This week’s writer works in an older people’s

Tuesday Afternoon spent in casualty trying to
find out whether a woman who attends a special day care centre had
damaged her hand. Angry that the tea was late, she struck out at a
piano. I walked in as it happened, and was coerced into being a
named escort in the ambulance. I may even have been elected a
temporary Place of Safety. The screaming was such that I stopped
listening, watching instead while six people tried – and failed –
to pick the piano up. The lady in question, who probably fights at
200lb, was nice as pie in the ambulance, and we discussed
hairstyles with the crew. Coincidentally – but usefully – the
registrar on duty was my son, so we got seen to right away. That
means within two hours. No damage to her, bar slight bruising of
her thumb, but the piano may need a transplant.

Wednesday It’s obviously going to be a medical
week. Three members of staff have cracked bones in their ankles and
are off work for a month. No phones are answered while we look for
the true meaning behind this. The general consensus is that the NHS
is having a cracked ankle sale this week, and these three have
seized the opportunity to take advantage of the special offers. I
didn’t see them advertised. Roused myself from this foolish
speculation and went off to a different local hospital to assess a
young man of 96 who will need services at home to keep him going
after discharge. The hospital is doing its best to be a community
resource, so time can be spent pleasantly looking at an art show,
checking out the “For Sale” library books, having a coffee and what
tasted like roasted frog sandwich (low fat), reading the emergency
notices in the lifts, wondering whether to attend a lecture, give
blood or become a “Friend”. By luck, I found the right ward, but my
man had been moved so I wandered around for what seemed like hours
trying to find him. Had neither crumbs to scatter nor a rope to
unwind and feared I’d never get back to the ground floor again.

Thursday As I had guessed, the gentleman in
question had taken himself home last night against medical advice,
saying that if he was going to die it would be in his own bed. He
had asked the consultant not to resuscitate him if he took a turn
for the worse after surgery, and she had agreed. Furious with what
he saw as heartlessness, he had walked out. He’s now back in the
ward as expected and had the minor operation as originally planned.
When I got to see him, it was early evening and the registrar and
consultant were doing their rounds. He was in extreme discomfort
and I asked the registrar if pain relief could be given as he
hadn’t yet been written up for any. The registrar agreed at once,
and strode off down the ward to instruct the night nurses what
analgesics to give, turning and pointing at the bed. Two purposeful
nurses then marched towards us down the ward, one carrying a
hypodermic syringe. They strode past me and the patient and were
poised to thrust the needle into the leg of the man in the next bed
when I spoke up. Pleasant dreams!

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.