Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Latest Elephant in the Room

As I said in my last post it feels as if there is another elephant in the room. At the moment we no longer worry about dementia or memory problems. Now our worries are centred around whether or not he is about to start another nose bleed. He is not an easy patient. By no means a patient patient. He is frustrated at being kept quiet. Only reading or watching TV. I remind him that if they had a spare bed available they would have kept him on the ENT ward for 7 days complete bed rest. At least here at home he can sit in the lounge to watch TV or amble to the toilet.

This last mad dash over to A&E was a bit stressful. I wasn't my usual level headed and organised wife/carer. I forgot minor little things when I visited. I forgot to take slippers. I failed to leave him with money. I forgot to leave him a pen and notepad. I did remember a comb and to re- charge his shaver. I did put credit on his patientline and show him how to use the system before I left for home. So I wasn't a complete careless carer.

He wants now to be prepared for another urgent dash to the hospital. So we are talking about this "elephant in the room". He has made a list of what he would want if he's kept in overnight. And items he would like if he is in more than one night. We are going to pack a bag and leave it in readiness in the wardrobe. If I'm not at home when he is spirited away by the paramedics then like a boy scout he will be prepared. I can just pick up the bag and follow along once we know if he is to be kept as an inpatient again.

Friday, 9 January 2009

999 for Emergencies

Once the hospital were able to find a bed for MyMan he was confined to complete bed rest for 24 hours with his nostril plugged. Once the plug was removed he was told to gently walk about for a while. Then the ENT specialist examined his nasal passages. He could not see anything that would explain where all the blood was coming from. So like the local DynoRod expert he employed a camera to negotiate the passage ways to see if he could find the cause of the bleeding. Nothing. So, once again the problem appears to be really high up. High up where they are "reluctant to operate unless we have to".

The only re-assurance we have is that we are not over re-acting by dialling 999 when we can't stop a bleed within 15 minutes. The extent of his bleeding isn't a minor matter. It is a bit more than 'nuisance level'. I find it very worrying and quite stressful. I also find it stressful in keeping my own anxiety from being seen by MyMan. There is another elephant in the room.


The last occasion that My Man was an in-patient,5 years ago, visiting times were 'any reasonable hour.' He would ask me to go over to see him as early as possible. Although semi comatose on a wave of morphine he would lie there, cling to my hand and ask me to stay as long as possible.

Now there has been a change for the better, visiting hours are restricted from 2.30 to 8 p.m. Much more civilised for us visitors. It's all very well for the patient. Lying there on complete bed rest with all meals provided. But for those of us still in the outside world:
  1. with at least a 45 minute journey each way - providing there is no ice on the roads, roadworks or an accident to negotiate.
  2. astronomical car park charges.
  3. along with the need to do basic chores, get a meal for self and field numerous phone calls from friends and relatives.

Having a spouse in hospital is no rest. MyMan may have been an inpatient for only 3 days but I found the whole event exhausting. At the end of each phone call many recommended that I take the opportunity to spoil myself. I was looking forward to a glass of wine, a meal and a DVD of Mama Mia before a hot shower and bed. As it was so many friends would call to check how I was and how MyMan was doing, that I barely had time for any of my planned indulgences.

I did love the solitude. I slept really soundly. Not one of the night time noises from prowling animals [badgers, foxes or the mice in the loft] disturbed my slumbers. Regardless of the noises, I seemed to know it wasn't caused by MyMan in need of help and I slept on carefree.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Bloody Waste of Time

A quiet Christmas, an even quieter New year yet still that bloody nose would suddenly erupt. I practically forced bed rest on him. Anything that might give us a few days clear of the bleeding nuisance. I went out earlier this week for hair appointment. Five minutes after I had left he had a gusher.

He called for an ambulance and was carted off once again to RD&E hospital. When I came home and found an empty house I didn't rush over to Exeter. I played it low key. I put my shopping away, made coffee, checked the post then rang to see what was happening. He was being examined by an ENT specialist. I still didn't rush over to be with him. Eventually he rang to say he was being admitted for an overnight stay. I then rushed over with all I considered essential to a man enjoying B&B courtesy of the NHS. He didn't want half of it. I forgot a bar of soap.

I think if I'd been with him in A&E they might have thought once again "she looks sensible" and sent him home under my tender care. For some reason medics tell me "you seem a sensible woman" - I'm not sure if it's a compliment or not. I can think of better. That's why I didn't rush over. I didn't want to influence their decision.