Sunday, 22 March 2015
Carry On Screaming
It started when I went downstairs on Friday morning to find 'er in doors, awake, dressed but decidedly in pain. She'd been up since 1 am awoken by a severe stabbing pain in her stomach. She didn't look well.
I insisted that she phone the doctor: pain like that wasn't normal. She did: they offered her two slots late morning or late afternoon. As she had a meeting with a client she chose the late afternoon slot.
I drove her to her meeting as she had difficulty walking. After the meeting she came home; extremely pale, finding it difficult to keep awake and extremely cold. It took the doctor ten minutes to write a letter and we sped to our local A&E. She was fast tracked and before we knew it two surgeons in Ghostbuster suits were prodding her here,there and everywhere. Off to X ray and zapped, at about 21:00 hrs, into the Acute Admission Unit 1 (AAU1) where she was placed on a drip (he didn't mind) and tucked in with the dreaded "Nil by Mouth" logo above her bed.
I cannot speak too highly of Whipps Cross A&E. It's as if they'd been on the same customer service course as Virgin-Atlantic first class stewards. At every stage of the process, the staff introduced themselves, said what was going to happen next and were just so friendly. The same in the AAU1, she was greeted like a first class passenger on the Titanic: but nothing was to pass her lips. Why?because she was down for a CAT scan in the morning.
The missus didn't sleep that well on the first night, being woken up every two hours for a blood pressure reading. Before leaving her on Friday night I'd drawn up a list of items she'd asked me to bring in the following day. I asked Pickfords for a quote. The list grew as I was texted from her hospital bed.
The list of duties meant that I didn't get to the hospital, with the MAERSK container in tow and the missus's sister, until early afternoon on Saturday.
She was still "nil by mouth" and tearing at the sheets and sucking the moisture out of her toe nails. They hadn't done the scan and this was early afternoon. But the ward was lovely, the nurses caring and attentive. It's just they had no idea what was going on. We chatted, filled in the "How do you rate us " cards and left expecting to hear from my wife later on that she'd had her scan.
A couple of hours later I called her on the mobile. No reply. I called her again half an hour later. Her sister phoned; she'd heard nothing. She must be in the scanner, they've had to operate urgently, the call's been diverted to the morgue!
I phoned the hospital. I hung on for 10 minutes before the switchboard clicked in. I was on the phone for another 10 minutes as the poor operator tried to contact the ward. Had they been all abducted by aliens? Had one of Jeremy Hunt's cuts happened there and then? I finally got thro' to AAU2; they'd take a message and get AAU1 to phone me.
An hour later I again phoned the hospital. Got thro' to the switch board straight away and to the correct ward. I explained my concern - you'd all been abducted - the nice nurse explained that my wife had been asleep and no she hadn't had her scan or anything else. He'd get her to call me when she woke up.
An hour later, I called my wife. She answered. Her mobile's battery was low so to save power she'd turned it off! I'd taken in the f***ing charger so that wouldn't happen!!! No, she hadn't been scanned and she was still on "nil by mouth"
Received a text at about 10 pm saying she'd been given two slabs of mush in between was sandwiched a slightly harder piece of mush. The only food in more than 24 hrs.
Early Sunday morning the missus texted me. She'd been moved from AAU1 at 1 am in the morning to a surgical ward. It was like being down graded from First Class to Ryan Air. She was back on "nil by mouth".
I went in to see her at lunch time, but because it was lunch time I and her sister could only stay 5 minutes. Loads of lovely ladies in the ward. All pissed off with everything about the NHS experience. The Sunday lunch smelled and looked fine, except, I was told, it was cold and tasteless. They were bored witless. I asked if they had wi-fi. There is wi-fi but it's not for the patients (University College hospital has free wi-fi). To watch the telly costs you a tenner. You couldn't do this or that. You couldn't have your kids in! It was like the good old days without Hattie Jacques as matron.
The missus was still "nil by mouth". No indication of when she might have the scan. Why the f*** not. Why the secrecy? No one knew. So you figure they don't know because they don't know what the hell is going on. The missus was fuming. She'd lost 2 stone and missed at least four hearty meals, not to mention a glass of wine or two.
They were worried about her blood pressure: but not because it was high, it was too low. She had a head ache and was told that was because she was on a saline drip and on "nil by mouth"!
Finally, finally this afternoon she had the scan, Because one of the nurses pestered and pestered. Then like God descending from the clouds a surgeon appeared. Nothing was showing up on the scan, and subject to the results of the blood test taken more than 48 hours ago she can go home tomorrow.
The hospital is Whipps Cross which is under special measures. I can't believe it's the nursing or even the medical staff, although I think doctors are arses, that's the problem. It's the politicians who really would love the NHS to just go away. They don't see it as a brilliant humanitarian achievement, but a problem. They may say how much they love it but that's crass two faced Hippocratic humbug.
I'm cleaning up the house for the missus' return and have told the cats that things are likely to be less loose when she steps through the door.