Tag Archives: Hospitals

Thank you


Yes. Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes, love and concern for me yesterday, as I fought another day in what I referred to as my ‘ ear war’ or in the long lonely months since July, struggling to swallow, clear my air passages, or hear and indeed to be heard. I am sure all the staff at my local health centre might have referred to me as their local ‘headcase’ when they saw me coming or heard my voice on the phone.

I must pay special tribute to my new neighbours, who, when I went to ask them to keep a watchful eye on my house, if I was admitted to the hospital ward, insisted on driving me over to the hospital. Robert even wanted to carry my overnight bag and sit and wait with me until I was seen.  Sandra came to collect me when I was finished for the day and released. She told me that Robert had tears in his eyes when he came home, having left me all alone at the door of the hospital, to fend for myself.

Your love and concern helped me as I played the waiting game between doctors and Consultants yesterday. The online bantering certainly helped.

Arvind, all the way over in Bengaluru/Bangalore, India, told me to “Cheer up. Relax. Uncross all the fingers, toes and whatever…”. They were just the words I needed to put my problem into perspective.

My loss of perspective came to a head last week, the antibiotics were increased to the highest level that could be safely given as an outpatient. My ‘Urgent’ ENT appointment had a SIX Month waiting list… For five days I was unable to get out of my pjs, except to wash down as far as possible, up as far as possible and… not forget ‘possible’!

My hobby of crochet & knitting evaporated, there were days when I awoke in the chair with the needles still in my hand, and nothing to show for it. I was sleeping for 80% of my days. Over four of those days I did not hear a living voice, I had no desire to hear a voice or need to make a reply. Over the past months those who did phone, were concerned about me, The questions were all the same, I was sounding like a broken record repeating and repeating the same words, hearing no news from outside my four walls. My problems grew to fill my space. Boring bigtime.

Back to yesterday,

On my way home from my GP to pick up my overnight bag, which is always packed, I met a friend on the street. We greeted each other with the usual genuine warm smiles, this time we were both wearing our ‘street faces’. She asked how I was, my reply was “Don’t ask! I have been with my GP and am now on my way to A&E, so hopefully next I see you, I will have some news”. I followed up with “No need to worry, I am not pregnant!”.

Asking how she was, I learned that she was just home from England and a visit to her mother. Her brother died… it came slowly… He was missing for three days before his body was found. I asked no questions, I still have all my siblings, so had no idea of how she was feeling inside, but I could empathise with her.


My problems were minuscule!

PS: This is not a pity me post. It is yet another example of perspective. Stay at home and the problem grows to fill your space. Go outside and you soon learn that others carry a far heavier burden.

Never neglect a Fall

On a Wednesday morning I take an elderly friend out for coffee. We have an outing, our coffee, a walk or some retail therapy and often a chat with people we meet along our travels. My friend really looks forward to these days out, she never knows which direction we will take and loves to see the countryside from the passenger seat.

On Wednesday 20 January, I was preparing to go and collect my friend when my phone started to buzz.  My friend was all apologetic, she would not be able to come out to play as she had fallen. Throwing my emergency bag into the boot/trunk of my car I went down to her house. She had fallen outdoors and landed on her right side, she was sure the pain was muscular. Taking one look at her trying to walk I was not inclined to agree. She was really uncomfortable and obviously in pain.

I suggested we go to the hospital and have it checked. I let that idea sink in.

Next I reminded her that since it was her right side that was sore, she would have to sit in the back of my car behind me (we drive on the left and the steering wheel is on the right). Taking it gently, I broached the subject that it might be a little more than muscular and getting into the back of the car might cause more injury. I let that sink in.

Then I said that if we went in my car, she would be considered a walk-in patient, having to go through triage and then perhaps sit for several hours on an upright hard chair with others falling over us (I paint a good word picture!). I let that sink in.

Finally I dropped the bombshell:

“You have worked all your life in nursing, given your all to the health service, now it is time for a little pay back. I think we should call an ambulance. Those guys will know how to move you without causing more pain, and they will wheel you straight through, avoiding the triage and hanging about for hours,”  I let that sink in.

“Maybe you are right, it is really very painful” she admitted, handing me the phone.

So thus began a journey through three hospitals and a hip replacement. I am not her next of kin, but she made sure my name and contact number were added as the ‘person to contact’ in each of the hospitals.

I have never visited so many hospitals in such a short time before, but I felt I had a responsibility since I was the person who insisted, even if gently, that we go in the first place.

She returned home yesterday afternoon, tired, but glad to be in her own little palace and looking forward to sleeping in her own bed. I settled her in, we had a cup of coffee (well it was Wednesday!) and I offered to bring down some dinner. She is a very determined lady and said she wanted to see how she could manage on her own, but would I go through her freezer with her, and help pick out something she could manage for her meal. I did.

Carers were due to call in later in the day, so she was happy to let me go.

I will go down tomorrow with some fruit and fresh veg and see how she got on overnight.

Over the weeks my friend kept repeating that she would never be able to repay me for all my kindness.

My answer was:

In life we cross paths with so many people, some we can help in some way, while others might do us a favour. It is not always possible to return the favours… but we can pay them forward. I am paying forward for all the favours I have received over time and need no thanks.

Doing a favour for someone does not mean they must pay you back for the remainder of their lives. A simple thanks is enough.

Never neglect a Fall.

Never try to jump up immediately after you fall, to hell with embarrassment, you could do more damage that way.

I am a lady in waiting…


No. I am not pregnant, or sitting at the window waiting for my ‘Date’ to arrive. I am actually keeping myself busy preparing for vitrectomy eye surgery at the end of the month.

Once I make a decision to go ahead with a particular surgery, I then work out what I need to make the recovery period as easy as possible. Six years ago, I was booked in for hip surgery (can you believe it was that long ago?) and prepared myself for every eventuality. It was worth it. I was totally on my own pins and independent after six weeks. All due thanks to Elly, George and a few friends.

Nurse Hitler Elly will don her matron’s cap once more and move back in with me to nag me back to normality care and help me through the awkward few days while posturing – head down for 55 minutes in every hour. Hopefully the posturing will not last more than a week, but I accept it might be longer. I have been told that “The vitrectomy patient’s daily routine will be much more manageable with the help of friends and family members”. Do I need to hide my camera?

Bathing should be fun. Would I find it easier to take a bath rather than a shower while keeping my head down? Next week, I’ll move the soap, shampoo and any other bathroom necessities to a low spot where they will be easily reachable. How soon can I wash my hair? I hate unwashed hair, but they (whoever ‘They’ are) say that if you leave hair long enough unwashed, the natural oils do the cleaning for you. I am not anxious to try that one for size!

My usual trousers with buttons and zips are not recommended or any clothing that needs to be pulled over my head. The jumpers and tops can all be washed and put away for the duration.

I have been shopping. I now possess a couple of pairs of trousers with elasticated waist bands and a couple of button through cardigans. I already had two button up shirts and I purchased a couple of night shirts, if I am cold, then my pyjama bottoms will pull on easily. Hell, I’ll have a great excuse for hanging about in a bath robe OR to join the world of the ONSIES!

All day facing floorward, might not help my back, I wonder if I pretend to be Buffy and go around on all fours, will it help or just confuse Elly? I have no wish to be fed dry doggie food or to lick my fluids out of a bowl. Woof! Woof!

I am told that swallowing will be easier if bending more from the waist than from the neck. All drinking should be done through a straw. Do they make straws suitable for hot drinks? If so, I have not found them yet…. I need to do some more research. If I drink more than two sips of cold water, my body goes cold from the inside and I stop. Give me boiled water and I will drink it by the bucket full. What a picture: me drinking with a bendy straw from a bucket!

The sleeping schedule has been tried. Sleeping face down will take a little getting used to. I have a V shaped pillow and I already made a start to get my body used to that idea. I managed one hours sleep face down on Wednesday. I hoped to increase by an hour each night and maybe by the time I go to surgery, my body will be comfortable with sleeping face down. Thursday night I managed to remain face downward all night but my back played merry hell most of Friday. Friday night was a total wash-out and I never slept at all. As Fagin sang: I think I need to think it out again! Mind you Elly tells me she has gone ahead and rented a Face Down Sleep Support. It is due to arrive a couple of days before I go to the hospital, so I’ll have a chance to practise with it.

I have a long low coffee table that will be useful for setting my food tray, drinks, tissues et cetera on. The leaflet given to me suggests ‘The patient may prefer softer foods which are easier to swallow’. That reminds me of a guy who had his jaw wired following an accident. He was a fan of McDonald’s – I am not. He bought his Big Mac and a Coke and brought them home, put everything in the blender and had his meal through a straw!

The actual operation will take place in day surgery under a local anaesthetic. Just like my previous cataract surgery on both my eyes, I will be wheeled into theatre in day clothes and the whole procedure will last about an hour while I am awake. It is most lightly that I will stay over-night in the hospital. I suppose that will depend on how things go on the day.

Now what more do I need… Plenty of tissues, straws and more meals for the freezer and a few wee treats for matron.

Nearly ready.