Only When I Laugh

I have now lunched. We had the £6.95 lunch at Frankie and Benny’s (we elected for cheeseburgers, chips and a spoonful of coleslaw). I added strawberry ice cream for £2.50. Julia ate the wafer off my ice cream.  She does that every time.

Total bill was the same as the Harvester but you get a lot of salad at Harvester and not much at F&B (though the music is better at F&B and the toilets are easier to reach).

Now, my morning in hospital…

Rising at 6am I bathed, dressed, packed and gathered my paperwork together. I didn’t have breakfast (because I had to stop eating at midnight) but did have a mug of water and my pills at 6.30, the latest I was allowed to drink.

All went well to start. I spoke with the surgeon, two anaesthetists and some nurses. I was prodded, bled, monitored and documented. Everyone was very pleasant and it was very relaxing.

Then I dressed in a hospital gown, put on my new grip socks and started to watch TV. And more TV. And yet more TV. At that point I was getting a bit concerned about the wait. For one thing, it was a bit long, and for another, I was starting to worry there might be a problem. But there wouldn’t be a problem, would there?

A little later – it was about 10.00 a nurse approached and gave me a cup of water, telling me I could have it as long as I drank it in the next ten minutes as I wouldn’t go through to theatre until at least 12.00.

“Yes,” I said, “I thought the water was bad news.”

From there it was all downhill…

This is how the farcical charade developed.

In December when I was admitted with “the swelling” I was allowed to lie on a normal bed in the first floor male urology ward (known as Harvey 2).

In April – the first part of the surgery – I was allowed to use a normal bed in Harvey 2.

In May, when I was admitted with the abscess I had to have the bariatric bed, in Harvey 2.

Now, I have to have the bariatric bed but am now officially too fat to be allowed upstairs, according to the evacuation protocol. There was no bed on a ground floor ward so after the 12.30 bed conference they cancelled the operation.

I just don’t understand why they keep moving the goalposts.

Now, I’ve never denied being fat, but within a pound or two I’ve been the same weight for years. I haven’t suddenly become too fat for the upper stories.

I’m also happy for them to have protocols. They are a big organisation and they need such things to function. And so their many jobsworths have something to do.

They were surprised when I laughed, but what else can you do? Getting angry won’t help. And being rude to the staff won’t help because it isn’t their fault – they just get left to apologise for the acts of others.

Before I left, they fixed me up with another date.

It’s two weeks away.

But there’s no guarantee of a bed.

Tomorrow I will be more cheerful.





22 thoughts on “Only When I Laugh

  1. jfwknifton

    I’ve spent a lot of time in both the QMC and the City Hospital and I always thought there were some areas where they appeared to me to be a little overstaffed but then short of nurses for the wards I was in, at least.

  2. beatingthebounds

    I would say it beggars belief, but I have had frequent recent experience with the NHS. One example:
    Me: “I need an appointment every two days. Is there not some kind of system in place so that those can be organised in advance, I can see the same nurse each time, for some consistency of care and I know where I stand so I can organise my work around the appointments. Is there not, in other words some kind of guiding intelligence at work here?” (You can tell perhaps that I was a tad frustrated at the time having waited three times in A&E, for several hours in total, over a Bank Holiday weekend, for a simple dressing change.
    GP: “I wouldn’t know. It’s not my job. You’d have to ask the nurses themselves.”
    I already had, that was why I knew the answer was a resounding no. There is no system, well not one that works.
    It was astonishing. Everybody I spoke to seemed to think that appointments were probably available somewhere, during a Bank Holiday, but nobody knew where or how to get those appointments.
    Sorry. Rant over. I hope they get something sorted for next time!

    1. quercuscommunity

      Sorry, I seem to have parked this in a log jamin the farthest reaches of the internet. You have my sympathy, and you also sum up the NHS experience – no system, no logic and no no regard for the fact that patients have lives that don’t revolve round the NHS. Considering that they are friemdly, intelligent and well-meaning you can only conclude that massive organisations don’t work.

      1. beatingthebounds

        It worked much better 25 years ago. Before the neo-liberal consensus – that markets can run everything efficiently – emerged. The NHS now seems to be run by GP practices, who are at the periphery in many ways. If politician’s stopped meddling and lets Doctors decide how to organise themselves, I can’t help thinking that the whole thing could only be better.

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