Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Glad to be alive?

Yesterday's visit to Mansfield's Kings Mill Hospital was rather harrowing; but not for reasons you would expect. Grandpa wasn't on death's door, thankfully. He's not well and he wasn't good. But he was a spring chicken in contrast with his neighbours.

On his part of the ward their were three bed spaces:
One was ominously empty.

The gentleman next to my Grandpa was his own throughout the whole 2hrs visiting time. He constantly chewed at nothing, which made it near impossible for me to understand him when he beckoned me over and whispered at me through his oxygen mask. I was worried he'd die there and then before I could work out what he so desperately needed to tell me. He wanted his trolley moving, because he was worried someone would knock it and break something. Not really the dramatic "The treasure map's buried under the mulberry bush, and make sure Elizabeth knows I'll always love her..." I was expecting.

The bed next to him was occupied by a man who didn't/couldn't move. He constantly had an oxygen mask and the only way I could tell he was alive was by the rasping sound I assumed was him breathing. Half-way through our visit the curtains were drawn about him by nurses and we heard a shout of "Mr Jones, does it hurt when I do this?". I didn't hear a response, but I hope it didn't.

Opposite (nearly) lifeless Mr Jones was a man who mistook me for a nurse. When looking for a chair I discovered him wandering around the ward. He stared frantically at me and asked for water. I stared frantically back and told him I didn't know where the water would be! This in turn led to him following me around the ward as I hunted for a nurse. The nurse I did find was unhelpful, even when I made it clear that I didn't actually know who the geriatric tugging at my cardigan was, that he wasn't with me.

The sixth member of the ward posse didn't appear to be in a particularly promising condition. He was surrounded by family members with tear-stained eyes. I tried to offer them some privacy and purposefully looked away.

Today I visited Solihul Hospital with my mum. That's 2 hospitals in as many days. Don't these things come in threes? I'd rather not have a third.

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