Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Hospital Ducks

New arrivals at the local hospital
Tuesday was mostly spent at the hospital where, not only new babies are born, but a clutch of 8 ducklings as well!

It was sad to see that their regular pond had been drained. I overheard many other visitors expressing their displeasure at the dry pond and removal of the water features that had existed for decades as a welcome break from the hospital's sterile indoor environment.

The water feature is not being cleaned, renovated or repaired, no! Some 'bean counter' has decided that it is too dangerous to have a water feature (or perhaps too expensive to insure) because of the risk that a small child might drown.*

In all the years of visiting this hospital, I am yet to learn of anyone, child or adult, who has ever fallen in or come to grief in the water features.  I think this recent decision to drain the pond is another example of a world gone mad.

Who leaves a toddler running around on their own in a hospital anyway?  This area is not a play area, just an internal courtyard, a place to sit and contemplate. There are large rocks around each water area. One would need to try hard to fall in.

These ducks have made their home in and around the hospital for generations and I feel for this poor mother duck whose nest is nearby but now has nowhere for her ducklings to swim or forage.

Also, as a former patient, I know first hand how therapeutic it is to get out of a hospital room for a short time; hear running water, observe the goldfish, turtles, ducks and other birds while enjoying lush greenery.  It seems to me that the health benefits of the water features outweigh the risks of drowning.

The ducks are coming up with their own solutions. Earlier this year the ducks caused quite a commotion in a corridor adjacent to the courtyard.  Mother duck had led her family through the front automatic doors at the main entrance, and waddled through the building to reach the courtyard!  A flurry of hospital volunteers kept onlookers at a safe distance to ensure the passage of the duck family.

Events such as these bring a smile to people's faces, hope and a diversion from the drudgery of being stuck in hospital.

I like ducks as you can see from my post "Quack!".  I will look for some crocheted duck patterns and collate them at the end of this blog entry.

If you are a regular Lupey Loops reader or if you visit my Ravelry pages, you will know that I have been making "Secret Baby Items".  A new baby was not the reason for my hospital visit. Sorry to disappoint.

This time it was for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments.

They couldn't come soon enough because the days were becoming increasingly difficult and painful; especially on Tuesday morning when it was hard to move because all my joints were stiff.  My shoulders and elbows were causing particular trouble. Like old dry hinges that had seized, how it hurt to prise my creaky joints into motion.

It is not surprising.  I had been without physiotherapy for two months!  That's 5 weeks too long in my book. As mentioned in my post about taking care of oneself, it is important to be in the best shape possible in order to cope with chronic illness, and part of this, for me, is physiotherapy at regular intervals.

Unfortunately, last month's treatment was cancelled and rescheduled due to an urgent medical appointment. The only appointment available at such short notice clashed with both physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments.

I was very frustrated because 4 weeks had already passed since the previous treatment and I had missed some hydro sessions due to ill health too.

Leave too long in between treatments and it takes a lot more work to regain mobility and I was already feeling it at this point.

Even more frustratingly, the physiotherapy clinic was so heavily booked that the next available appointment was 4 weeks later.  Normally, I need physiotherapy every 4–5 weeks to avoid the joints and muscles locking up due to inflammation. By Tuesday, it had been 8 weeks.

My back was in spasm and my neck was causing trouble and migraines.   Apparently, it is typical for Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) to affect the spine around the hip and shoulder areas like it does for me.

It is very frustrating to be doing everything I can to maintain mobility with exercise etc. and yet the body still flares up despite my best efforts.  I am told that's just part of MCTD and what it does which is why regular physiotherapy is necessary.

The morning physiotherapy treatment was brutal but effective (and not as excruciating as 1 October last year ("Nerves of Steel").  Then hydrotherapy in the early afternoon allowed me to continue on from where the physio left off. It was so good to be able to move again. What a change from the morning. Who would guess I could go from one extreme to the other in one day?

Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are definitely worthwhile!

These three ducks demonstrate the benefits of hydrotherapy!
("Teeny Ducks on a Pond")

I used the time between treatments to eat and rest. The hospital gave me a good block of time to crochet some of those "Secret Baby Items" without the call of housework, and I enjoyed observing the delightful duck family.

After hydrotherapy, I went to the hospital café with a friend to celebrate feeling good.

A bad beginning to the day can turn into a happy ending.


Theiss, Nola, "Duck and Ducklings" (crochet pattern),  Crocheted Gifts in a Weekend: 70 quick & lively projects to make, Sterling Publishing Co. Ltd., New York, 1995

Hirst, Catherine, "Teeny Ducks on a Pond" (crochet pattern), Teeny Tiny Crochet: 35 adorably small projects, Cico Books, an imprint of Ryland Peters & Small, London, UK, 2012, <>

Lupey Loops, "Quack!" (blog entry), 6 March 2014:

Ravelry: I have searched for duck patterns on your behalf!

Related Posts

I don't mind "ducking in" to the hospital
as long as I can "duck out" again!


An article in the local newspaper "Pond Drained Over Safety" (10 September 2014) states that the pond "has been drained and might not be refilled due to safety concerns."

The newspaper interviewed the Deputy Chief Operating Officer who refused to say what prompted concern. 

The article continues with a quote: "It was identified as a potential risk, similar to that of an unfenced swimming pool. Options to improve the safety of the courtyard are currently being explored," he said, but refused to say what the options were. The pond has been a home to turtles and ducks.

Post Scriptum 11 October 2014

I have received a response from the local Health Network Executive about the hospital courtyard and the ducks; blogged here:


  1. Hi Jodie, how are you doing? It was interesting to hear about your health treatments. Sorry to read about your pain! :( It can't be easy for you.
    Thanks for sharing your duck story, how silly that they let the water feature go! Somebody should find these ducks a new home...
    Anyway, hope you are managing ok!
    Love, Ingrid xx

    1. Hi Ingrid,
      I seem to be in the midst of a flare, but I am managing alright. Thanks for asking.
      A friend of mine who works close to the hospital tells me that there seem to be more ducks than usual at her employer's water feature; she thinks they have come across from the hospital. I wonder about the ducklings though - they look too young to be flying high enough to escape the courtyard. I sent an email to the hospital yesterday protesting about the drained pond and alerting them to the new arrivals.
      How are you going with your many projects? I don't know how you do it!
      All the best, Jodie xx

    2. Hi Jodie! I'm glad to hear you wrote that letter, they need to know what sort of impact their actions have!!! Poor ducks!!
      Something funny for you: where I used to live in England - in Stoke-on-Trent (often called 'The Potteries'), people usually call each other 'duck' as a term of endearment! Hello duck! How are you, duck? Thank you, duck! and so on... It always made me laugh. In the end I got so used to it, I even say it myself, sometimes!!! :)))
      It's because I tend to get bored easily and I have a constant flow of ideas that I want to start something new. Giving in to some shorter/smaller projects helps to contiue with the epic ones such as my blanket!
      This morning I wound up lots of yarn for the blanket but so far have not done any crochet yet. However, I started knitting, hehehe! (Yesterday I finished a crochet cushion cover which took me 5 days). Writing a blog makes me realize that WIPs need to be finished! People want to see something finished - and so do I.
      I hope you'll feel better soon! And remember to do things at YOUR pace. Everybody is different!
      Ingrid xx

    3. Thank you, Duck! ;-) :-P :-) hehehe

      That's cute. I love regional differences like this. Every place has its unique cultural aspects.

      How are the arms after all that yarn winding? That's a physical workout in itself - perhaps a form of physiotherapy crochet-style! hehe

      I am feeling better today after less physical activity and more restful sedentary activities like catching up on everybody's blogs! It is great that your blog helps your motivation to finishe projects. I would never have guessed that as a side benefit of blogging.

      I can understand how you can get bored with just one project. It is nice to have more than one project to satisfy our varying crochet/knit moods.

      If I have more than one project on the go, they will usually contrast in some way; e.g. one large and a few small like yours above; or something simple, 'mindless', repetitive, meditative against something that needs concentration; or small hooks with fine thread/lace and larger hooks with DK or Aran yarn.

      Cushions and cushion covers are very useful and so easy to make and yet so expensive in the shops! Cushions are very worthwhile projects.

      Keep up the good work, Ingrid :-)
      Hugs to you

  2. Hope you are feeling better today!! My joints are a bit off today, too. Sighs.

    Hope they will put water into the pond again! Poor ducks!!

    1. Hi Anne, after two days of being in a fog and barely able to function, I woke up much better today and caught up with a lot of household chores and errands. I was supposed to have hydrotherapy today but my skin was flaring up so I stayed away to avoid the pool chlorine. I cannot tell you the current state of affairs with the duck pond since I haven't been to the hospital since writing this blog entry. Not to worry, I will be back there in a few days' time to find out.

      I hope your joints settle down. A change of seasons always seems to bring on aches and pains. Take care,

      Hugs, Jodie xxx