Gay and Ageing – Life at the Front
So how was your weekend? Did you have fun? Was the weather on Sunday as lovely as it was here in the south east? I hope so.
From previous experiences of caring I know that the garden of our local Hospice is a haven for birdlife. I have sat there, in the past, and counted over 15 different species.
So what more could the heart desire, on such a lovely day than to go along to that site and enjoy the day. Well, actually it wasn’t the Hospice I went to but its big big brother the General Hospital, next door. And actually I didnt go by choice but went to get help for a problem; namely that after some pretty serious surgery, the drainage lead from the wound was leaking and I was distressed that already my new chinos, from Primark of course, were rather covered in blood.
Fortunately my sturdy husband, now promoted to carer in chief, and at great expense, was able to accompany me and we prepared ourselves for a long wait and its consequent high parking charge. To our surprise, on arriving at the car park someone had fairly thoroughly demolished the car park gate, presumably out of sheer frustration, so we had the pleasure of knowing that we could stay as long as we liked, free of charge, and even think about the birds in the Hospice garden.
In the Front at Casualty
It was a real pleasure to hear that as soon as we arrived, and related our need, the receptionist told us that we would be next in the queue and we were indeed called after about 10 minutes. At this point should some government employee in the health department have read this and smacked their statistical lips at a very satisfactory outcome for the league tables let me assure them that I am not so stupid as to be part of a claim about being promptly seen at A & E departments, because the fact is that it was more than 5 hours later that we emerged from this hell hole called ‘Casualty’. This was actually our 3rd visit in 2 days, so it was now almost like home.
We were eventually ushered into a consulting space and waited. In the meantime we were able to witness glory of ‘Casualty’ at first hand. There was the lady who had poked herself in the eye, while gardening; the boy who had been playing with a gun and shot himself in the hand (as so many of us do on Bank Holidays) and the poor elderly lady who smiled benignly at everyone – even at the doctor who insisted in shouting at her in a loud voice asking ‘are you confused?’ ( informed dementia care has yet to arrive in Margate).
Chief carer and I had already diagnosed what the problem really was; we were on the 5 bottle where the vacuum had been compromised and it was clearly not any of the bottles’ fault. Indeed had we listened to the first set of ‘experts’ we would probably have got through a hospital’s whole annual supply of vacuumed drainage bottles and still not achieved a solution.
Trust me I’m a doctor
At this point we had the pleasure of meeting a south east asian man, presumably a doctor, who had come to continue with the next stage of help. We pointed out that the bottles were not filling, and that the issue lay with the tube which was connected from my wound to the drainage bottle – the tube joint was leaking, AND leaking all over my clothes!
Our ‘doctor’ continued to ask us what the problem was and we repeated and repeated our need plus the solution required. He then proceeded to ask us what the bottles were and what they were for. No, he hadn’t ever seen these before but he assumed they were for collecting blood. He then pulled at the lead which did its job and scattered blood all over me and all over the floor. Yes, he now understood the problem but had no solution and, at this moment it seemed right to smile at this seemingly ignorant old man and say quite forcibly, ‘Go away and find someone who behaves like a doctor’.
One further attempt was made by a lovely and understanding senior nurse to ensure the vacuum worked but without avail.
Five, yes five, and yes, that’s an English five, in hours, later. Dr. Nick from Milan arrived. He looked at the bottle; knew exactly what the problem was, AND knew how to solve it. With some sterile cutting, and careful insertion, our wonderful, beautiful, Nick had got the drainage bottle working. I could now see my blood flowing out and measure how much I had lost. What more could the heart desire on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday?
We thanked him profusely. Assured him that whatever his views we would vote to stay in the EU if it meant receiving such informed medical attention other than that from idiots brought in for statistical reasons, presumably to massage the figures.
It was now getting on for 6 pm and we arrived home. We had survived the nightmare? Was this our only problem? You don’t even want to know!!!!!!!!