that went fast, I did some more nurses training in the big auditorium style training room. I get to feel important and stand on a stage with the presentation projected either side of me. For those that have known me a long time, bet you never thought this nervous wreck would stand there confidently and do that!

A selection of stills from the Just Five Minutes More video by Michelle Lancaster at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

At the start of the training we play a video made by another NHS trust which demonstrates as well as possible our roles as APTs. It perfectly describes the care we have for our patients and our characters, particularly the ‘cheerful disposition’ we all possess. The link to the video on YouTube is here, Michelle Lancaster who made it and stars in it is someone I have a lot of admiration for and had the pleasure to meet at conference two years in a row, she is a really lovely human being.

There is another line in the video that I’d like to discuss where Michelle mentions the use of the term ‘rose cottage’, describing the phrase as sweet. This hit home upon hearing it yesterday because it sounded so much like the Sweet Rose Cakery where we host our Death Cafe each month, how appropriate and coincidental we found a location named that!

Laura T at the Sweet Rose Cakery

I should explain, the term rose cottage is used by hospital staff to describe either the mortuary, or has further extended to mean a death on the ward either in full form or shortened. The porters use it to ask where the death is, I hear them using our phone to call the ward and ask ‘Do you have a rose cottage?’ or more often it is ‘Do you have a rosie?’. It’s a sweet term indeed, not necessarily one I agree with because I’m fairly certain it’s born of avoiding talking about death, but it’s a tradition that has existed for a long time and I’m sure will continue. I believe other hospitals have other terms they might use, but the Rose Cottage has firmly stuck at ours. Although I believe you can encounter staff who have still yet to hear it and then assume you are asking after a patient called Rose Cottage which would be unfortunate if there was someone with that name!

Have a watch of the video and let me know what you think! Also, as promised I am working on a post about tools starting with the handy device below. Anyone want to take a guess what it’s used for? Mortuary workers past and present need not comment! If you’re Hospital has another term used to mean a death please get in touch also. Have a great weekend everyone.

Mystery tool… what could it be? It’s quite easy (I think!)

MG x

Cats & Death

You might know already, but I am a cat person. As I write this, my youngest cat is dreamily watching a YouTube channel made to relieve cats of boredom and anxiety. My eldest is sat on a blanket recovering from his latest trip to the vets. Like my Instagram bio states, I’m all about cats and death. However, you might not realise just how connected those two things are and why this is a perfect combination.

Ruby watching her anxiety combatting videos

Rocky is still a poorly old soul

If you Google ‘cats and death’ you get some odd results. Particularly interesting is whether cats can smell death and a news report of a cat in a nursing home who predicts who will die. Oscar and his little visits to patients are explained in this video but it would seem he can sense something, thought to probably be a smell, in the patient and recognises those that will die soon. He sits with the patient until their death, curled up with them until their last moments. A study and a paper was presented in a medical journal about little Oscar, concluding nothing but presenting the evidence he can sense the incoming death of a person.

Then there’s others like the video of man who fakes his own death in front of his cat to see what he does, not surprisingly the cat is fairly indifferent to its owner’s dramatic demise. I must try it some time but I have a feeling my two would have a very similar reaction. Linking to Oscar, maybe they just intelligently know that it’s fake and won’t be fooled by our silly ways. Cats are pretty intelligent, my Ruby figured out how to open a door within a week of living with us.

With three legs, half a tail and shaved patches, I’ll admit he’s an odd looking cat.

If you look a little deeper, there are a number of links to cats and death throughout the past, for example in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians mummified cats regularly, worshipped cat headed deities and used them in their art. It’s well known they were definitely cat people, holding them in high regard. Through the UK, cats have often been part of superstitions around death, this is explored at thegreatcat.org and seem to mainly concern the cat either having influenced or indicating whether the dead person had gone to heaven or hell. Cats have been revered or hated in many different ways in the way no other animal seems to be. Makes me think of witches with black cats as familiars too, especially at this time of year!

Black cats in particular have always been considered unlucky at least, if not a harbinger of death and doom. Black cats play a large part in the superstitions that surround death, like one jumping over a dead body would make it a vampire, or encountering a black cat at a funeral meant another death was imminent. I wish I could say this was not present in a modern and rational world but our poor Ruby really struggled to find a home after she lost her leg and most of her kittens to a dog. It’s felt people definitely thought she was an unlucky little one to have around. A comprehensive list of folklore and superstitions can be found here.

Unlucky to some extent but lucky to be alive! Ignore the evil look in her eyes…

You may think I wrote this post just to share photos of my cats and you may well be about 40% correct but I’m sure some of you don’t mind that at all. Apologies to all the dog people out there, but all I can say is why not both? I like dogs too, just cats a little bit more. I can certainly appreciate a lovely dog, or a basket full of puppies like I saw on Monday at the vets. However it just shows, cats and death go paw in hand so it’s not so weird to write my blog while sat with my cats around me. More death topics and an update on my week to come over the weekend!

MG x

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑