Sunday, June 27th 2010

Off to hospital!

Both Alli and Ann were on hand this morning to help get me up – my second experience of double-ups! Curious to see if yesterday was just a one-off and determined to not lose my confidence in trying, Alli assisted me to stand from the edge of the bed. At least I was able to weight bear although my legs still didn’t feel particularly strong. After a few tentative steps I gingerly made my way to the bathroom. I made it safely but it was clear to me that my days of not being able to walk were fast approaching. Getting dressed a bit later proved difficult as my legs were already struggling to hold me up and it was becoming obvious to me that trying to stand up for much longer was too risky. So they had to put me in the glide about chair and wheel me into the study and from there perform the difficult manoeuvre of getting me into my office chair. All this handling of me, even with the two carers, was highlighting how deficient we were in all the necessary equipment. Frustratingly there was a mobile hoist in my study that had been brought in months ago especially for situations like this but it was not working. We were still waiting for an engineer to repair it despite being notified weeks ago.

Handing me now with very little contribution from myself was becoming dangerous both to myself and my carers, so it was no surprise to be told today that my care agency could no longer support me in my own home until the right equipment and resources were in place. There were no carers available to help with double-ups for this evening so the only options I was being given were to be taken into the hospital or hospice whilst everything was being sorted out. Neither option appealed because I couldn’t bear the thought of lying around all day doing nothing when time these days is so precious to me. In fact with terminal illnesses ‘waste anything but time’. I felt so frustrated. How could it have come to this when I had given everyone around me so many advanced warnings about my weakening legs precisely so we didn’t reach crisis point? Reluctantly I chose to go to the hospice but then found out that there were no beds available so would have to be admitted to the hospital’s Medical Assessment Unit. So, late this afternoon an ambulance arrived and two very friendly paramedics (Elaine and Paul) took me up to the hospital. But this turned out to be no easy matter as they had terrible trouble just getting me on and off the stairlift. After trying all sorts of ideas we eventually made it downstairs, placed into my wheelchair and taken outside where I was transferred to a stretcher. On the journey to the hospital I had my blood pressure and a sample of blood taken.

I almost did a double-take when they first wheeled me into the room I would be staying in; there was a nurse who was an almost 100% dead ringer for Francesca, in fact at first I thought it was her! On top of that the doctor who gave me further blood tests (checking for infections) and an ECG, had exactly the same name as my brother. Spooky (cue Twilight Zone music)! smile_regular

Still, getting settled into a hospital bed this time proved a lot easier than it did last September when I was waiting around in A&E for hours before seeing anyone. However, unlike last time when I had a room to myself, I found that I would be sharing a six-bed room with a group of elderly gentleman who made getting to sleep, shall we say ‘challenging’. In between the guy in the opposite bed, who could barely string two words together, crying out ‘I’m wet’ every few hours, and the guy in the next bed to me redefining what it means to snore, there was an endless procession of elderly gents shuffling past my bed with shaky hands on Zimmer frames on their way to the toilet. I felt like a spectator in a crowd watching a procession of chariots and their riders in Ben Hur smile_regular. I had a feeling it was going to be one of those nights!

Mark

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