Sunday, 24 November 2013

November 2013 - No news is good news

Me again. I actually missed out a weeks blog, because there really was nothing much to report. Just more of the same. Feeling good, feeling energetic and healthy. I did have some results back about Cholesterol though - I have had 3 tests now. The first was probably about a year ago, and it was a bit high at 7.2, which was a bit of a bummer. Then I cut out some bad foods like butter and eat more fruit and had another test about 6 months ago, Cholesterol went up to 7.4....double-bummer!! So I mentioned this to (someone, can't remember who) who said that perhaps my hormone imbalance and Pituitary Tumour were possibly affecting the results, so to have the test redone once that was all sorted out. So I did, and it came in at 6.4. I am really happy it has gone down, and perhaps it isn't quite as low as I'd like, but at least it is an improvement. Just got to keep eating healthily and keep up the exercise.

I did have another experience with the NHS this weekend though, not for me, but for my Dad. The upshot is, he's fine, he had a fall at home and has a bit of a sore cut up face and some chipped teeth, no bones broken just his pride hurt. He has to stay in Portsmouth QA Hospital for a couple of days just to check he is ok (sudden fall, urine infection and loss of consciousness) but nothing untoward.

But the NHS once again showed how good it can be, when it is at its most stretched....A&E on a busy Saturday afternoon/evening. I arrived at A&E reception about 15:00 and although the waiting room was full up, I was seen by the receptionist straight away and directed through to the "A&E queue". The queue snaked up the corridor towards the 'proper' treatment area.

Now I've read the reports in the news about patients waiting in corridors and how terrible it is, but in reality it didn't feel at all terrible. There was a kind of 'queue triage' going on, my Dad had his observations taken a couple of times whilst in the queue and he (along with all the patients I saw) were taken out of the queue at least once to go through all the important questions in advance of getting to the treatment area. Dad had his wounds cleaned up and assessed. The nurses were really brilliant, and it's those small touches that could easily be missed, that put my Dad at ease....the hand squeezes, the warm smiles and the "there-there's" that made an 81 year old man just that bit better in the moment. You surely can't teach that kind of care, it must come from within.

When he finally got wheeled into the treatment area, we started in earnest with more observations, blood tests and then a visit from a doctor. It really was pandemonium in this part of the ward, full up with patients with such varying needs. Others like Dad who had obviously been in the wars with blood here and there, basically you name it, it was going on....

I did hear one mention from a concerned nurse, whispered to another nurse, about "4 hours", which I believe is some kind of national target for treating A&E patients. I certainly wasn't counting the hours but I reckon my Dad was definitely treated within the 4 hours and whisked through to the A&E observation ward. In all honesty though, for something non-life threatening like my Dad's injuries it surely isn't just about how many hours he spent going through the system, it was about how much dignity and respect he was treated with during his stay in A&E and whether the quality of his care was acceptable. Generally I'd say his care was acceptable (and Dad agrees) although I did have to ask for the nurse to bring him some food and drink about 7pm as Dad is a type 2 diabetic and really needed some food as it was a long time past his normal teatime. 

So by the time I left hospital, getting on for 20:30, Dad had been through the "system" and was comfortable in the observation ward and safe and warm. Couldn't have asked for more.

So there you go, not just an update about me, but about my Dad and the NHS. 

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