I mentioned, a few days ago, that, Doctor Michael Davies, the consultant at Papworth hospital, thought that I would benefit from spending a couple of days with them as an in patient during able them to try to ascertain if there were any physical changes which would give a clue for these massive surges of adrenaline from which I have suffered these past three or four weeks
Well, the call came at the end of last week for me to present myself today. After a discussion with the consultant, Doctor Michael Davies, I explained what the bad sleeper I was and how I needed the wireless on all-night and as a result could not sleep in the open ward. Apart from that I said that I was a little concerned about having someone to turn me as often as I seem to need and the only person I could really trust in this direction was ‘my lovely’. No problem, they said we will allocate you a side ward i.e. a ward with a single bed into which they would put a ‘camp’ bed for ‘my lovely’ Having met all of my objections I had no choice but to accept.
Accordingly, we made all the preparations for me to go off by ambulance around midday. Then I overheard various telephone conversations between Alice and Papworth hospital as to whether I was expected at all, which I’m glad to say,’ my lovely’ soon sorted out with her usual competence.
As we have now come to expect the ambulance arrived nearly 4 hours later then we were told. I went on my own in with Alice promising to follow on later.
I went through all the usual admission procedure and in the early afternoon had done all required of me and at that stage, I had it not been for the overnight monitoring, could have gone home.
Alice arrived about 7.00 p.m. and I was prepared for bed whilst’ my lovely’ organised the room. We then settled down to watch one of our detective thrillers, Midsomer Murders, on the television (guaranteed to send the strongest the monsters to sleep and then 10 or 15 min of hearing) little of which I recall as I suspect, completely exhausted. I’ve fell asleep very quickly. The wonderful thing about having’ my lovely’ with me was that I knew I was in safe hands and that someone would come if I called. The problem was that I have not got enough strength in my fingers to press the standard alarm and my voice is too weak to shout. With’ my lovely’ down next to me meant that a call during the night to be turned was met instantly. In fact, by my usual standards. I had a reasonable night’s sleep.
Alice was up with the lark as usual and as I was beginning to feel pain in various joints, I persuaded her to get me out of bed into a sitting up position pretty much as we do at home, at around 7.00 o’clock. Then she left me to the mercy of the hospital staff. Apart from a short questionnaire about my normal sleeping patterns plus one blood gas test, which consisted in piercing the earlobe and extracting a small portion of blood, that was just about it. Oh yes, I did also have a chest x-ray.
With my examinations over, other than speaking to the consultant, I was ready to come home and around midday. Fortuitously, Doctor Michael Davies popped in to see me, unofficially in as much as it was not his ward round, and pointing out that his college would be formally discussing the results of the tests but his own view was that, although there was an obvious deterioration from the previous visit, six weeks or so earlier, apart from that he liked the look of the tests. We did not really get onto the course or reason for ‘the explosions of adrenaline’ which other than him agreeing that they were paying normal panic reaction to the physical loss of air, for at least two of them. To summarise he thought I was doing reasonably well and there should be no need for any oxygen input pro tem. I suppose it was a question of’ ‘keep taking the tablets’! All reasonably reassuring as I suppose I went in thinking that I was hurtling downhill at a faster rate than I had previously imagined
Having informed the nurse at the reception counter to please note that I would be ready to go home and around midday, I was alarmed to find that I had to wait until around 3.30 for the ambulance. When it arrived, the driver said that he was very sorry but my high wheelchair would not fit in it and I have to wait for another one. The girl on reception then made a few telephone calls and informed me that there was a problem with the ambulances and I had two choices. One, to wait and be taken home’ late’ (this I gather meant anything around 8-10 o’clock). even then she could not guarantee that the ambulance would be able to take me (all, apparently, due to my high electric wheelchair) or, two, to reconcile myself to spending a further night in hospital and be taken home the following morning. This I was absolutely adamant against so with no guarantee of transport from the hospital I decided to use my own and got the nurse to telephone Ollie. Debbie, Ollie’s other half, said she was terribly sorry but the earliest they could get to me was around seven o’clock.
At least this was something positive, so I accepted that I would have another 3 1/2 hours wait. By this time my bottom was getting quite numb,having sat in my wheelchair for around eight hours and so asked the hospital staff if they could find something else I could sit in for two or three hours to give me some relief. To give them their due, they produced a lounger chair and hoisted me into it. I was so weary that I dropped off to sleep for an hour or two before being re- hoisted into my own wheelchair to continue the long wait. At least I had been sensible enough to take my laptop with me onto which I had downloaded half a dozen films and, of course, I had my books and music (through the earphones) to while away the hours.
Almost to the minute, as promised, the ever reliable Debbie from Ollie’s Wheelchair Friendly Service, arrived as my saviour to sweep me off homeward bound to arrive just 5 min prior to my 8.30 carer coming into put me to bed. Was I pleased to be home, reinforcing what I have always thought, that no matter how wonderful of the staff, hospital or hospice, is no place to die, adding 100% misery factor by just being out of your familiar surroundings and having little control over, and what, happens to you compared with care at home which is totally directed towards the patient’s comfort and demands, however unreasonable.