Twice this year I’ve disappeared into emergency hospital admissions, causing some of my friends and followers online to worry.
This, then, is by way of a pre-emptive strike – advance notice that it might well happen again before long, as my GP expended some effort yesterday trying to convince me that I’d die** if I didn’t agree to be admitted pretty much immediately.
**In fact he was so certain, claiming that I would succumb to septicaemia in the very near future, and die, that I was almost convinced. With hindsight I probably am convinced. My father died of septicaemia, so I know how this is likely to go, and I’m not in any hurry to make this a family tradition.
That would have been worrying (tbh, it is), had it not been for the fact that no member of that GP practice has bothered to make a home visit when asked to by the District Staff Nurse. Not by me, mark you, but by someone whose professional opinion they felt they could simply ignore.
You’ll have to excuse me, then, if I see this latest move as an attempt to pass me, and my problems, on to someone else, in this case a hospital for which I have a deep-seated and entirely justifiable loathing. And fear – each time I’ve been admitted (a few days in 2011, 6 weeks earlier this year, and a week about a month ago), they haven’t failed to do me harm, both physical and mental.
The bay system also presents me with a very real danger – the damn places are little more than incubators for cross-infection, badly ventilated (either stifling or cold and draughty – no middle ground), and right now I seriously doubt my ability to survive unscathed physically.
And the food is shit. Nothing to do with the bays, simply a fact.
Last time I was stuck in one of these hell-holes, I wrote this:-
Corner People . . .
I have become a Corner Person.
One of us to each corner of a four-bedder.
Gasping for breath, sucking oxygen, hoovering up drugs.
Corner People – trying not to die . . .
There is, though, no getting away from the fact that, this morning, I feel terrible, but then I often do, and I’m trying very hard not to read anything sinister into it and, so far, failing. It could be – and I hope it is – simply due to the fact that I started taking Clarithromycin, an antibiotic, yesterday, and appear to be experiencing most of the common side effects.
That, or I actually am much worse than I was 24 hours ago. And there’s some fresh hell to deal with – the skin on my fingers is thickening and splitting, which is quite remarkably painful. I’ve had this before and it took years to get rid of it, using salicylic acid ointment to dissolve the thickened skin and a steroid cream to sooth the fresh skin underneath – which will also thicken and fissure in its turn for months
Anyway, I’m going to spend the weekend getting my hospital kit together, and hiding supplies of all my pain meds because you can’t rely on APH drug rounds to happen regularly, on time or – far too often – at all.
And back in April, they were in the habit of putting dementia patients in with the general population. This meant that nobody got any sleep because of old men screaming and raving through the night at people that only they could see.
I know dementia is a terrible thing, and the prospect terrifies me, but its victims simply should not be accommodated where they can impact so profoundly on people who, along with much else, need their rest. And if it happens again I’ll be back home just as soon as I can get dressed and grab a taxi!
And yes, we did complain, thanks for asking, and were repeatedly promised that they would be removed. Never happened.
In April, conditions there were so appalling that – with the benefit of hindsight – it’s clear that I was driven into a breakdown (about which I’ve written). That’s a risk I will not run next time. Because I won’t stay – just one disturbed night and I’m out of there.
No hope for wheelies.
One last gripe, and this is a biggie – the ground floor is mostly wheelie**-friendly, as long as you don’t stray beyond the lifts into a maze of corridors and massively heavy fire doors. Up on the wards and it gets worse very quickly.
**A wheelie is a wheelchair user.
The “Accessible” toilets are most certainly not, the huge, heavy doors being fitted with monstrously heavy closers, making them impossible to get into on wheels (pull the door, it remains immoveable as you roll forward), and, if you get help to get you in, it’s almost as hard to get out again (push the door and you go backwards). It would be easy enough with 4 arms but that, I understand, is something of a rarity
And all that assumes the toilets aren’t in use. Towards the end of my stay a bunch of elderly gay guys hogged them every evening, shagging each other cross-eyed (the logistics baffled me – how the hell did they all wind up on the same ward at the same time?). And then there was the sad, chronic, masturbator who thought no-one knew! Given the number of times I walked in on him – and others must have too – I’d have thought he’d realise that his secret was out pretty quickly, but apparently not.
And none of these guys actually had the brains god gave a gopher – the doors had Occupied/Vacant sliders on the outside, and locks on the inside. Did they ever use them? No.
Not to mention all the clutter around the place – nothing ever seems to get put away. And if several people got the urge for an impromptu meeting, as seems to happen everywhere in the multiverse, they’d pick the nearest bottleneck and completely obstruct it!
Nor are there any low-level bathroom fittings suitable for wheelie use. True, I could ask for a bowl of water and get somewhat cleaned up in my bed-space, but the point is I shouldn’t have to