Well, this hasn’t been my finest of months… From mid April I’ve had a stabbing pain in my lower right stomach – after being seen by MANY a consultant ‘is it the appendix?’, ‘is it her ovaries?’, the assumption is that I have a pelvic infection – and so begin two weeks of antibiotics and heavy painkillers. My immune system is practically non-existent so I’ve had a fair few infections in my merry time, but I’ve never known anything like this. Given that doctors couldn’t work out exactly what was causing the pain, even after multiple scans, I was in hospital, discharged and readmitted three lovely times in ten days – demanding painkillers left right and centre.
Notice my snazzy space pyjamas out in full force;)
Now, this isn’t a ‘break out the violins’ post – it’s been horrific but people battle far more troubling illnesses and I, by no means, feel like I’m the worst off. Instead, this post is to talk about the absolutely WONDERFUL nurses I was treated by – the champions of care and kindness. I understand that some people think the NHS is pretty shambolic at the minute, and with waiting times at an all time high, I can appreciate that. However, I think it’s important to acknowledge that doctors, nurses and everyone else are still working crazily hard to look after people.
From my trip to the walk in centre on the first day of the pain to the day I left hospital – every single one of the nurses I have come across have been kind, compassionate and hard-working to ensure the best care possible for their patients. Whilst I appreciate this is their job, we don’t hesitate to shout about musicians and their ‘great new song’ or sing the praises of footballers on their ‘excellent defense’ and in my opinion, nursing is one of THE most important professions and they don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
In my bay on the ward, the average age of the patients was probably about 60 something, brought down significantly by me a humble life span of 20 years. It was a privilege to hear some of the conversations that went on between the nurses and the elderly patients, some of whom were clearly lonely; they took time to talk about what they had done when they were young and to ask about their families, while also making sure their hair was brushed and they were nice and clean – important things in making sure a person still feels like a person and not just a patient number on a chart.
The nurses were also brilliant at reassurance, I must have heard the phrase ‘don’t worry, we’ll get you sorted’ a solid number of times and every time I heard it, I felt more at ease – sometimes simple words can make a big difference and it’s important for them to be said. My mum, shoutout to Glenda here for being THE BEST Mum that has walked the earth (sorry to you other mothers, it’s true) sat with me the whole time and made me laugh even though I felt my worst – as I’m an adult now (HA HA, so laughable, I’m just an oversized child) she wasn’t able to stay with me through the night but the nurses were all ‘don’t worry, mum, we’ll make sure she’s settled and we’ll look after her’ – bless ’em. As I’m not a parent, I can’t begin to imagine the stress of watching your child in pain, but I would imagine it’s a great comfort to hear that someone will be watching over them when you’re not there.
We’ve also got to cheer for the sheer persistence and determination of the nurses to get their patient seen and reviewed by doctors, surgeons and the rest. Obviously, consultants oversee SO many patients and are doing the best to prioritise and get to each one as soon as they can, and as much as it’s understandable, waiting for hours can be so frustrating when you’re in agony. ENTER THE NURSES – each one of them putting up a bloody good fight for their patients to be seen. It’s important for everyone to have someone speaking up for them and this is what they do. Special shout-out to Adam, a nurse in his final year, that got a consultant to see me by paging him non-stop until he got a reply – he admitted it wasn’t the most professional way to go about things, but in his words ‘if it gets you seen, I’ll do it’ and there’s something about that scrappy determination that I really respect.
I also want to cheer for the brilliant student nurses who looked after me – these girls and guys were at a similar age to me and cared for me so well – like holding my hand while I was crying. I have such an incredible level of respect for them, they’ve chosen a career path of looking after people and I think it’s so admirable. One time I was admitted over the weekend, on both the Friday and Saturday, two lovely nurses looked after me and had a chat with me to distract me from the pain, they could have been out on the piss let’s be honest, but instead they’ve chosen a path of look after people and credit to them.
So, I don’t for one minute think that doctors and surgeons aren’t doing a remarkable job – but special shout-out to the nurses, the absolute champions of care, who deserve all the recognition in the world for their kindness.
Stacks of love,
P.S. Please excuse any grammatical errors in this post – codeine makes my head spin.