So before this year (and giving birth) I’ve never really had any major hospital appearances. I once sprained my ankle falling over my blow up chair when I was 5 but other than that I’m one of those people that would rather just stay home and hope for the best.
Recently however, I have been in and out of hospital and I must say it opened my eyes a lot! I knew the NHS was falling behind a little but I didn’t realise quite how much. I had to originally go into hospital in May and had a rubbish experience and had to stay in overnight and as always, every single nurse and doctor was amazing! They gave me all of the pain relief I needed, and did everything they could to make me feel better both physically and mentally.
After a very high temp (38+) and some issues relating to my previous visit, I rushed back to hospital a few weeks ago and I have never experienced anything like it in my life.
I was told that I am a priority and my symptoms needed to be dealt with within an hour in order to ensure I would be okay (obviously I’m panicking) and then after multiple blood test etc I was told I would have to stay in overnight. Early the next morning the doctors popped in on their rounds and confirmed that they would need me to go nil by mouth (don’t eat or drink) and they would get me into surgery ASAP. I signed a disclosure form and signed my rights away to the fact that they could put me to sleep and I might never wake up (so I’m obviously mortified and its now playing on my mind).
The hours are passing, Im starving (come on, everybody knows I’m always hungry anyway, so I was going slightly cuckoo) and the surgery is playing on my mind. Ive took off my jewellery (including my engagement ring, which upset me because I didn’t want to die without it on my finger, dramatic, I know) and I’ve popped on one of those gowns showing my bum to the world. Each time I see a nurse I ask whats going on and when i’ll be in surgery and none of them have any idea. One of them explained that I should definitely be in within the next hour because they wouldn’t leave me Nil by mouth for so long. She was wrong. An hour and half passed and I called another nurse in. She explained that their theatres were not open due to funding and staffing issues and they are waiting for the availability of the theatre used in A&E. I of course understand and anybody in a worse condition would obviously be a priority and the waiting game continues. I’ve only eaten a belvita biscuit in about 21 hours by this point and Ive only had fluids through my cannula.
My bums getting cold (ha) and an escape seems like the perfect plan. Ive been stuck in the same room for 2 days with no idea when i’ll be going into surgery, when i’ll be able to see Joshua again and whether my local KFC was missing me.
Anyway 10pm comes, Im in tears, Joshua’s with his nana for the night (another praise the lord for grandparents moment) and the nurse goes to collect a doctor. She confirms that I can have something to eat but I won’t be able to go into surgery until the following afternoon.
So obviously, I’m too hungry to care about the surgery issue and before Ryan can get his left shoe on, I’ve already sent him on his merry way to Dominos for a large pepperoni, some kickers and cookies.
Morning comes, I’ve got dry mouth from the pizza that I could kill for another piece of, I’m not allowed a drink of water and I’m ready to face surgery again in my bum-breezy gown. I spend the whole morning watching movies (I watched Me before You, which is a super emotional movie about falling in love with somebody before he dies, so I’m super dramatically emotional again) and am preparing for surgery finally happening when a doctor pops in.
“Hi Lauren, sorry to mess you around but it looks like you won’t be having surgery, we can’t fit you in, so were going to try an alternative option” she leaves the room and my eyes glisten across the room at the galaxy bar that Ryan bought me the night before. The doctor suddenly reappears and asks whether I’ve eaten yet, I haven’t, but I’m about to… She tells me to not eat and that the anaesthetist is here to discuss my surgery with me so it looks like its going ahead. He explained that they have a scheduled transplant at 3pm so they would definitely be squeezing me in before then.
Another five hours pass, 3pm has been and gone and no sign of surgery happening. The nurse is trying her absolute hardest to find out whats happening for me and nobody has an idea. A second doctor turns up around 4:30pm and explains that “Its not that I shouldn’t be having surgery, its just that they don’t have the room or staff” and after 3 days in hospital, hardly any food, no clue whats happening and plenty of tears, the doctor finally makes the big decision of … … … sending me home with antibiotics. The issue is still unresolved and after another hospital visit last week I was told that I will have to return to the hospital late August if the issue persists and possibly end up still having the surgery.
At first I was absolutely furious. I was angry that I had been messed around so much. There was no plan in place, nobody knew what was happening with me and we spent a lot of money that we had plans to spend elsewhere on a visit to the flippin’ hospital (ALL FOR ANTIBIOTICS)
But then the reality of the situation dawned upon me. Every member of staff that worked on the ward was brilliant throughout both hospital visits. They were rushed off their feet running from room to room to help each patient, majorly understaffed, working long shifts and every single one of them still worked so professionally and did everything they could to make my experience that little bit more bearable. The theatres are shut and they are having to send patients home untreated, which I presume like with me, that it will only bring those patients back in the long run causing further issues down the line.
Those poor nurses that had to make phone calls after phone calls to see if they could schedule me in somewhere else, the ones that checked in on me as they passed and probably didn’t have a second spare to have a think about what they would have for tea that evening.
We are so lucky to have free healthcare in the UK and I’m sure we have all at some point taken it for granted, but the NHS is deteriorating and it was hard to witness first hand. I appreciate the fact that our healthcare is free but when the staff are struggling, the patients aren’t getting the treatment they require and the hospitals aren’t getting the funding they need it begs the question: Where do we go from here?
Well I’m pretty sure most of you are aware, but for those of you who aren’t: In 2015 It cost the NHS £87,600,000 for paracetamol prescriptions alone!! Paracetamol administered from the hospital costs the tax payer 20 TIMES more than it does to buy paracetamol from a high street store.
An NHS webpage reads “Please think carefully and consider whether going to an A&E department is really necessary and the best option for you. You may be able to look after yourself at home with the right advice and information or you might need some help from an NHS service in your area. Of course, in a genuine emergency the A&E department will provide the best possible care for life-threatening illness and injury, but you should only go there in a real emergency.
As many as one in four people who go to A&E could care for themselves or use alternative treatment. In fact in 2010, in the North West of England alone, incorrect use of A&E departments cost the NHS around £21 million. A single visit to A&E can cost £124 just to be seen”
Please think carefully guys. I know its out of our hands whether our free healthcare does end sooner or later, but whilst we do have it we should to everything we can to cherish it.
Another page reads: “The emergency department is for patients requiring emergency care for serious and life-threatening conditions. Please use the service carefully so it can best support those who need it most – people with chest pain or blood loss, or who are blacking out or choking”
So please don’t go to A&E if you’ve got a slight cough.
Lets do what we can to save the NHS – because lets be honest, we’d be buggered without it!