So I've had a lot of time to stare out the window from my room here at Barts. From my view on the 5th floor I can see the mad mix of buildings which make up this hospital, some mediaeval some still being built. I can see the rooftop which Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott faced off on in Sherlock. This hospital has a unique vibe that I haven't encountered anywhere else which makes you love it and loath it in equal measure.
The place was founded almost 900 years ago by a dude called Rahere in 1123. He'd been off to Rome and had a vision of St Bartholomew, and thought that a hospital for the poor in London would be a good idea. He found a spot next to the notorious Smithfield Elms where William 'Braveheart' Wallace will be excuted in 1305. In 1546 everyone's favourite wife murdering, religion making, feast gobling Tudor Henry VIII reformed the hospital under petition and made it self sufficient with lands and income. Next in the Barts timeline is 1567 where the first physician was appointed, a Portuguese Dr Rodrigo Lopez. This place ran for 400 years without a doctor! See even in the middle ages Jeremy Hunt we needed skilled migrant workers!
For most of the 1700's the hospital was rebuilt following designs by James Gibbs and this is what you can see if you stand in the courtyard today. Although my favourite feature the fountain wasn't added until 1859. The brilliant William Hogarth painted the grand staircase leading to the great hall in the north wing in 1734. They depict the Good Samaritan and Christ and the pool in Bethesda. Other notable dates along our potted history include 1881 where Barts appointed matron Ethel Gordon Manson who went on to be Britain's first state registered nurse. It's 1937 before cancer gets a look in with the UK's first mega watt radiotherapy machine. Also the remains of the Elephant Man John Merrick are kept at Barts as part of the pathology museum.
Racing up to date the new hospital building I'm in was started in 2008 and the cancer centre opened in 2010. More building work goes on all around to replace the creaking old buildings like the one I had my surgery in ( which boasted gaffer tape to seal the windows). The inside of the king George V wing looks like a hub airport now. Everything is being pulled together under one roof now which is good. In my last stay I'd be transported for imaging along dark and scary underground tunnels. ( there's a whole network of them here).
So all that was to say its a mad as a box of bats this place but somehow works.
Last week I... Didn't sleep for 5 nights, didn't eat for 3 days, had vomiting, nausea, incontinence, diarrhoea, coughing fits, acid indigestion, mouth sores and general pissed offness. Currently I... Just want to go home.