Sean's Stories

Posted by sean on January 21, 2019 at 9:20 pm in Health with No Comments

Despite being in hospital and dealing with medical dramas, I do not become immune from encountering everyday annoyances.

Here are just some things which have ‘ground my gears’ today. Admittedly, a couple of these are unique to a hospital environment, but most could happen anywhere…

The wrong breakfast
In hospital, you are given breakfast in bed. Not that I have much choice – where else could I eat it? ‘Breakfast on a Bedpan’, doesn’t appeal. Before you all write to the Daily Mail about taxpayers money, treating patients like royalty, the menu is basic – cereal or toast – tea or coffee. The coffee is instant. The bread tastes cheap.

This morning, I was asked a number of times, what I would like to eat. I confirmed coffee, one sugar, in a beaker. White toast, with jam. “No tea? No marmalade?”, asked the breakfast lady. “No, thank you”, I replied.

My breakfast arrived – marmalade on toast and a beaker of tea! At least they got the beaker part right.

The wrong patient
Within seconds of the aforementioned breakfast been placed on my bedside table, a porter arrived in my room. Apparently I was required to have a CT Scan – under doctor’s orders!

At this point, I was yet to notice my brekkie order was wrong. To put it lightly, I was NOT happy. The nurses keep checking that I am eating and drinking properly. How the feck can I do that, when I am carted off, before any food or drink meets my lips?

I realised all was not right, when the porter asked if my oxygen was ready to be transported. Now, I may have a lot of medical requirements, but oxygen cylinders are not one such need. Therefore, either the CT Scanner was underwater, or the porter had the wrong patient. It was the latter. They had walked into the wrong room.

These doors really should have numbers on, or something… just in case the sarcasm didn’t come across then, the doors do!

Born in a Barn
There is a nurse on this unit, who was clearly born in a barn. I wouldn’t describe her as having horsey features, plus she is a good nurse – she is caring, gives me my medication on time and knows what she is doing.

Despite all this, however many times I politely ask her to close my side room door, she almost always leaves it open!

You may think that I am being a little petty, with this moan. However, it ties in very well with my fourth and final gripe…

Noisey Neighbours
The ward where I am staying is not like your traditional unit – with a number of open plan bays, each containing 6-or-so beds.

The majority of the patients on this ward, have their own side rooms – which is lovely. I’d describe them as a university student bedroom. Student accommodation is renowned for being very loud – this place is no different.

Now, there may only be one patient to blame for this, or there could be multiple offenders. Someone, or some people, don’t share the same desire as I do, to keep their room door shut. Fair enough. I’m probably in a minority, over the door issue.

However, if you are one of those patients, who likes to leave their door open, don’t have your television turned up to the maximum volume. So far, this evening, I’ve heard The Chase, the news, what sounded like an entire Harry Potter movie and an episode of Coronation Street.

I thought I would rival my neighbour, and instead of using earphones, while watching videos on my mobile, I played the sound direct from the phone’s speaker. Anyone with a Samsung Galaxy will testify that the mobile can get very loud!

I was enjoying watching the latest Kevin Bridges DVD. It’s standup, but I thought it wouldn’t offend. Granted, Kevin isn’t as cuddly as housewives’ favourites, Russell Howard or Michael McIntyre; but Mr Bridges is certainly no Frankie Boyle.

All was going well until Kevin started ‘effing. He swore a bit more. A lot more. Then he dropped the C-bomb “I’ll kick you in the punt!” – or something along those lines. It was at that point I decided to use my earphones again.

As much as I dislike hospitals, I would quite like my leg fixed, and not to be evacuated from the ward and dumped onto the cold suburbs of Southmead…

Posted by sean on January 21, 2019 at 5:25 pm in Health with No Comments

The first part of this post felt like the longest story ever told, so rather than binning the boring bits, I took Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy approach. Instead of making one gigantic steaming turd, why not split it into three pretty big steaming turds? I think I’ll only to need to cut this poo into two – so, you’re lucky – no trilogy!

Part 1 ended with me entering my own private room, on a ward at Southmead Hospital. The room is, without a shadow of a doubt, exceptional, considering this is an NHS hospital. It reminded me of the photos of Kate Middleton, when she was in hospital, after having one of her vast number of sprogs.

Things I love about my own room…

  • It’s my OWN room
  • I get a relaxed, decent night’s sleep
  • The temperature isn’t stupidly hot
  • A massive window to look out of
  • Free WiFi, that allows me to stream Sky Sports videos on my mobile
  • A very comfortable bed
  • Privacy!
  • Not hearing old men moaning and farting, throughout the day and night

There is a widescreen TV (which I am yet to use), an en-suite bathroom (which I currently cannot use) and lots of latex gloves (for the nurses to use).

Despite all the plus points, there is one massive problem. The hospital is in Bristol and not in Bath. This causes a lot of problems for my visitors – especially Claire.

Whereas my wife and I live 10 minutes away from the Bath-based hospital, it can take over 45 minutes to drive to Southmead. It was so nice being able to see Claire over the last week. She was able to come and go, as we both desired. Plus, she could stay for over half a day. Due to the vastly increased distance, our time spent together will now be slashed on a massive scale. The sooner that I return home to her, our home and Roman, the better.

It was all a little crazy being admitted on a Saturday evening – especially during feeding time at the zoo. Basically, the ward staff were in the process of dishing out the evening meal to patients.

My Dad had told me that he would be eating crab for his tea. I joked about how anything fishy, especially crab, would be one of my worst meals ever. I therefore just had no choice, but to laugh, when I was offered crab cakes, by the ward, for my own meal.

As I had not ordered any food, the considerate nurses managed to put together a makeshift tea, from pasta, peas and rice pudding – without a crab, or any other marine life, in sight.

By this point, I was looking forward to falling asleep, in my new comfy bed, in my own private room. The thought of sleep never felt so appealing – especially after spending a week on a ward, with constant noise and bright lights, throughout the night.

Before I could set sail to the Land of Nod, I was required to take a trip to radiology for some x-rays. A pointless exercise. My leg was not strapped together properly. Apparently it must have a ‘traction’, before I could be moved.

Back to my room, I went. I slept… very, very well.

I was awoken in the middle of the night, to find a man playing with my leg. I mumbled something, probably incomprehensible. Looking back, in the brighter light of day, it seems that my leg was being strapped together, with the illustrious ‘traction’.

Sunday morning arrived, by which point I was Nil By Mouth, with only a 5am snack of coffee and toast, to keep me going.

I was taken on another journey, back to radiology, for a second attempt at taking a photo of my leg. This was where things became a tad farcical…

  • The radiographers moved me from my bed to the x-ray table
  • This was very painful and I probably made a lot of noise
  • Upon being placed on said-table, it was discovered that they were unable to take an x-ray as the traction was missing from my leg
  • Having endured the bed to table transfer, and not wishing a repeat, I pleaded that a photo be taken anyway
  • My pleas fell on deaf ears, and I was moved (painfully) back onto my own bed
  • I waited in a corridor, deep in the bowels of the hospital, while an understandably irate radiographer tried to find out which doctor said I had traction, when I didnt
  • No doctor would admit to the mistake. Probably wise
  • This lead me to believe, whichever doctor did say that I had the much sought-after orthopaedic tool, on my leg, must have either lied, guessed, or doesn’t know what a traction was
  • I started to fantasise about the doctor, responsible for my earlier pain, being locked in a caravan, with an angry rhino. I hoped that his back and leg would experience the same level of discomfort, that I was unnecessarily put through
  • My bed was then wheeled back into the x-ray room, for what seemed like attempt number 1,000, at getting an image of my fracture. It was, in fact, only the radiologist’s third effort – including the previous night
  • I felt aggrieved – had the radiographer just left me on the x-ray table – like I originally begged – more pain and suffering, on my part, would have been avoided. I chuck the radiographer into my fantasy caravan, joining the doctor and crazed rhinoceros
  • Somehow the staff got the x-ray taken, while I remained in my own bed. Very uncomfortable, but not agony.
  • You could relate my experience to Brexit – remaining is painful, but the alternative is a lot worse
  • I was wheeled out of the x-ray room, before eventually being returned to my own room.
  • By this point, the fantasy rhino has escaped. The caravan is just a pile of twisted metal. The poor doctor and radiographer are nowhere to be seen

I later meet the consultant. Presumably not the one responsible for the whole traction debacle, as there was no rhino-horn-shaped-hole in his chest. Am told what most doctors have been telling me for the past week. They are working on a plan. Things won’t be long. Blah blah blah.

A nurse later tells me that the doctors now have a plan. The problem is, that the plan does not involve any surgery taking place until Thursday

Very frustrating. I can’t really blame Bristol. It may be a weak excuse, but I was informed that I was just dumped upon them at the weekend. It does, however, make me wonder what was going on, during my week in Bath. The words “waste of time” come to mind…

Posted by sean on January 20, 2019 at 9:31 pm in Chocolate with No Comments

Freddo Frogs for just 10p each?

Am I in 1996?

Posted by sean on January 20, 2019 at 8:37 pm in Health with No Comments

I thought the title of this blog was rather fitting. I’ve had a busy 24 hours or so, and it feels like it’s going to take another 24 hours to write about it!

Ignoring this morning’s very early breakfast blog, the last time I wrote anything here was on Friday, while in Bath.

I have therefore decided to cover the last two days; over the course of two or three posts – I haven’t quite decided how many, but this is Part 1.

An Ambulance Ride, Crap Comedians and My Drugs Problem

I was on the phone to mum, having a massive rant, about the delay in getting my leg fixed, and the impact on my finances, sanity and quality of life.

Mid-rant, and while I was probably using the words “I’m going to be stuck on this ward forever”, a nurse interrupted, to tell me that a bed in Southmead, Bristol had been found and that an ambulance would be taking me in just a couple of hours. Finally!

My last 6 days in hospital were filled with many tardy experiences. I was therefore amazed when quite the opposite happened with Great Western Ambulance. Within minutes of ending the call to my Mum (in a much happier, less ranty mood), I was told that an ambulance was ready to collect me.

It reminded me of the days when I would go into town on a Saturday night and drink in pubs. If I was cold, tired and in need of my bed, any taxi I ever ordered, would always be running horrendously late. If, however, I had pre-booked a taxi for something like 11pm; I would find myself having a great time and with more than half a pint of cider left, only for the driver to turn up 20 minutes early.

With the assistance of a helpful nurse, all my belongings were quickly packed up into bags, before a pair of burley paramedics packed me onto a stretcher.

There was a long delay, where I was forced to wait in a corridor, on the stretcher, while nurses tried to print my drugs chart, in order for the receiving hospital to know what pills were making me rattle and prevent me from climbing onto the metaphorical pain ceiling.

The younger of the two paramedics was joking with the nurses, his older colleague and me. In truth, he was just telling us jokes, as opposed to joking with us. They weren’t even jokes, they were crap statements and anecdotes. Despite this, he was cracking out the gags, as if he was on Live at the Apollo.

The worst thing about the situation was that I felt obliged to laugh. My attempts at faking a laugh were not that convincing and ranged from a grimace to a weird grin, as if I was having a stroke, along with a chuckling noise. It appeared that the nurses and the other paramedic, found his attempts at humour, as funny as I did.

I think he should definitely stick to driving poorly people around in those vans, with the flashing blue lights and sirens. Either that, or ask if he can be a supporting act for the equally unfunny Miranda Hart.

The reason for the drugs chart not printing – the latest delay in my departure from the ward – was, funnily enough, down to the nurses struggling to use the hospital’s computer system – a system I work with, throughout the day, as my job! I was tempted to offer to help, but decided that this was one of those times where it would be best to just keep my mouth shut. I would probably end up getting something wrong and making the situation a hell of a lot worse!

We eventually escaped the hospital, complete with drugs chart, my bags and, unfortunately, the Kevin Bridges wannabe. While Kev and his mate said sorry for how cold the weather was, I told them their apology was totally unnecessary, and as I had been on a hospital ward for a week, where the temperature gage on the radiators  was permanently turned up to the highest setting, the cool winter’s air felt so refreshing.

When you travel by ambulance, there are normally two paramedics. One drives the vehicle, the other sits in the back, with the patient – remember that scene from Silence of the Lambs, where Hannibal escapes?

Luckily the one who loved to tell rubbish jokes, drove the ambulance. The journey was about 45 minutes, so listening to an awful comedy routine for almost an hour would be positively hellish. Plus there was no means of escape. Even if I had managed to kick the ambulance door open, before fleeing down the bypass, with a broken leg, there was the added problem of the fact that I was strapped to the stretcher.

I drank coke, while checking the football scores on my phone. I started to feel rather nauseous. I haven’t been travel sick since I was a young child, but if anyone fancies reliving that famous childhood ailment, spend a couple of hours in the back of an ambulance. Fortunately, I believe they are all equipped with spew bowls.

We arrived at Southmead Hospital just in time, to avoid me seeing my lunch again. Had I decorated the inside of the ambulance with fifty shades of vom, at least I would have been able to see the smile disappear from the would-be comedian’s face.

On leaving the ambulance, dinner still inside stomach, I was given a tour of the North Bristol Trust hospital. As I was lying flat on my back, staring at the ceiling, I didn’t get to see any of the corridors, or other such fascinating features usually seen in hospitals.

We arrived at the ward. Like in Bath, there was a lot of waiting around, for somebody to help. When we were dealt with, it transpired that we had gone to the incorrect ward. Each ward is split in two – A and B. We were in A. I bet you can guess where we should have been!

We eventually found the correct ward and even my bed – in a side room all to myself. How wonderful. Now I could rest and relax, before surgery – or so I thought.

To be continued…

Posted by sean on January 20, 2019 at 5:40 am in Health with No Comments

Look at this photo and take note if what you see…

A clock. Nothing special, besides a rather nice design.

Look at the time, on the clock…

Just after 5pm. Better think what you’re having to eat for your evening meal.

Wrong. It’s not just after 5pm. The time is 5.11am. That’s right – AM.

I know what you’re thinking. “What in God’s name is he doing up at this time, yet alone blogging about it?”

Either that, or, “Wow. Sean’s been out to a club, has been partying all night and just arrived home”

Afraid not.

I have just woken up. I haven’t been to any party or nightclub. I am very much still in hospital. Southmead Hospital, in Bristol, to be precise, but we’ll come to how I moved and ended up here, on another blog, much later today, or even tomorrow.

The reason I am up at this time is because I am eating and drinking. Before today, I thought only foxes, badgers and jetlagged Australians visiting the UK, ate at this time.

I am eating my breakfast – under strict doctor’s orders. I may finally be having surgery today (although more likely, tomorrow), and instead of making me starve, while I remain Nil By Mouth, I should have breakfast now.

The reason that I am blogging about this, is sadly not under the instructions of a doctor, wanting to read my blog.

I am blogging now, in order to wake myself up and allow time for my coffee to cool down, to a temperature which will not cause my gullet to develop 3rd degree burns, if swallowed.

Trying the coffee now, it would appear that I can now drink and eat. I’ll leave things like this, for now. I’m not even going to spell-check or proof-read the blog. It’ll be a case of drink coffee, eat toast, get back to sleep!

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