Friday, 1 April 2011

The best place to be sick

I have just been over to Southend to visit my poorly Dad who is having a kidney removed next week. He has been telling me how well the medics are looking after him I have been cynical, cross examining him on his medication/treatment. Here in North Somerset the elderly have strokes and wait for up to three weeks for a scan. They are sent home from A & E and told to ask their doctor to admit them the next day. They are given blood thinners before it has been established whether they have a bleed or a clot. When I visited my dying friend last autumn I found him scrunched in his bed in a side room, the bed having collapsed, dehydrated and ignored by the enormous nurses that must spend their entire salary on food.

Not so in Southend. Dad had an angiogram yesterday. I rang the cardiac day care to enquire as to what time I could collect him. The sister brightly answered the phone and with no hint of the what-is-it-now-why-are-you-bothering-me tone I have got used to with my local hospital, told me I could pick him up at 18.40. Gosh, that's precise I thought. Sure enough I found him mid banter with a nurse at 18.35 and I sprung him at 18.40.

Later that evening he began to spurt blood from his wound. Spectacular and worrying. I drove him to the hospital as fast as the speed cameras would allow. We both reasoned it would be faster than an ambulance. We walked in and he was seen immediately, which is something I have never experienced at any A & E, ever, for anything. The fastest I have ever encountered was an hour wait for a doc to look over Calfy when she fell on her head and she was the only patient waiting. It wasn't as if the waiting room was not full, it was. But they prioritised Dad and treated him and were sweet to him and we went home bandaged and fine.

Dad says that every department he has encountered in the hospital is like that. I couldn't believe it. I told him how lucky he is that his local hospital isn't Mid Staffs Morgue. I don't suppose the staff at Southend Hospital are paid any more than the staff in Bath. How is it that they can offer top notch care, when others fall so short of the minimum?


Scrobs... said...

Lils, a caring Daught like you will work wonders because you actually identify with what's needed!

What I read into your post, and I think I'm right, is that your Dad is standing up on all fours and fighting what's bothering him, and that's the best thing - possibly the only thing, which will get him back to full speed and I sincerely hope (even after a kidney thing), that several tinctures and a look at the cricket will place him back where he belongs!

Interesting what you say about Southend too. It's had a mediocre press for years, by by golly, there's some spirit to live on there! I rate the place if that's any help! There's a deep seam of care and insistence on family values, and you need to forget how it's portrayed by the meedja.

If your Dad's anything like you, (bet he is...), then I see a new face somewhere on 'Celebrity Kidney Swapping'!

Electro-Kevin said...

Flippin' eck.

Hope your Dad gets well soon.


(The joy of being middle-aged, eh, Lil)

Modo said...

My mother recently succumbed to a severe bout of the collywobbles, and was rushed into hospital.
Sometime around 1am I received the dread phone call advising me that it was most probably for the best to quit watching Julian Jarrold’s take on Brideshead Revisited on the BBC 2… (something I wholeheartedly agreed on… not since I made the mistake of walking into a Stephen Fry outing as Oscar Wilde have I suffered such a case of heebeegeebees, but I digress)… yes mother’s collywobbles turned out in fact to be the cancer of everything (misdiagnosed by her G.P. as diverticulitis).
Doctor Dan, and Doctor Peter said my poor dear old thing would need an immediate operation to have any chance, but in all probability would not survive the anaesthetic, let alone the operation… however she did, but not for long.
The truly awful bit was chatting away with her while waiting for her to go into theatre knowing she was not going to make it, and that would be the last I would see of her in this world. We held hands had a mutual peck on the cheek and that was that. She survived the operation, but it was only machines and strong drugs that were keeping her alive, and so I asked them to stop the medication and turn off all the machines and she floated away.

Elby the Beserk said...

Some years ago my daughter was knocked over by a bus. Bristol Council, in their infinite wisdom, had decided, when redesigning the middle of town, to have a bus lane on a pedestrianised area.

She was the 13th to be knocked over there.

The BRI called me from work, and I rushed in, to find a shocked, but OK little girl. "What happened?", I asked, and she told me. "Did you bang your head?", I asked. "Yes", said she. "Have they checked you?"

"No - they didn't ask me if I had banged my head".


Elby the Beserk said...

Here's another goody. I had hip op#2 early Jan. Complete success, healed quicker than the other one. Six weeks later, first checkup. Couldn't park at the RUH. Couldn't park on the roads nearby. So crutched it for nigh on half an hour to get their, all on pavement of course, by which time I was sore and in pain.

Inflammation and a trapped nerve, they thought. X-ray showed no damage. Walked back to the van, and was in even more pain by then.

Since then, I have experienced more pain and discomfort than the hip before it was operated on.

Go figure, as the Yanks say.

Bath council won't let them build a multi-storey car park there, as it would "spoil the skyline". The car park was to be no higher than the buildings around it, and the skyline of the RUH, as with most hospitals, resembles an old car factory.

Go figure, as the Yanks, say.

lilith said...

Oh Modo. My condolences. What does it take to get doctors to take the elderly seriously, or to treat them with dignity? I don't understand why they operated if she was so unlikely to survive. I expect they wanted to teach some young thing where to make the cuts. I am often telling the elderly not to donate their bodies to medical science *before* they pass away. Trouble is, they trust the doctor, even if the "treatment" is really euthanasia. I knew a 92 year old who was given a hysterectomy. Naturally, she didn't survive. I am so sorry.

lilith said...

Scrobbers! Thank you for your kind words. Dad is a fighter, one of those wiry scots/irish colonial types that defies insurance company stats. It has to be the beginning of the end, but he showed me a photo of himself in the university fencing team and said "Their all dead! I am the only one left!"
Which just shows that it is better to be a smoking adrenaline junkie with severe asthma who worked 12 hour days in an office next to heavy London traffic than to live relatively stress free in the clean air of New Zealand.

You are right about Southend. That Essex energy has a lot to be said for it. Everyone was so caring. I thought of Killemall, because a retired fireman was volunteering in A & E and he was an utter darling.

I have offered Dad one of my kidneys, but as mine rattle like a bag of marbles I don't suppose it would help.

lilith said...

Thanks Kev :-) You must be looking forward to this kind of fun and games yourself. xx

Nomad said...

"Stuff" spurting from a wound is indeed spectacular and worrying, especially if it happens in the middle of the night.

A few years ago Mrs N had a serious op on her midriff. She woke up with no fewer than 43 stitches - or "joins" would be more appropriate as they no longer seem to use anything (some sort of human super-glue?) to stitch flesh together. It looks like she has a zipper on her tummy now!

She was in hospital for a week or so recovering and then allowed home. At 3am that same night she was complaining that one of her "joins" had become unjoined and that thick yellow goo was spurting and oozing from it. So, straight into the car and a high speed ride back to the hospital. She was attended to almost at once and the very cheerful young doc on duty (who has since become a friend) said "Nothing to worry about. We see this all the time. We call it the volcano effect".

To this day I cannot decide whether he was just trying to cheer us up - or telling the truth! However, he proceeded to squeeze as much of the goo out as he could, then re-dressed the wound and declared that all was ok now.

Indeed it was and there were no further eruptions; however, that particular join failed to heal as well as all the others and nowadays Mrs N has to take care what she wears as the raised scar that join left rubs against belts etc.

Hope your pater gets well soon.

PS: Just added a rather belated comment to your Syrian post below.

lilith said...

Thank you Nomad. All well!