11 Feb 2016
Arriving at eye casualty at 2.30pm is really not a good move. But I had to be smart this time. I had been home, showered, got cash, eaten, packed a bag, changed, charged, my phone, picked up my tablets, put petrol in the car and fed the cat. I was set baby. Mmhmm. So when they told me that appointments were running approximately three hours behind schedule I just smiled and pulled out my book. When the triage nurse told me that if wasn’t get seen by 5.30pm I would be in for a really long wait because only one doctor would be on call, I just smiled and said “I’ll wait”. As it happens I was seen at 5.20pm and after the same routine as before – plus an exceptionally thorough testing of my retinas under pressure and of the intra ocular pressures – I was once again sent to the MDU.
Lovely Nurse Priscilla and her colleague prepared me again by sticking on those electrode thingummys and stealing my blood and soon after that I met with a doctor. Dr A said I would need to get a CT VENOGRAM, a tune of scan where they inject you with a contrast dye which helps the radiographer see the blood vessels more clearly. Optimistically Dr A set me up with a dangly cannula – difficult given my teeny veins – so respect to him for not hurting me! Then I met registrar (and hottie) Mike, who confirmed this plan and offered me the option to go home. Aha! We have been here before haven’t we friends? The old ‘come back tomorrow’ routine. I had to explain that whilst I felt well enough to leave I did not trust that I would be called back ‘urgently’ as I was still waiting for my scan from the previous attendance. When I mentioned this he did say “Oh yes your records show that you failed to attend for that scan”. Erm WHAT? No wait WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?! I failed to attend what exactly? Now I was reaaally pissed off. So I was staying in and that was that.
A ‘bed shortage’ seems to have hit lots of hospitals in the UK recently. I understand this to mean that hospitals have experienced a higher than usual number of inpatients or that they lack the staff to get beds cleaned and ready for new patients fast enough to meet the demand. I assume that the beds themselves are not in short supply. But I could be wrong. The point of this ramble is that the first night I spent in hospital was actually on the MDU which is not technically a ward, but an emergency clinic-slash-waiting area for non urgent patients who are waiting for admission. The only other time I spent the night in hospital was when I had my tonsils out about 12 years ago. I can’t complain too much about this set up. I have my jammies and my book and have been able to let my husband know what’s up.
I’m warm enough and I’m tired so I think I might sleep but ahahahHAHA no. In the MDU tonight we have a couple of quiet ladies and a couple of chatty ladies. One very chatty and needy older lady who had no volume control and one poor girl who coughed violently all night. And someone who shored even louder than me, despite sleeping with an oxygen mask on.
In the morning I was loath to open my curtains but nurses and care assistants must be taught (like the matrons from old Carry On films) don’t let patients loaf around in bed all day, wake those mofos UP! It matters not that they have nowhere to go, just wake them up and start feeding them. So, over coffee and cereal I got aquainted with the other ladies on the ward. I regret my terrible memory for names and I’ll be honest and say the names only stuck with me for about an hour but for dramatic purposes I will name them again. Aggie, aged 50, was the snorer next to me. She had been collapsing and had skme problem with her heart, she had been on oxygen for the last two days as she was struggling to breathe, but she seemed very optimistic that she would be going home soon. Jenny in the bed opposite was the sweet young girl, with a violent hacking cough which hurt to hear it. Jenny told she had pneumonia! And though she had already been in hospital for 4 days, they had not yet found a permanent wars for her and she was expecting to stay for at least another week. A week! Hell I couldn’t imagine how bored and tired I would be. Next to Jenny was Maxine and she had a number of things going on severe allergic reactions, anxiety, chest pains, problems breathing, possible infectious diseases. I was just thinking don’t touch me, don’t touch me…Finally there was the older lady on the end, Doris, who had taken a spill it seems, possibly had a seizure and struggled to get mobile at all.
Just as I was settling in to my new surroundings some porters arrived and told us we were moving. I was glad because not sleeping and then making polite small talk had made my head sore. In truth we moved about 20 feet down the corridor to the next bay. One of the nurses – a cute little thing with dyed red hair and tattoos- had taken a shine to me, recognising a kindred spirit by my Adventure Time t-shirt and stretched earlobes. She whispered that I could have a private room if I wanted. “Yes please!” says me, thinking sleeeeeep! Perhaps others might have thought it a little rude to choose then private room rather than joining my new comrades on the ward. The thought did cross my mind, but to be honest I find small talk exhausting and I love the quiet. The 8 minutes sleep I had the previous night was just not cutting it.
Sadly I was then moved – after Dan came to see me, to Ward 12 which is basically a random ward. I imagine you would get all sorts of every thing on there, broken bones, scrapes, diseases, accidents, gastro problems, flu, the lady next to me seemed to be almost comatose. It was a crazy place and I didn’t like it at all. (I am aware I sound like a brat, maybe I am, but I was tried and vulnerable and fairly grouchy). The head nurse attempted to introduce herself three times before running off, instead a trainee nurse asked me for a urine sample and a nasal swab. I responded over cheerfully, but pushed the sample cup to the edge of my side table outmof sight. Eventually I got down to messing around with my tv and eating a massive plate of fish and chips. I know Mr L wasn’t supposed to be there at meal times and I was very conscious of his presence but so didn’t want him to leave me there alone! It just seemed like chaos.
Thankfully and porters showed up again and I loaded all my baggage on the wheely chair and got speeded off to the Neurology Ward where, HALLELUJAH, I was given another private room. Although I wasn’t allowed to turn off all the lights in my room, that night, helped by codeine, I slept like a baby.