Hi again, I seem to be talking as me a little more of late. Maybe it is because you have all helped me feel at home and safe.
Today I am going to open up to you about my stay in hospital after breaking my back ( four years ago). I have been talking to “Let’s cut the crap” about some of the experiences I had had with the children when they were small. Somehow or other we had touched on my time in hospital and it has got me thinking so here we go. Here to start is what I had said to “Let’s cut the crap” ( sorry I do not know another name for her! )
I broke my back and was in hospital for a month! The standard of nursing was sadly lacking absolutely no caring or compassion. I was in a body brace for a fortnight before the first op ( to allow the bruising and swelling to go down and also to allow the the special kit they needed to order to fix me, to arrive.) I had to lay flat all the time. The nurse ( usually the same one) would plonk down a bowl and a flannel and wonder off. She would return after 20/30 mins and say ” Have you washed ” I would say ” No sorry I can’t reach and I can’t move. ) She would huff and puff and then proceed to wash me in the tepid or cold water that she had left there earlier. Same with food they would leave it then ask where you not hungry to which I’d say yes but I can’t get to it ! My husband used to come in early to help me. Mercifully I got moved to a ward where they did at least try to be helpful but whichever ward I was on the night staff were invariably noisy rude and uncaring. A sad inditement on the nurses and Drs who to be fair are very stretched and I did meet some who were very kind to me.
When I was first taken in to accident and emergency it was about 5am , I was triaged and sent to Xray which confirmed I had broken my back. Apparently my spine had exploded and there were pieces of bone floating around ready at any second to nick my spinal cord. By 4pm I had not been assigned to a proper ward or managed to pass urine. I was stressed and in pain , my husband had had to go home and get me some things. I was almost begging for pain relief and as I could not pass any urine I was asking for a catheter. The sister told me she needed the Dr to arrive and prescribe both for me.
I was beginning to think I would not have any relief that day and I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, I was very agitated. I noticed a young man approaching my bed, he stopped and spoke to the sister. Then he stepped closer and said, ” Hi Mum, I have spoken to the sister and you need a special xray, hopefully when that is done the Dr will have been.” I took a double take and saw it was my middle son. He put his bag down and said ” I am coming with you and I shall be with you all the way.
My middle son was a prison officer at the time ( he has in the last year changed his job completely and moved nearer to us .) He was completely in work mode and as he accompanied me to Xray he was completely in control. He had arrived in the nick of time and had reassured me and I did feel much better knowing he was there.
When we got back from Xray there was a lady waiting to fit me with a body brace, then the Dr arrived and prescribed some pain management and a catheter. Shortly after that my husband arrived. My lad had done a first class job on damage limitation.
The above body brace is very like the one I had to wear 24/7 but mine was black, padded and had two metal bars in the back to support the spine .
I was very lucky all three of my sons arrived to see me and they all had long journeys to get to the hospital. The three of them and my husband were absolutely great. I remember vaguely one late afternoon the boys had all arrived within a half hour of each other and they were all sitting round the bed trying to make sense of the drivel I was spouting due to the Morphine I had been given. One of the surgeons had arrived and was animatedly telling me what they were going to do with my back, how unusual the operation was and how they would have to order in a special kit to pin and fuse my spine.
Not one word sunk in I was away with the fairies, Luckily when my husband arrived the lads were able to tell him what the Dr had said. I was too busy worrying that the large metal frames holding up the curtains round the bed were about to drop on me. I was also desperately trying to understand why somebody had Selotaped 10pence pieces to the curtains. My eldest son found this distressing and too this day tells me how weird it was to see his mum “tripping”.
At the start of this post I was saying how I was struck by the lack of compassion and care from the nurses. I mentioned the nurse who never remembered that I could not sit up let alone not move. Finally after a week I ended up on another ward . The first morning I woke up on that ward I was approached by a French male nurse he was extremely handsome and very kind. He asked me if I had had a bed bath I told him I had not. He then asked me if I would be happy for him to give me a bath and a change of pajamas, I replied that that I would be so grateful. I was not sure if I was happy with this but desperate to feel clean and comfortable.
The nurse managed to engage me in conversation and bath me with dignity and change my pajamas and the bed without too much pain and discomfort and absolutely no embarrassment. He was worlds apart from the brash and bad tempered nurse in the first ward. He often used to pop in and talk to all the ladies in the bay I was in and he also made us all paper flowers and animals. It all goes to show a little care made all the difference.
I need to go to bed now so until the next time hugs to you all.