Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog


[X-posted to blog, facebook, and lj. Again, apologies if you see this multiple times]

There were a few things I left out in my last post (Can you blame me? Typing at 4AM! LOL)

I wanted to add –

-Moving me to the ward where I’d be with “women my own age” was a bit of a joke. I was the youngest there. The woman across from me was the same age as my mom, the woman in the bed next to me the same age as my aunt, and the fourth woman was in her mid-80s. Monday we did little talking, but on Tuesday when 2 of the ladies were discharged, Sue (the one my mom’s age) and I became chatty so it was still a good move to move me, as the ward I had been on previously was full of all mid-80s women in various stages. The first ward also was very large and this one only had 4 beds in the room, so it was fairly quiet.

-As I said, the food I was given was awful. The biggest problem was, the NHS serves the hot meal at Lunch time, and since each day I was on “Nil by mouth” for Lunch, I had to skip it. The person serving the food always put aside whatever was cold from the meal for me to have when I was allowed to eat, but somehow the night nurse couldn’t find it so I was given those crap sandwiches. I can’t properly judge on the quality of the food, since I didn’t really eat NHS meals.

-The nursing staff….lovely. The daytime ward sister and Vicky were both amazing, as was the other nurse we had on Tuesday (Trina or something like that?). The night time ward sister also was amazing, but there was one night nurse who wasn’t very friendly OR encouraging. On Tuesday night when we were crossing our fingers that I’d still go, her only words to me were “you might not. There could be an emergency”, when all the other nurses were crossing their fingers along with me and telling me “I’m sure you’ll go”. I mean, way to be supportive of your patients! Not to mention, she kicked Tim out the one night before I knew if I was having surgery or not….something I found out later she wasn’t allowed to do as he is my spouse! Random visitors have to stick to visiting hours, but spouses are given all-access. Very annoying. But I loved Vicky. She really pulled out all the stops on me and really was hounding the surgery department to get me in or for them to make a decision. I plan on sending a letter of thanks to her and the hospital as soon as I can hold a pen again!

-Being able to be mobile, even while attached to an IV was great. I never once had to ask for a bedpan/commode, as I was able to always walk to the loo. On Wednesday, I was even allowed to take a shower to wash my hair (before being re-hooked to the IV). We dubbed my pole “Fred”. I haven’t been in a US hospital in years, but the last time I was in one (1998), the nurse forced me to use a bedpan even though I could walk.

-Wearing my own clothing was even better. The last time I was in a hospital in the US for a surgery (1998), I had to immediately change out of my clothing and put on a hospital gown. Here, I only had to wear the gown for the duration of my surgery. I was allowed to wear pajamas (or whatever I wanted, really) the entire time I was waiting, and about an hour after the surgery I was told I could change back out of the gown to be more comfortable. Nice. I also was able to keep my knickers (US: panties) on the entire time, including under my gown. When I was in hospital in the US, I was told I had to remove everything under the gown.

-I really can’t compare services received in the US vs. the UK. I never spent a night in a US hospital other than when I was born, and was a day patient 3 times (4 if you count the spinal tap). The only thing I CAN say is that I don’t think we’d have been able to afford a three-day stay in hospital if we lived in the US.

-As far as US Emergency Room vs UK Accidents & Emergencies go, I think the care was about the same. In the US, you’d have to wait if someone “worse” than you showed up just like you do in the UK. I was seen by triage about 45 minutes after arriving, and was called back to see a doctor about an hour after that. The long wait was only for a bed. In the US, I think the wait between triage and seeing a doctor might have been longer, but again, it always depends on the reason you are there. If you walk in and you are bleeding with something sticking out of you, I expect you’d get immediate care in both the UK and the US.

As far as an update on me goes –

I have a constant pain. The painkillers make it bearable, but it’s still always a dull pain. I found out yesterday from the nurse that I need to see a nurse every single day to have the dressing changed because they need to pack the incision. This really messes with our plans as it includes having the visiting nurses come see me over the weekend to change it on both days, and the visiting nurses cannot guarantee what time of day they will be able to come. During the week, I can easily get to my appointments if Tim has to work, as the practice is only a mile down the road. It’s walkable, or if I don’t want to walk, the bus costs 50p and goes from 3 houses down from me with a stop right opposite the practice.

Yesterday, I had extreme nausea after my nurse appointment. I will make mention of it to the nurse today, as I’m not sure if it was from the pain of being poked, finally coming down from the anaesthetic, or something else. I also might ask for a stronger pain reliever, but I DO NOT want morphine, which is what they almost gave me at the hospital. Thanks, but I don’t fancy being loopy for the next three weeks.

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4 Comments so far

  1. falnfenix April 1st, 2011 14:17

    re: triage wait times

    that also varies by hospital. one hospital in Towson has a “fast track” for people they can see and get out quickly. when i totalled my car, i was in and out within 2 hours, and that included x rays.

  2. Rebecca April 1st, 2011 22:54

    Nice! I went to the ER in the US 4 times – one time was in MI when I broke my foot and the ER was completely empty when we arrived, so I didn’t even have to wait 10 minutes!

  3. Lucy April 2nd, 2011 8:45

    I was in hospital for 3 days after having my son a few years back and the food was dire then. I suspect it hasn’t improved much. So don’t feel you were missing out!

  4. Rebecca April 3rd, 2011 15:32

    My SIL said the food was bad, too when she was in for a week. I can say the sarnies were gross!

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