Tuesday, 27 September 2011


I am afraid, it has to be said, of becoming a patient in hospital. It's
because I am getting on and those who are getting on in years feel
helplessness more than anything else. We fear being dependent upon others,
we fear not being able to do the most basic self care. In truth does anyone
want to have to rely upon someone to wipe your arse or the dribble from
your face. Isn't that what growing old is about? I hope to God not.
I have been in hospital as has my husband, he had major surgery last year
and I was shocked not by the lack of care or medical standards but by the
lack of basic nursing care. At various stages throughout the day and night
there were at least four staff nurses about his ward so that indicates not
a lack of nurses but indeed, the opposite. However, on the afternoon of his
operation I went to visit him to find he was still on the theatre mat and
his legs were tangled in a blooded blanket from theatre. As I had once been
a nurse I saw what his needs were, hot and sweating and tangled in drips he
was unable to move his legs, from under this suffocating state of affairs.
I cleaned him up and cooled his face with a damp flannel and offered him
sips of water.
You could say, that was right for me to do that, but I knew what to do, how
often to relatives know what is to be done. It's been suggested that
relatives should take care of their own relatives in hospital, what do you
think of that? I think its fine but how? I know whenever I visit someone
the first thing is are they comfortable, do they need clean linen and
mostly a wash and a drink. Will relatives have the wherewithall to always
know where to start and what access will they have to the facilities, like
clean linen, geting cups of tea etc. I doubt that will ever be allowed because of health and safety and fear of litigation.
Would love to hear your opinions on this matter.

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