My Hospital Experience

Several friends have expressed interest in knowing about my recent hospital visit in more detail, so I decided to write a blog rather than sharing piecemeal with groups of friends.

The eczema around my right ankle had been getting worse and last weekend I noticed my leg was swollen, as it was last year, and appeared to be weeping. Suspecting an infection I phoned my GP on Monday. It took a while to get through to reception but I got an urgent appointment so early that I had to make haste to get ready. I needed to give myself plenty of time get there as it’s a long walk with a walking frame. I got there in good time but then spent 10 minutes trying to find how to get in as there’s construction work being done, not much fun when it’s so hilly.

The GP thought I should go to hospital for a scan to check for a possible blood clot, but he spoke to a consultant on the phone who advised him to see how I was doing after 48 hours on antibiotics. So he gave me a prescription and told me to come back on Wednesday afternoon to see a nurse about having a dressing put on, but I was to ring 999 if it got worse in the meantime.

It was worse on Wednesday so I rang 999 and got an immediate call back from a first responder who said he’ld be here in 15 minutes. I called the surgery to cancel, didn’t take so long to get through this time. The paramedic had just arrived when he got a call to attend a cardiac arrest and thought he’ld have to do that first, but the patient died so it was no longer urgent. He wasn’t here long and returned shortly after he’d left to say that St John’s Ambulance were on their way, I’d just made a cup of tea but didn’t have time to drink it before the ambulance arrived. Can’t have been more than an hour from my 999 call before I was on my way to York, so far so good.

The crew were from Bolton, only working here for the day and unfamiliar with the area. This wouldn’t have been a problem but there was construction work going on at the hospital as it was at the GP practice and it was difficult to find the way around. I couldn’t see out so I wasn’t able to help. We had to go to A&E because the department I was supposed to go to was full – they have assigned seats and they were all full – and we were parked quite a long way from the entrance.

I went through triage quite quickly but A&E was also crowded and I had to wait just outside the waiting room proper until about 11.00pm – an upright chair and not warm enough to prevent my joints from aching, although I didn’t feel cold.

It was after midnight when I finally got to see a doctor, then they put me on a drip an I had an immediate reaction – I felt dizzy and my vision was blurred! They wasted no time in getting me off the drip and gave me oxygen and medication. I got a more comfortable chair about 5.00am and at 8.00am I was transferred to the right department.

It was 11.00am before I saw another doctor. I didn’t need a scan as the GP expected as the blood tests showed no indication of a blood clot, but I needed antibiotics by IV with another dose next day (Friday). It was 5.00pm when they finally hooked me up then I was supposed to go home. Transport was arranged but reception staff spent several hours chasing it up and an ambulance arrived at 11.00pm just as we’d given up. I wasn’t happy about staying another night even though they were preparing a bed (trolley) for me. I would’ve been there all Saturday morning as my next IV was scheduled for 2.00pm with no book to read – had finished reading Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee having previously read half it, I’ld have had time to finish it even if I’d started at the beginning!

Saturday was completely different. After 7 hours dreamless sleep in my own bed I was able to do all my usual #ff tweets before the ambulance arrived bang on schedule at noon. I didn’t have to wait long to be put on the IV because it was already arranged. The doctor did think I would have to go back on Sunday for more blood tests but she took me to see the consultant who decided it wasn’t necessary. He gave me some pills to take each morning to reduce fluid on my legs and I can ask my GP for more if necessary. I asked if transport had been arranged and was told that it was already here (Age U.K.) I was back home by 5.00pm so all’s well that ends well 😀

I wheeled around in a wheelchair so often on my first visit that I decided to take my own, which hadn’t been used, so people wouldn’t have to handle a walking frame in addition to a wheelchair. I opted to wheel it myself while indoors to see how I would cope, although there was someone there to help if needed. It was ok, I couldn’t use it on the footpaths where I live but it gives me more flexibility if I’m out all day.

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