A little tenderness.

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.

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