Sunday, October 15, 2006

A grunt

In case you didn't know, I don't get on with my smother-in-law. We have long since come to an understanding that it is best if we don't spend too much time in each other's company.

On Tuesday she became the proud owner of a new hip and has been holed up in the local mega-hospital ever since. In the last five days I have had to spend more time with her than is possibly good for my own health as the MD, rather conveniently, developed a life-threatening flu.

So all is good. The S-i-l has a new shiny hip, is already walking about and looks to be on the road to recovery, so what's the problem?
The problem is, that a packet of salt has been loitering under her bed for three days, they can't find a cup to put her drugs in, she broke her plastic cutlery and had to eat her dinner with a spoon. Every night that I have visited, her tray has been left on the table, her bed looks as if it hasn't been made for a week and there is no help forth-coming when she needs to go to the loo. Today she got stuck on the toilet for nearly an hour because the special seat for hippy patients had gone missing.
The health care cannot be faulted. The S-i-l is pain free and is healing well but what happened to basic care. Care of the small things, the comforting things, a smile from the nurses (who all look like they have got terminal PMT). Does it take much to offer a kind word, a joke or even a set of real cutlery. What do they think she is going to do, stab someone for lack of heart? I would!

16 comments:

skint writer said...

has my monitor gone funny or have you gone all pink and girly?

Seriously, what the hell happened to the NHS. when I was a lad, I tore my arm open on a nail, walked to the local doc's house a few hundred yards away with a towel stopping me bleeding to death.

The doc saw me straight away and cheerfully stitched it up while chatting amicably to my mother, then sent me on my way

Then there were just two doctors and a receptionist serving the area, now with virtually the same population, there are at least seven doctors, at least three on duty at the same time, six receptionists, a practice manager, a nurse manager, several nurses and god knows how many pen-pushers sitting in the local health board's offices supporting them.

and that's besides the general hospital in the area which is about ten times bigger than the old one

grrrr!

Minx said...

Caught me playing! Got fed up with pink in about five minutes. What about this?

Oh yes, the post....
One mega-hospital now serves the whole county. If you are thinking of going into labour anytime soon then you had best start out now!

Susan Abraham said...

The nursing service you mentioned sounds horrific, Minx.

I knew straightaway through intuition - before you wrote this - that you don't get on with your mother-in-law. And that you couldn't even if you tried. Yet, you care from the heart.

The lack of basic care you mentioned happens in other countries too these days. The attitude of many nurses have changed with the times. Perhaps stress & a materialistic ambition being the main culprits.
Of course, I wouldn't say everyone but just a good chunk.

My inkling - & I hope I'm wrong - is that one of the easiest places to find genuine care amongst nurses would be volunteers on the front line of disaster zones.

As for stabbing someone, give those nails a go...just kidding!

love

Susan said...

I'm afraid that things go to hell as soon as government gets involved. Bless your heart, Minx, you've got a soft spot for the old m-i-l whether you want to or not. I hope she's feeling better soon. God-willing the new hip will do wonders.

Minx said...

The last time I came across nursing staff that appeared to care, was when my lovely mum was in the hospice waiting to die. Apart from the paid staff, there was also a few voluntary workers and mum's last days were wrapped in love. I still say a prayer for this.

clare said...

Weren't they supposed to be bringing back matron? They could do with someone like Hattie Jacques in charge keeping them all in order. Things like leaving trays around is just going to encourage bugs.

Really love this new sophisticated format, Minx.

Atyllah said...

It seems world over that it is in private care rather than nationalised healthcare that patients are treated with dignity. The fact that this is so is despicable, aren't all humans created equal? Don't all people deserve the same level of dignity and care? The world is a place of very wonky values.
I hope S-I-L is better soon. Perhaps your indignation at her treatment will go some way to making things better between you - our lessons come from the damnedest places.

Sam Wright said...

Minx, I'm a Ceertified Nurses Aide working in a hospital, and I want to tell you that what you described is actually horrific for a hospital!
Don't put up with that! Find the ombudsman or social worker or the administrator and voice your concerns!

jta said...

I can't comment on the national health, but I think Atyllah has a point about lessons. In 1965 I acquired a MiL who, I thought, was beyond all reason and all hope of redemption. To say we didn't get on doesn't begin to describe it. Ours was relatonship of mutual hatred and animosity, without let and without quarter. But the intensity of the conflict abated over the years--one can't stay at that pitch forever--and gradually we were able to occuppy the same room, and eventually even to converse. Long story short, in 1995, on my divorce from Hecate, her daughter, we agreed to suspend contact on the grounds that Hecate was entitled to the undivided loyalty of her mother. Fine. But MiL died last year, in her high eighties, as did my own mother this year. At my mother's funeral I sat dry-eyed, feeling it was all for the best, suffering over etc etc. At MiL's, I couldn't stop the tears no matter what I told myself about what was or wasn't for the best.

What I'm saying, I guess, is don't give up on her--or stop fighting her, execrating her, or defending your territory. Just leave a little room for the seeds to grow. After all, you love her son...

Sharon J said...

Basic care definitely differs from hospital to hospital. Most of the nursing staff in our local hospital don't understand what 'care' means, whereas when I'm sent to Salford for specialist treatment, there's rarely a problem with basic care. They also have far more respect for each patients individual needs and instead of taking over, they actually let us do things for ourselves (like administering drugs that we take at home).

Being as the level of the problem isn't the same in all hospitals, I can only guess that it's something to do with the way the individual hospital is adminstrated and how that affects the morale of the nursing staff.

Confucious Trevaskis said...

You don't get on with your mother in law? ......tsk tsk - shame on you!

Minx said...

And would you like to tell them why? No, it would take more than a blog post to cover that one!!

Anyway, she has been moved to the only ward left open in a small cottage hospital (ah those were the days). For the next two days, before she gets kicked out again, I hope that she will receive the care that any human is entitled to.

jason evans said...

Nursing is in bad shape in the U.S. also. I'm afraid it's a lost art.

Confucious Trevaskis said...

Ermm......I take that back...apparently

Debi said...

Where did my comment go? I KNOW I left a lengthy one ages ago re the state of the NHS and ok I did go on a bit (can you believe?) but I never expected to disappear in a puff of smoke ...

Minx said...

Debi, I believe that you were here in spirit. What did you say anyway?