Saturday, 27 January 2018

Longest January ever!

After an amazing Christmas and New Year, it was down to earth with a bang, although we have had quite a good trade this January. 

But for me this January has to be one of the longest and worst I've gone through in a long time! Yet again, my health has let me down (despite having got myself in the fittest shape ever with my personal training!) So after almost 3 weeks of having batted the cold, the chills etc etc etc (God this gets boring) I was really poorly and my GP had me go into our local big Hospital: Derriford in Plymouth. 

I was really reluctant to go there but there is a moment in time when you realise that sometimes you don't have a lot of choice as to what life has in store for you, and all the tablets and potions are just not working. But it also came at a time when the media were telling us how awful it was in the hospitals up and down the land and that corridors were the new wards, staff were on their knees and people were dying from lack of care.  So none of that made me want to chance my arm by going into a hospital that I've not always had the best of times in - let alone when they're on Black alert!    

But you know what?? When you can't get breath into your body and you're pretty sure that the last gasp you took really might be your last - well!? There's no more aces to play, its straight in to ED where a Staff Nurse took one look at me, told me to be quiet (in the nicest possible way) to save what breath I did have, whacked a cannula into my arm in the quickest time I've ever had it done and rushed me over to recuss!!                                                            Well bless me, it's all a bit of a blur after that as the medical team did what they do best..................they filled me with all the stuff I needed, drips, nebulisers and oxygen!  I'm telling you when all this is happening all I AM concerned with is getting out the other end! I have to remember to keep fairly calm (pah!) let the drugs do their stuff and hope and pray that this time ain't the time it doesn't work. Sound melodramatic?? Trust me it isn't!! It also isn't easy to keep calm!                                                                                    

Once stabilised, I was then transferred to the 'Majors' bays, where the treatment continued and you're monitored to see what they'll do next with you! In my case, it was for a few hours, but nothing like I had been expecting, and then transferred to MAU where normally you're observed for overnight or whatever, and then either home or too a ward.  I was then on MAU for 3 days after which a bed on a respiratory ward was found for their specialist care. 

My reason for writing such a personal account of my illness is that in all of this experience, and in each and everyone of the departments or wards, with all the pressures the teams were under I received nothing but brilliant care, kindness and amazing professionalism.  Derriford is a huge hospital and it's NOT always received the best reviews in the world in the past, but something IS clearly happening that is making a patients experience (my experience) so much better. 

There is no doubt that they are massively understaffed, I saw staff going home totally exhausted, there were night shifts in particular that saw a Senior teams with insufficient Health Care Assistants, staff pressured when prioritising call bells from disorientated patients (myself included one night as a fever broke),  endeavouring to get drugs and bedpans to patients in a timely manner. 

But from the Housekeepers like Anne Marie who remembered my name and the fact I liked Custard Creams from the first day on the ward, to young Bertie a first year Dr who was kindness itself - one of so many young earnest Junior Drs - to HCA Mia who made the nights shorter with her humour and dry wit and my undying gratitude to HCA Isobel who made a terrifying fever in the wee small hours of the night (very slightly) less terrifying!  To the Junior Sister Sarah who admitted me to the respiratory ward - took one look at me and said 'Don't worry, you're in safe hands'.  To the consultants & senior Drs I saw EVERY day, sometimes twice a day, their very manner re-assured me I was definitely going to be walking out, but patience was needed. All the radiographers, blood takers and pharmacists - Thank you! To the countless other professionals who I didn't take their names because I was too busy trying to breath! To the patients in my ward who also had their struggles but who became a big family very quickly, I thank you. I hope I also did my bit to help YOU.  

So how do we make the NHS fit for purpose?? I have no idea............. I do know it can't keep be being used as a political football and 'just' throwing money at it won't make it ok! There has to be a cross party approach with people who really understand what's needed. Those people are really not necessarily MP's!!!! 

I do know that friends of mine have left the NHS because they cannot stand to not do their job properly and as they trained to do it, they also can't stand the unrelenting pressure.  The NHS of now is not the NHS as it started out, is it an element of paid care that's coming?? I would pay more but would you? I do think we're being naive if we think the NHS won't crumble one day, and I think that's coming sooner than we think.  

So what for me next?? Well, its slow baby steps to full recovery and hopefully recommence my personal training beginning of March. But until then I'm off work until March, although even today I had a business meeting at home with some of the team - spring menu's etc. I'm also still doing all the social media stuff and getting myself on really top form for a trip to Rioja in February to Santalba Winery and our friend Roberto!! So whilst I'm not physically at the Vic, I'm still very much there and working behind the scenes! 

Here's to the warmer weather to come in the spring, my eternal gratitude to everyone who I came into contact with at Derriford and in the nicest possible terms I hope I don't see you again for a very, very long time! 

Love always 

Liz x x x