I’ve been in hospital for a week. I don’t say this for sympathy, or to moan, but because I want to share my experience.
I’ll start at the beginning; in place of my gall bladder I have a bag full of pebbles. Over the past few months these have periodically reduced me to a sweating, heaving, shaking heap, and last week it came to a head & I was admitted in to hospital. Let me be clear; I know pain, I’ve had permanent sciatic pain from nerves crushed by popped disks since I was 23 (15 years, bloody hell, where did that go?!), I have zero cartlidge left in my knees from arthritis, they’re literally just bone on bone, and I had a 10lb 11oz baby naturally. I am no wuss. But gallstones? They HURT! So much so I wouldn’t even wish them on my ex husband, and let’s be honest, he’s come to many a grisly end in my colourful imagination.
So, for the last week I’ve been forced to rest, far more than I would like, and that has led to three things; boredom, homesickness, and a large amount of people watching. In my confined state, those people have been fellow inmates, and nurses, and, in case you didn’t know already, nurses are angels*.
Like most people that have grown up with it, I have been guilty at times of taking our NHS for granted. I’ve whinged when I can’t get a doctors appointment, I’ve bemoaned the lack of urgency in many a situation, from blood test results to waiting to escape hospital, and I’ve criticised my fair share of medical professionals. But let me say this again; nurses are angels.
That lack of urgency, that comes from learning to stay calm when you’ve got 6 buzzers going, the telephone ringing, someone crying in pain, another barfing into the bowl you’re holding, and a confused little old lady across the ward trying to pull out her catheter. It comes from not looking at the clock while you’re comforting someone who just found out they’ve got cancer, despite the fact that your shift ended over an hour ago. Its born of experience, compassion, an iron stomach that’s learned not to grumble when the last thing you ate was half a cold piece of toast 12 hours ago, and of course, the inherent trait of putting others before yourself. And they do all this for the princely sum of around £11 an hour. Angels.
So if you’re trying to get through on the phone to ask about a loved one, be patient. If you’re in pain & waiting for pain relief, be patient. If you’re dressed & waiting to go home, but no one is bringing your discharge meds, say it with me; be patient. Because I guarantee its just a fraction of the patience your nurses demonstrate on a minute by minute basis.
Special thanks to everyone at Royal Stoke University Hospital for putting up with me, especially the wonderful team on ward 106. ( including Melanie Humphries, who “never gets mentioned” 😀 ), and to my fellow inmates; may your battles with your bodies be as painless as possible, swift, and victorious. You, too, inspired me.
* When I say nurses, I am including every single person who works in the nursing professional, whether training, qualified, or assisting, first responders, paramedics, porters, the lot. If you care for people in a medical environment, I mean you.