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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The UK Hospital Tour Continues

"If you are going through hell-keep going. " Winston Churchill

Les had to go to hospital on Sunday evening.  He injured his stoma on Friday, jamming the corner of the dinette table into it when he tried to get our from behind it quickly. It was one of those things similar to stubbing your toe or knocking your funny bone, and you think, "Damn that hurt!" and then you forget about it. He was fine on Saturday, but by Sunday he was in a lot of pain. I put him in a taxi and took him to Birmingham City Hospital A & E.  They admitted him to the SAU (Surgical Assessment Unit) overnight. He had an impacted bowel and his stoma was traumatized. They can only hold patients for one night at SAU so they sent him by ambulance to Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich. This is at least 45 minutes away from where we are moored and takes a 15 minute walk to Snow hill Station, 30 minute tram ride to W. Brom and a 10 minute bus ride to Sandwell Hospital.

I trekked there Monday thinking the visiting hours were 2-4:30 as advertised in the Sandwell and Birmingham Trust NHS Hospital guide, but apparently Sandwell changed their visiting hours to 9-11 am,  3-5 pm and 6-8 pm--only those changes weren't announced in the patients' guidebook. I arrived at 12:30 during the bloody sacred protected mealtimes and they wouldn’t let me in to see Les despite my refusal to leave until I had seen my husband and knew he was all right.

An orderly told Les I was there and one of the sisters (as the nurses are called here), told him to sit out in the hallway with me! Great way to treat patients don’t you think? Les overheard two cleaners discussing the fact that their ward (Priory 2) was under going an inspection. One of the women said after dusting around and around for about five minutes, "We've been in this room a long time. We should probably move to another room." Les queried a nurse about the inspection. Apparently they didn't know the exact time it was taking place, only the day, so it was all hands on deck to make things look good--and those bloody patients had better behave.

We sat out in the hall together for forty five minutes and then I left because the the floor matron wouldn’t bend the rule for me. I got home shortly after 4 p.m. and took delivery of five bags of coal from Sherborne Wharf who was kind enough to take my details on the phone and use the local water taxi to deliver my coal. Many thanks to Emma at The Fiddle & Bone pub who assisted me in making that happen.

I decided to lie down for a nap and woke to someone beating on the bow doors. It was Les!!  The staff at Sandwell gave him a sandwich and some soup after his stoma began to trickle again, along with loads of morphine—and decided he had recovered enough--they sent him home! He had to make that awful trek by bus, tram, etc. to get back. He wasn’t home two hours and he vomited green bile and was absolutely screaming in agony as the drugs wore off. By the time I called an ambulance to the boat Les was wildly hysterical with pain. Grateful thanks to Tom and Jan on NB Waiouru for their help with the ambulance and their support over the last few days. 

It took 15 Milligrams of morphine to take Les’ pain away. They are keeping him over night at City hospital (I tried to get the ambulance to take Les to Queen Elizabeth Hospital but they refused—patients have to go to the nearest hospital and City Hosp. is only five minutes away.) Unfortunately City Hospital is closing and surgery patients are routinely carted off to Sandwell, so that is where they are taking him tomorrow. We were told that if Les didn't want to go to Sandwell he would have to self discharge and make his own way to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and start the entire triage, A & E, etc. all over again on his own there. I am so angry I could chew bullets. His care at City hospital has been very good and it is only a five minute bus ride away from Cambrian Wharf where we are moored.

Apparently his stoma is dilated with adhesions on his intestines from the original surgery and the radiotherapy, which causes the loops of intestine to stick to one another. He is nil by mouth, on IV fluids, and they are going to watch him until his stoma empties itself. The doctors don't want to do surgery unless they have to because it will cause more scarring and adhesions.

I dropped my phone in the canal during all the ensuing stress and drama. Wednesday I will be arranging for a new phone, and attempting to get a Tesco order delivered. I’ve got laundry and grading to do, a trip down to Warwick on Thursday for a physio appt. and I feel like life is falling apart all around me; like I am the little Dutch boy with all my fingers and toes in all the holes in the NHS dyke that is about to fail—again. So far Sandwell is the eighth NHS hospital we've dealt with in two and half years. I am sick with worry about Les and wish fervently he was in the hands of people who were focused more about the quality of his care than their inspection.


Elly and Mick said...

Oh Jaq! So so sorry to hear of your woes. I truly can understand your fury. Red tape is just ridiculous isnt it. We have thoughts with you both and wish Les all the very best. Elly in Oz

Carol said...

Oh, Jaq, you really could do without all this messing about, our hearts go out to you both. Hope all gets sorted very soon and Les is back home with you. Lots of healing hugs to you both. xxx

Boatwif said...

Les has texted a message at 8.45am
“I will be transferred who knows when to a hospital for a specialist flushing treatment. Ask Jaq not to chase around and worry.- just sort out the phone and then we can communicate”.

Martin James will also try to place this message on facebook for you.
Love Sue and Ken

Boatwif said...

From Les:
I am in London Ward on 2. Visiting 11-12, 3-5, 6-7.
Phone is 01215073488


Jennie said...

Hi Jaq, So sorry to hear this news. We are back home, so very close and standing by to help where we can. We are ready to take you to Warwick and back tomorrow for physio - just phone and let us know where and when you need us. I will also send an email with our phone numbers - I have been through the phone in canal business and know how awful it is trying to retrieve the data. At least you did not follow the phone into the canal. If you need transport for hospital visits, transporting Les or anything else we are here ready and waiting. If Les ends up nearer to us we have a spare bed you are welcome to use. Anything you need, please just ask - we have no current commitments, so we are at your disposal. Love to you both Jennie and Chris

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Oh bless you and thank you all for your love, encouragement, and support. Today--Wednesday is better now that I have a new phone with my same old number. Coffee with tom and Jan on Waiouru perked me up and tom lent me his phone to call Les until I could walk into town and get a new one.

Just hearing Les' voice put my word a bit better to rights. He is on a different ward at Sandwell and several senior sisters have apologized to him for the shabby treatment we received.

Sue said...

It is great Jaq that you have some help around you. We are thinking of you both xx

Judith nb Serena said...

You don't know us but have followed your blog for a few years directed there by Tom's posts. I can't believe all you have had to go through and can only hope Les is soon out of pain and well enough to rejoin you on nb Valerie so you can resume your travels. Look after yourself and don't let the buggers grind you down.
Judith and John
nb Serena

Jennifer said...

Merry meet jaq bright blessings to you both. Jennifer and Peter nb Mactra's Filia

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs