scribbles tagged ‘Royal Berkshire Hospital’

victoriana

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Sick Note From RBHThe UK provides “Statutory Sick Pay” SSP to provide people who are temporarily unemployed (up to 28 weeks per annum) due to ill health with an income – becuase employers are not required to pay them while they are ill. Small and medium sized businesses cannot afford to give thier employees the benefit of normal pay during illness.

The standard weekly rate for SSP is £85.85 a week. Try living on that!  My weekly living costs, even without work related travel are substantially more than £85.85 per week.

My sick note is for 4 weeks off work from the date of the operation, 5 weeks after the accident. If I took that time I would have to live-off my savings. I started working again before my savings were touched.

I can’t afford to be sick


5 bits of fabulous banter »

it’s just a twist to the right

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Physio Excercises

12noon 7th September

18 days after surgery Jess walked me through my exercise regime – to be repeated once an hour for 15 minutes. That’s intense, almost no room to do anything else!

  1. Lie forearm on a table. Keep the elbow still and roll forearm left then right as far as it will go.
  2. Move thumb across the palm then away from the palm – as far as it will go.
  3. Move each finger back as far as it will go and hold for 20 seconds.
  4. Curl all fingers  into a grip position – squeeze a foam ball
  5. Move hand from wrist – backwards and forwards, side to side, as far as it will go.

Massage the skin around he scar with a good moisturizer to encourage healing and blood flow.

It feels like a ritual, casting a spell…


4 bits of fabulous banter »

No, No, No….Yes

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Repeat 3 times:

me: Hello, my name is Wendy House. On Wednesday 29th August during my appointment at the fracture clinic the Dr told me that I would have my first physiotherapy session next week, which is this week. The receptionist told me that I would recive a letter with the appointment time – I haven’t recived a letter and I’d like to check what time my appointment is.

I’ll forward you to the [name] department.

Reach the Physiotherapy department and eventually get a good result:Physio

They shouldn’t tell you to phone us.

me: They didn’t. They said I’d get a letter, and I haven’t so I decided to phone you.

They shouldn’t have said that – we don’t send out letters.

You’re not on my system. Hang on while I look at these files.

Oh! you’re right on the top with a note to phone you and make a direct appointment – broken arm. It will take some time to enter all this data but I can make the appointment now. Will 11.40 on Thursday suit you?

me: Yes. Do I go to the same place as before? The fracture clinic on Floor 2.

No!  Go to physiotherapy.

me: So I’ll walk in the main entrance and ask reception to point me to physiotherapy?

No! They could send you anywhere. Are you driving?

me: (giggles) No, I’m on foot

Go to accident and emergency, stand at the entrance facing the main car park and we’re on you’re left

me: Thankyou


5 bits of fabulous banter »

that’s neat

Friday, September 28th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Wrist - stitches removed4pm 28th August: 6 inch scar revealed

10 days since the operation, with my arm in a cast, I returned to the Fracture Clinic for my first follow-up appointment. The statuesque painted blonde nurse admires the neatness of my scar and stitches as she removes the cast. The petite naturelle orthopeadic physiotherapist also compliments the neat scar that’s healing well.

Is that all you can move it?

It hurts quite a lot….

The physiotherapist demonstrated a regime of daily exercises.  Our schedule involves weekly physio check-up sessions and an overall progress check in mid October. After explaining this she just stood up and left the room.

I sat there in silence for a while, It was a wierd segue. Was this the end of the session? Was she coming back? Was someone-else coming in? Should I leave now? The statuesque painted blonde nurse wandered in and gave me a ‘sick note’ for my employer – so they can claim my Statutary Sick Pay.

Do I leave now? Will the appointment times be sent to me?

Go to reception, they’ll sort the appointments

The young receptionist was flustered. She couldn’t work out how to book my Physio appointments. I was the 3rd patient this afternoon that had asked them to arrange this type of appointment….

The patient behind me in the line laughed:

I used to work at this hospital, there’s a 2 week waiting list for a physio appointment, you wont get one next week!

The young receptionist looked bewildered, earnestly asking me:

Do YOU work at the hospital?

No. I’m just a patient. The blonde nurse sent me here when I asked if the appointments would be sent to me.

Oh, if you don’t mind waiting I’ll go and ask them

Thankyou, I don’t mind waiting at all

She smiled, her wonderfully humble and respectful way added a little joy to this otherwise dour place.


4 bits of fabulous banter »

out of Theatre

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

6pm (ish)  18th August *

Hospital WalkwayI can’t be sure of the time when I came round. I wasn’t screaming. A nurse noticed me gain consciousness, she was prepared with my request for a pain killer

This is the equivalent of drinking a bottle of Vodka, but it doesn’t taste as nice

A porter wheeled me back to the ward where I greeted my fellow patients and happily climbed back into bed 26. As I started to snuggledown ready for a drug-enhanced dreamy sleep

Stout Agency Nurse walked over with a big smile:

You can go home now

Instant tears. She pulled the curtain around my bed as I spouted all the reasons that I felt that I couldnt go home now:

  • I wasn’t stable -  I could hardly stand up!
  • I would have to use public transport which the patient guide recommended that I should not do (no lift arranged until tomorrow)
  • there is noone at home to look after me for the critical 24hrs after the surgery.

She told me that I had misunderstood. Naughty me misunderstanding while I’m drugged-up. She wasn’t sending me home right now. I asked her to leave me alone, which thankfully she did.

Then I climbed out of bed, opened the curtains to my neighbouring patients who were all real sweeties gently teasing me about this and that.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

finding the Theatre

Monday, September 24th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

3.30pm 18th August

The stout nurse bought over 2 of those ‘operation gowns’ – knee-length, short-sleave baggy jackets with small ties. She asked me to wear one with the ties at the back and one over the top with the ties at the front.

Where are your ID tags?

I ‘ve never been given any

You must have ID tags

She wandered off and returned with 2 plastic strips showing my name and date of birth, attached one around my good wrist and the other on my ankle. Strange dresses and plastic wristbands?  Just like going to a festival!

We’re walking to the operation Theatre? Should I wear my sandals?

Stout nurse grabbed my arm and used this, unnecessary, technique to steer me down the corridor towards the Ward’s reception desk. At the reception desk she confirmed the name and route to the operating Theatre. I didn’t take notes. As we walked the hospital corridors where other people were fully dressed stout nurse explained that she was an agency nurse so she didn’t know her way around this hospital.

We got lost.

Stout agency nurse asked directions and we found the right set of swipe-card operated doubledoors. The nurse told me that she had meant to borrow a swipecard from the ward reception, but forgot.

I started crying.

Are you in pain?

A flood of words burst through my tears about how disconcerting it was when you have to walk in a silly dress amongst fully clothed people, how scarey it is to have surgery, and how getting lost then being locked out of the operating theatre just adds to a general level of distress.

You’re not in pain?

Normal pain for a broken and dislocated tibia

She didn’t understand. I put some effort into quelling the tears, wiping my face on the sleeve of the operating theatre gown. A lady’s face appeared in the round window of the secure doors. She wore green and a little hat. Her body-posture inspired confidence.

The anesthetists assisstant greeted us. She looked me in the eye as she told me her name, her role and started explaining what was going to happen. I gave the agency nurse my sandals as I climbed onto the operating table. I told her about the times before that I’d had a general anasthetic and how I was scared of waking-up screaming in pain like my last operation. The last thing I remember before waking up was her reassurance that I wouldn’t wake-up screaming in pain….


5 bits of fabulous banter »

waiting

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

 8am 18th August: on the Trauma ward

Healing with the NHS feels like one long ‘wait’ punctuated by the occassional specialist randomnly dropping gems of information.

I woke on the Trauma ward as a young chap with glasses and a neat short-back and sides arrived.  Ed, Mr. Powell-Smith, with his side-kick scribbling in a note-pad by bed 26. My bed. Ed explained that he was the Royal Berkshire’s expert hand and wrist surgeon,  I was scheduled for a 4pm operation but that might be delayed if someone with more urgent surgical needs arrived during the day.

The day passed way too quickly for a girl who’s terrified of surgery. It passed interestingly enough, too quickly.

The kindly lady in bed 24 was recovering from an appendix removal last night.  She wanted to use the commode (wheel chair with a toilet in it) rather that the bedpan (Cardboard bucket shoved under your bum in the bed). It’s a dignity and comfort preference.  More comfortable and dignified to sit up. For the staff its more awkward to find the commode; wheel it to the patients bed; help the patient out of bed onto the commode; wait; help the patient back into bed afterwards then empty the commode. The stout ward nurse argued with the lady in Bed 24. The nurse didn’t want to let the lady use the commode. The lady started crying, the nurse bought the commode.  Afterwards I listened to the lady in bed 24 tell me about her illness and her family. She wasn’t tearful when she was listened to. She was witty and bright.

The lady in bed 25 was a retired costume designer for Hammer films. She told me how Marlon Brandon used to phone her at home and what a naughty boy he was.  Nicolas Cage was an arrogant idiot with an unnecessarily oversized entourage! We all became lost in her wonderful stories about film stars dead and young.

The stout nurse came round. She didn’t believe that I’d seen the surgeon because there was no mention of it in my hospital notes. Can you see a theme emerging here? She started arguing with me. Again, it felt like I was being blamed, accused of lying, when hospital notes are incomplete. I stood my ground without tearing-up:

I don’t know why it isn’t in your hospital notes, but he did come round and he did talk to me. I can describe him, he’s short and young with a neat haircut and glasses. I’m on the operating schedule for 4pm.  I made a note of it in my book, would you like to check my note book?

The stout nurse looked grumpy, she didn’t want to see me notebook, she harumphed off. To the lady in bed number 27.  When the stout nurse left the lady in bed number 27 – the lady was crying. I bought the lady in bed 27 some hankies and fresh water for her jug. Not terribly helpful but it showed we all noticed and cared.

I shivered as I wondered whether the stout nurse’s talent, for making patients cry, gave her pleasure


7 bits of fabulous banter »

the sound of sadness

Thursday, September 20th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

9pm 17th August: check-in

Friday night on a Trauma ward was set against a background chorus of quiet crying, distressed mumbling and snoring. A blanket of private sadnesses reverberating through the ward.

Royal Berkshire Hospital

The lady at Ward reception wasn’t expecting a patient to checkin. She went off to find someone who might know about me. A 2 inch thick folder of patient notes lay on the reception table facing me. I read my name on the cover. Mainly empty forms, no X-Rays, no notes, a couple of interesting letters from my GP. The lady returned.

Bed 26, follow me

The silver haired patient in bed 24, opposite, smiled and nodded in a silent welcoming way.


4 bits of fabulous banter »

I’ve got a date, approximately

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

2pm 16th August: Hospital check-in arranged

Patient informationAfter nearly 5hrs witing at the RBH fracture clinic a young lady wearing a white jacket and stethoscope tells me what’s going on. Hooray!

There’s a hand and wrist specialist surgeon on duty covering Accident & Emergency over the weekend. Since the operation will be tricky they want a specialist to do it so they’re going to book me a bed in the Trauma ward for the weekend and the specialist will operate on me inbetween the accidents coming-in.

So, hospital checkin on the 17th August after 7pm.

Meanwhile, I provide Pre-op information to a nurse in another building. The nurse gives me a large glossie brochure about coming into hospital.

Don’t you just want to climb onto that trolley?  So welcoming…


4 bits of fabulous banter »

quite serious

Sunday, September 16th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

12.30pm 16th August

colourful fingersAfter the X-Rays I retrurned to my normal status of main corridor fire hazard. A nurse came out from the back rooms, moved a child off a chair and sat me down in that chair.

The consultant has seen your X-Ray’s, he thinks they are quite serious and you need an operation. He’s called our hand and wrist specialist who agrees. So please wait here.

As she leaves I start crying.  I’m not sure if it’s because:

  • of the relief that RBH have actually considered my injury.
  • a nurse has been nice to me – rather than treat me as an inconvenient object.
  • reaffirmation that my injury is quite serious – I’m scared of surgery.
  • I’m developing a bad habit – cry way too easily.

Luckily this time I’ve been accompanied by two large monogrammed white (mens) Hankeys that can handle the waterfall


5 bits of fabulous banter »

incompatible systems

Friday, September 14th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

12noon 16th August

my broken wrist before surgery Wrist in plaster of parisnurse: you must go to X-Ray

wendy: have they seen the X-Rays from Worthing?

nurse: the consultant wants so see today’s X-Ray

wendy: ok

Waiting outside the X-Ray room I chat with a shy Welsh man on crutches. He’s holding a CD from Pontypridd.

Were you on Holiday in Wales?

No, visiting my daughter who lives there now

He explains that the Reading hospital system can’t view his CD copies of his X-Rays, so he’s having the X-Ray’s done again. I suspect the same is true for me, but my nurse was focussed on what can and should happen rather than what doesn’t work.

The CD contains an executible file for a small program that views the X-Rays and enables them to be exported into standard file formats. It was easy to view on my PC. I suspect RBH’s system prevents users from being able to run exectuibles from CDs – for security reasons.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

standing-on-crutches-room only at the fracture clinic

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

handwritten sign11am 16th August

A nurse announces that the clinics for 2 specific doctors are running 90 minutes late and 2 hours late. I have no idea which Doctor I’m seeing, no paper appointment.

Another nurse moves the people with fractures out of the main corridor to allow hospital traffic to pass. She explains to us that standing in the corridor is a fire risk.

I’m the only person with a fractured arm, everyone ese has an injury to thier legs. Standing on crutches in the main hospital corridor.

I grin at the man who has a mini plaster cast on his toe. He looks suitably embarressed.


what do you think of that »

you’re not on OUR lists

Monday, September 10th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Transferring "PID"4pm 15th August: RBH are not expecting me.

I wandered to the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) to

  • find out where I needed to go.
  • personally doublecheck tomorrows appointment time.
  • hand-over my Worthing Hospital CD of notes and X-rays.

The Royal Berkshire Fracture Clinic weren’t expecting me.  They had no appointment booked and no record of a phonecall about me. They didn’t want my CD to check my notes in advance of the non-existent appointment. I felt betrayed by Worthing hospital not having clearly established the appointment with RBH.

The RBH Fracture clinic reception staff were not happy at my turning-up, unannounced. They tutted and huffed at the inconvenience. I quietly cried. They ignored my tears making it easier to let those tears flow.

They double-booked me into the a clinic on the morning of the 16th.


5 bits of fabulous banter »

leaving Worthing

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

1pm 14th August

Worthing hosppital gave me a CD with my data on it. They told me this includes notes and X-Ray. I was to carry this information to the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) in Reading town. Apparantly, human hand delivery is more secure and reliable than using a cloud based system or encrypted email….

I was impressed that the two hospitals use compatible healthcare software so they can share electronic data. This assumption was wrong. I thought I was being transferred.  This assumption was also wrong. I was told that the RBH fracture clinic was expecting me at 8am on the August 16th. Guess what? Sigh…

view from Worthing PierTime to catch a few busses and a few trains…

When you’ve got a broken arm everything takes longer and people are more able to offer help… an elderly gentleman helped me to carry my small bag onto a bus.

 8pm 14th August: Arriving in Reading

Home with my cuddly kitty, fresh bed linen, and tea on tap. A wonderful sense of relief.

A long journey in less than 2 days and more to come…

 


7 bits of fabulous banter »