Writing Workshop on a Wednesday 8

In an ideal world a hospital for me would focus on healing the mind, in addition to healing the body.  It would be a calm and peaceful place catering for all the needs of the people there.
Now I have been in and out of hospital enough lately to be able to say that the staff are wonderful and do the very best with the resources available to them, so this is not an NHS bashing post, but a far away dream.
On my visit in February this year, I was awarded a single occupancy room and it was fantastic, I had my own bathroom  area, which was in a wet room style, so I could actually sit in the shower, which is perfect after you have had a major surgery.  In fact this room was pretty acceptable for my whole stay in in, but could have been made more comfortable by FREE TV and Internet access or even better a wireless Internet access for mine and MadDads ipod and laptop.  I was very lucky and I had climate control – how swish.
I also have to say that the food was pretty acceptable too, so I am not going to complain about that either.
But when I had to be readmitted due to sepsis, it was a different story, the only bed available on the ward was in a multi occupancy room and this made it very uncomfortable for the lady’s I was sharing with.  They had to put up with all the windows open all night on the first night to bring my temperature down, 3 fans going all night too and nursing staff and doctors attending to a delirious me every 15 minutes.  Also MadDad was still there too, so I can imagine that they were pretty uncomfortable.  Now this was only for the first night and they shuffled things around and popped me back in to the single occupancy room the next day and I was too out of it to even know that I was causing people upset!!
So on my wish list would be:
  • More access to outside areas, especially when you have children visiting you. We made it as easy and secure as possible for the MiniMads, but it still upset them sometimes. How wonderful it would have been if there was a park for the patients children, so I could have sat and watched them play. It would have been me so much more comfortable and not as desperate to escape.

  • Free parking for long term visitors (It costs MadDad a fortune and only when I was due to be discharged was a monthly parking pass mentions)

  • Better food and drink for visitors (MadDad was wither with me or the boys and his eating and drinking suffered massively as he had to eat on the run)

  • Wireless Internet access to help pass the time.

  • FREE television access

  • More holistic treatments available.  I was shattered and became very constipated and unwell due to my medications and their side effects, a massage or hair wash and dry by someone would have been wonderful.  Yes the nursing staff will assist you wash your hair, but it is hardly their priority.  Now I was pretty mobile, but could not stretch to wash my hair, so would have happily visited a hair salon somewhere else in the hospital, if it was free.

  • It would have been nice to have an electric adjustable bed (only so many to go around and others were more needy than me).
  • Someone to come and talk about the mental effects of the operation with me whilst I was in hospital.  The nursing staff were great, but I had issues with all the complications.

  • More doctors and nursing staff, the ones that were on duty were pulled in so many different directions that sometimes you were made to wait what seemed like an unfeasibly long time.

  • Charts filled in correctly and coherently.

  • Pharmacies that delivery drugs punctually, when you are on an antibiotic that has to be given intravenously every 12 hours followed by a blood test 2 hours later, time is of the essence (it was not allowed to be kept on ward).

  • Doctors that can take blood the first time.

  • Doctors that dont say “I have heard that taking blood from your femoral artery is very painful” just as they are about to do it and then keep saying, I am sorry, whilst you scream the ward down.

  • Venflons that dont clog up or tissue when you sleep the “wrong” way

  • Tea on tap served in a t-pot with a cup and a little jug of milk.  I NEED my tea, even when very ill and being sick.  In the end the nursing staff gave me a large mug and knew every time I popped my head out the room in the middle of the night I needed my tea.  I became known as the tea monster.

  • No waiting times to see consultants when you get to hospital.  It is terribly demotivating when you have a 10am appointment, but know you wont be seen until 1pm in most cases.

  • More lovely nurses who are trained to take blood, they have just the knack and manage first time.  I am not afraid of needles, but it was a really good job as in the end I had venflons in my feet and blood taken from my groin and feet.

  • Single sex wards, not just rooms on the ward. 

  • A library, buying magazines and remembering what books you have read is hard work.

Quite a wish list I have there, but as I have said, you couldn’t fault the commitment of most of the staff and the care I received was second to none, but there were times when a clear line of communication was lacking and I was left waiting for medications and specialist dressings.
OK so things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, in fact they couldn’t have gone much worse, but I am alive and underwent surgery again last week and the staff and Consultant really listened to me.  I was allowed to have quite a large surgery under local anesthetic and to come home.  I was also allowed to wait apart from the other visitors when seeing the dressing team (I am very fearful of infections now).
So were now for me, well I am hoping this last surgery will make it possible for me to wear my lovely sexy silicone prosthetics again and stop the bra running and causing sores and then we will see.
People ask about reconstruction, but at the moment I am content in knowing that I can have one in the future, one that doesn’t involve implants for me to reject like last time.  One that involved my own body, but that is in the medium to long term future.
I could not face another major surgery again so soon, neither could my body and much more important neither could my family.  Recovery time would be a complete nightmare.
So maybe I will consider it in a couple of years time, when Mini and Maxi are 5 and 6 and need much less physical help from me.  I haven’t wrote it off and neither has the consultant, he will keep seeing me every six months until I have my surgery!
So yes we have been on a journey and one that deviated from the prescribe route, but ultimately we will get to the same destination.  It may tale a little longer, we may use differing modes of transport and walk the untrod path, but I know that with the love and support of my family I will get there.  I will grow old to see them grow up and make their own mistakes.
This post was written with inspiration from the writing prompts over at Sleep is for the Weak for the Writing Workshop on a Wednesday.  It started off  as “What would you like to see in your ideal hospital?” and kind of ended up as my hope for ‘one day’

If you would like to read about the history behind my hospitalisations, then I recently did a guest post over at Bah! to Cancer.

8 thoughts on “Writing Workshop on a Wednesday

  • Karin @ Cafe Bebe

    Excellent post…and brilliant ideas. NHS take note…
    And take care in your recovery. You are obviously a very brave and strong woman.

    🙂 Karin

  • Noble Savage

    The sad thing is, these are not unreasonable requests. They are things that should be happening already. It's the only thing I don't like about socialised medicine — the underfunding and understaffing that becomes endemic.

    I have never spent time in hospital as a patient myself but my sister spent nearly two years in and out of one so I am very familiar with them. The one thing I think we can all agree on is that nurses are severely unappreciated, underpaid and undervalued. They are the backbone of medical care and deserve so much more recognition.

  • Vic

    The last time I had the misfortune to stay in a UK hospital was years back when mixed wards were still a rarity. Staying in a mixed ward would make
    me feel incredibly uncomfortable and I'm sure I'm not the only one, man or woman, who feels that way.

    You've got some excellent ideas there. Now all you need is for someone to sit up and take note.

  • Kelly

    When I was in hospital with Piran wifi would have made me so much happier. I would have paid for it to!

    These are all things that would make people get better quicker too, particularly being able to watch your children playing 🙂

    I am pleased that this time was a better experience for you.

  • notsuchayummymummy

    I've stayed in hospital a few times for very minor reasons and after having a section with Sam. These requests, like has been said above, are so reasonable and needed it makes you wonder why it doesn't happen. I know the NHS has a limited budget but what you've suggested would help an enormous number of people probably get better a lot quicker!
    I'm glad your op went well and wish you all the best. Your story is inspirational.

  • Helen Lindop

    I've spent a bit of time in hospital recently, fortunately quite minor things compared to your experience. But I totally agree, the staff did their absolute best but were overstretched, meaning it took me around 4 hours of waiting to get blood taken and 6 hours to get discharged amongst other things. When you're in hospital time takes on a different meaning completely, which is no fun at all if you're stressed out or in pain.

    All the best for your recovery!

  • Josie @Sleep is for the Weak

    These are fabulous suggestions. And the others are right, the saddest thing is that these aren't unreasonable requests.

    I've spent a lot of time in hospitals over the years and could relate to a lot of your points. Especially the venflons – ouch. I had a junior doctor do my lumbar puncture, took 5 goes. Hideous.

    Here's to a future where all these things are a reality.

    I hope you're recovering ok – you have been so brave and gone through so much.

  • Victoria

    All good ideas! My little boy was in hospital as a baby and I stayed with him, the TV was a complete Godsend in the middle of the night, and I happily paid for it, but if I couldn't have afforded it, it would have been hard.

    They had a fantastic playroom which my daughter played in and a toy library, but it was only for people on the children's ward.

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