Love Lane Lives

The history of sugar in Liverpool and the effects of the closure of the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery, Love Lane

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From Catastrophic Cerebral Bleed to Covid 19: Gail and Ron and Love Lane Lives live on.

Written by Ron Noon at 16:37 on Thursday, May 07th 2020

THIS IS A BLOG DEDICATED TO MY DARLING WIFE GAIL who despite the gloomy prognosis of 5 years back is still alive and fighting. Viva my darling Gail.

This is what I wrote five years after the GENERAL ELECTION DAY May 7th 2015. It was not easy:

When I reflect back on the last five years of being my wife’s patient carer, one incontrovertible, inspiring fact drives me on, the sheer tenacity and determination of my darling Gail, mother of our Matty, Luke, Ben and Jessica and grandmother of our eight grandbairns, to LIVE! I know that Gail force better than anyone and why she will eventually get back to where she once belonged, the Noon family home in Allerton. In all of the time she has been away from Greenwood Road, a half decade that could be labelled “from catastrophic cerebral bleed to Covid 19” her indomitable fighting spirit has transcended adversity and near death situations! Catastrophic does not require elaboration and the totally random incredibly cruel stroke that hit Gail in our lovely home on the night of April 7th 2015 threatened to send her into oblivion. That stark prospect was what was relayed to one of our sons as I clung on desperately to hope, not knowing that the initial prognosis was dire. Luke was told his mum was unlikely to get through the night.

My gorgeous Gail our family jibber jabber does not speak. Imagine experiencing an intensely personal trauma and not being able to speak about it! My Gail was an infectiously entertaining conversationalist and then a wickedly cruel stroke deprived her of that capacity to talk, to express her thoughts and feelings in words! To me that’s “locked in” in a very scary diving bell reality that could so easily kill spirit and body. The brain baffles even the most sophisticated of neurologists as I have discovered in my speaking role as Gail’s patient carer over the last five years. I’ve been her non-verbal communications “translator”, Gail’s everyday reminder of whats going on in the family and in the lives of our dear friends. Visiting her every day, showing videos, pictures, cards, letters, playing our favourite songs and music and even reading Jane Austen novels and playing the Archers for Gail, was matched with a pragmatic determination to keep up and persevere with building links with the Walton Centre in Aintree about Gail’s “rehab potential”. We very nearly lost our Gail five years ago but she’s still “keepin’ on keepin’ on” so that’s why we continue to fight for THE FORCE, our family lodestar.

The recurring question making me feel nauseous on many occasions was pedantically posed throughout this trauma. From the Liverpool Royal’s Intensive care Unit, then High Dependency Unit, then the Walton Centre, an internationally acclaimed Centre of Excellence for Neuroscience out at Aintree, the constant refrain was “is this as good as it’s going to get”? Nah! Our Gail continued to baffle the gloomsters despite or maybe because of that much repeated question. I am convinced that is why with intense efforts to keep Planet Hope and Planet Reality in alignment, the eventual outcome was better than “this is as good as it’s going to get”. In April of last year the Walton Centre and Lipton ward came up trumps. Gail began a process of “decanulation” three years after a doctor had said to me that he feared that as long as she lived she would have a “traccy”. My Gail proved that she was not going to act out that role, not going to accept that fate. Towards the end of last year her tracheostomy was removed qualifying her to move away from an historic hospice in Crosby which specialised in palliative care to the more stimulating environment of a residential home close to our family home in South Liverpool.

My Gail is no more than a mile away but her residential home which proved to be far better than I ever could have hoped in terms of stimulus, loving care workers and walks in the nearby Clarke Gardens, has been locked down for two months. I can remember vividly walking Gail around Clarke Gardens, taking her into the Pub in The Park then returning to the Kingswood Manor on Wednesday 11th March. The decision had been made to lockdown and it was achingly agonising to grasp that when I left Gail that night I would not be able to do what had become the norm of just popping into the manor anytime I wanted. Not having to drive through to Crosby, sometimes indeed leaving the car in the road and walking a mile to KM was an enormous boost. We were making such progress and always reflection on when the summer came I could walk her back to our family home. LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE BUSY MAKING OTHER PLANS.

Catastrophic cerebral bleed to Covid 19 is not just a label. It’s a massive challenge for my Gail and I, an even more important spur to keepin’ on keepin’ on. The aching agony of not being able to see feel or touch the one you love is the experience of so many other people like me. I’m not alone. It’s really painful. “We” in this sense are all in it together especially when you ache waiting for the face time video or phone call. That said when at 8pm tonight I opened our front door to join in with the other residents in our road to clap our heroes in the NHS I was much more alert and mindful of other key workers in what has bee very much a “subaltern sector” of social care and residential homes. The wonderful carers who suffer low pay, zero hour contracts and YET consistently and bravely go far beyond their “job definitions” and contract terms, deserve so much more than claps. Hypocritical and duplicitous government ministers sound FLATULENT after 10 years of implementing cuts and austerity measures. They have also deliberately emasculated the local authorities who have not got the resources to match and fund their knowledge of what is needed “locally”. Tory Government sound bite representations are at variance with the realities we live and experience. Ideologically inspired austerity and slashing of NHS resources has proved disastrous and the result has been a generalised unpreparedness for the magnitude of a pandemic that far transcends Flu.

So once again, Viva the NHS and the Social Care Sector and lets ensure that our heartfelt claps every Thursday at 8pm translate into more than another five years of insidious cuts and privatisations.

In 1945 A people’s war demanded a people’s peace and the building of that jewel in the crown of the Welfare State, the National Health Service in 1948.

So whether it is VE day 75 years ago or now in the era of Covid 19, there ought not to be a return to BUSINESS AS USUAL. To quote Andy Burhham the Manchester Metropolitan mayor we have to BUILD BACK BETTER. My Gail deserves nothing better.

So this is what I wrote FIVE YEARS AGO:


Vote for my Gail and the defence of the NHS

Written by Ron Noon at 05:55 on Thursday, May 07th 2015

“Homes, health education and social security, these are your birthright.” Nye Bevin.

There’s a myriad of issues that influence how we vote but as I stood in the Polling Station at Booker Avenue Junior School, there was decidedly only one, containing three logo letters that have been systematically and insidiously abused by this shameless ConDem Government. They symbolise our once universal public healthcare system, the NHS. It is that same NHS and it’s Liverpool Royal Hospital Intensive Care Unit with it’s wonderful doctors, nurses, cleaners and carers that has kept my beloved wife Gail alive this last month and given my family and friends some hope that she will eventually pull through from the totally random but potentially fatal stroke she suffered on the evening of April 7th.

All my teaching, all the public history research, all the sugar blogs and involvement with the boys and girls from the whitestuff, has been supported and lovingly encouraged by my Gail and our four wonderful children, Matthew, Luke, Ben and Jessica. It is only now that Gail is stable in the High Dependency Unit and after brilliant caring nurses have “dictated” that my visits are restricted to “official” visiting times, (ending my overnight stopovers with Gail) that I can write these words down. I hope that these little black markers on the screen convey some of the passion that my family feel for protecting an NHS that ought to remain as an example to the world, and cease to be threatened by the despicable privatised dreams of Lynton Crosby and his Tory party privateers.

Gail’s dad’s generation would ask “is this what we fought the war for” to see the jewel in the crown of the People’s Peace settlement, the National Health Service that cares for all citizens, when needed, free of charge, funded by taxes and national insurance, run like a supermarket after being invaded by for-profit corporations? Are those three wonderful letters, NHS to be reduced to a badge on Jeremy Hunt’s lapel? Small wonder that the aggressively acerbic playwright Dennis Potter declared after calling his cancer Rupert, (no friend of the owner of the SUN) that the trouble with words and letters is that you don’t always know whose mouths they’ve been in before!

NHS in the mouths of the Tories and Lynton Crosby that so called master of the political dark arts,  the man behind the efforts to get this contemptible Government re-elected today, are merely modulations of sound that convey no meaning, no significant reality, NO HOPE. I’m sorry my Gail, but these privateers are farting through the wrong orifice, and that is why I theatrically asked at the Polling Station a couple of hours back whether I could register a proxy vote for you today? I did not elaborate about the fact that you are fighting for recovery in the High Dependency Unit in the Royal but I just wanted to say it was only because you were ill that you were not there with me. I knew when the young teller called his supervisor that it was patently not possible but I wanted an official response so that I could declare that my vote was always for you anyway. It would be a shared vote, like our shared lives, for the NHS that only Labour can defend from the venal Tory “souls” who only ever worship mammon.

Viva my Gail. Viva the NHS. Viva our friends and family on the BOYS AND GIRLS FROM THE WHITESTUFF site.

Vote for my Gail and the defence of the NHS.

REAL TIME IS 13.10 hrs

Visiting time starts 1400 hrs. I’ll tell Gail about this when I get into the Royal. We’ve got to talk and stimulate her back to full recovery. Labour represents decency and the protection of what she and I cherish, a just and fair society.