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.


27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Balawyder
    Mar 09, 2014 @ 22:21:34

    That’s quite a brace. Get well soon:)


    • willowdot21
      Mar 09, 2014 @ 22:25:06

      I am walking and healthy apart from constant pain. got rid of crutches, walking stick and now I can stand up straight! It is three and a half years since I wore the brace . Thank you for reading. xxx


  2. cobbies69
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 08:13:01

    It is sad to hear your stay was not too good. I recently spent 5 weeks [Dec2013-Jan2014] in hospital with a heart bypass, with complications, and I could not fault my nursing and nurses looking after me, both male and female. I did a couple of posts about my stay, and my blogging friends really showed their love and care. Helping me so much and still am. like you getting a lot of support. Hope all is okay and going well today. 😉


    • willowdot21
      Mar 10, 2014 @ 14:16:17

      Hello, it is good to speak with you, I hope you are well on the road to recovery. I know that there are plenty of good, kind and compassioate nurses out there. I am just saying that I was appalled at some of the things I saw and heard. I am not saying everything and everone was bad there were some lovely and kind nurses there and they did do their best. I was treated well but the system failed me. There was a man on one of the wards I was on who had mental problems. During the day he had one to one care but during the evening and during tthe night he was not closely supervised and he would wander around the ward’s bay and threaten , steal and even try to get in people’s beds’that is very unsettling. I was also concerned about the older ladies on the wards ( was moved around a lot, in fact most of us were) one cold winter evening an elderly lady was waiting to be returned to her nursing home. She was still waiting for the ambulance to collect her after 12 midnight. They took her out into the cold at that time of night, why could they of not let her stay another night, there was no one waiting for her bed. That sadly was not an isolated incident. But I must not go on but I will be talking about the good things too in my next couple of post. I do hope I am not becoming a moaner. xx


      • cobbies69
        Mar 10, 2014 @ 15:34:04

        it is a sad thing when this does happen, we do hear about on the news as well. But of course we always remember the good things as well. look forward to your other posts. Gerry.

      • willowdot21
        Mar 10, 2014 @ 17:36:53

        Thanks Gerry I do know that there is more good than bad if you we really try to find it. 🙂

  3. paulaacton
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 09:30:53

    My spinal injury was no where near as severe but I do know how frustrating the road to recovery is, I am so sorry you had such a terrible experience with the nursing staff but incredibly thankful the ones I had were wonderful, one thing I do think injuries like this make you realise is how much we take our health for granted, simple things like being able to walk to the bin to put rubbish out become adventures that need to be planned with military precision, I am so glad you are now on the way to recovery, I too have thrown away the stick and am now on the long road to not only being able to walk properly but also to actually get fit and healthy again. 😀


    • willowdot21
      Mar 10, 2014 @ 15:13:09

      Yes Pauls it simpl knocks you for six, even getting up in te morning became an expodition fraught with danger and by the time you had washed, dress and had breakfast you were so exhausted you needed to sleep. As you say venturing out of the house was horrendous. Thank goodness we are on our way and getting fitter every day!I hope to show in the next couple of posts that I did meet some excellent nurses too but I dd not have a good experience in hospital and I did go home earlier than I should because I could no longer stand it! Keep on getting better, I have found Pilates and Core classes exstremely helpful have you tried either they really help with strengthening the back, and a good instructor will always ask you about your injury and help you acordingly! hugs xxxx


      • paulaacton
        Mar 10, 2014 @ 15:29:21

        I was sent on a pilates course by the physio but sadly it did more harm than good at that point, I do think it will be something I try again though, right now need to get some weight off and regain some stamina then can focus on flexibility and strengthening

      • willowdot21
        Mar 10, 2014 @ 17:35:50

        That is what I had to do I recommend you try it again and a good core instructer is worth their weight in gold. I was bent over double and on a walking stick with no core strength at all. I went to the local gym on a Dr’s referral and between them they got me to loose the stick and to slowly straighten up! I will always have a curved spine from now on and I have lost two and a half inches but I am fit and keen . I promise you, you will get there you will suceed! 😉 xxx hugs!!

  4. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 10:56:26

    OMG. I cannot imagine being treated so coldly. I shake my head in awe and admiration that you came through.
    I have a big question. How did you break your back? 😉
    Tess 🙂


    • willowdot21
      Mar 10, 2014 @ 14:55:38

      Hi Tess I am so glad to know your name calling you “Let’s Cut the Crap” is such a mouth full! I am going to write some more about this in the next few posts I hope it will not become boring. How did I break my back ? I got up at 3.30 am and went downstairs to the kitchen to get a glass of water. As I stood at the sink I fainted I fell back straight into the breakfast bar and then down unto the slate tiled floor. It was an explosive break they thought I had been on a horse or a motor bike. Who’d of thought it!but there you have it ! I had as a matter of interest already broken my back thirteen years previous in an accident at work when some boxes fell on me. That brake had been a compression break where the bones boke in on themselves instead of exploding, I hope and pray there will not be a repeat for a hat trick!


  5. Matrone Bell
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 12:36:59

    I can never understand how someone can be harsh or rude to someone when they are obviously in distress. I’m glad you came through it, and are here now 🙂 May I ask what caused the accident?


    • willowdot21
      Mar 10, 2014 @ 14:45:27

      They were not all bad but like you I shall never understand why some of the nurses were so harsh. . How did I brake my back? I got up at 3.30 am and went downstairs to the kitchen to get a glass of water. As I stood at the sink I fainted I fell back straight into the breakfast bar and then down unto the slate tiled floor. It was an explosive break they thought I had been on a horse or a motor bike. Who’d of thought it!but there you have it ! I had as a matter of interest already broken my back thirteen years previous in an accident at work when some boxes fell on me. That brake had been a compression break where the bones boke in on themselves instead of exploding, I hope and pray there will not be a repeat for a hat trick!


  6. russtowne
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 00:00:41

    Thank you for sharing such a difficult, frustrating and painful time in your life. May you never experience such times again.


  7. penpusherpen
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 14:44:22

    A little care and compassion goes a heck of a long way, Sweet Willow, and it’s a shame that you met some uncaring members of the so called ‘caring profession’ We are at our most vulnerable when faced with hospitals, or we wouldn’t be there in the first place. Pain and confusion are usually the order of the day, and as you’ve described thank goodness your son came in time to help things along. I’m going to read part 2 now.. Hugs, softest and warmest ever. xPenx


    • willowdot21
      Mar 11, 2014 @ 18:12:44

      It was very frightening Pen I did not know what to think I was in so much pain and the sister’s hands were tied. Thank goodness for my lad turning up when he did and he took over so completely I just gave in and let him organise me. xxxxxxxxxxxxx


  8. kelihasablog
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 20:37:53

    Absolutely! I know when I go to have lunch or visit with my mom in her Assisted Living Facility, I always try to stop and talk to and call by name as many of the others there as I can. It does seem to make such a difference. So many of them just never have anyone to come visit… It’s sad.
    So glad you got better… My brother was in a body cast for a year cuz he broke all kinds of stuff while trying to play Soccer. Obviously, he was never an athlete… LOL


    • willowdot21
      Mar 11, 2014 @ 20:52:31

      He has my condolences I hope he was not confined to bed for that time !! When my mum was in a home I did the same as you , a smile goes a long way! 😉 xxxxx


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