Have you seen in the news how some hospitals are now under special measures?
Last year when my Dad got ill, the GP sent him to sit in Accident and Emergency at one of those hospitals. He was there for hours on end aged 85 and struggling with his health. I know resources are limited but I just can’t think this is right. Fortunately my Dad had my husband sitting alongside him and doing what he could to make the experience as bearable as he could. At the very least, he was able to offer my Dad company but how many old people do not have anyone to tag along?
Eventually Dad was seen and I think sent to a bigger hospital miles away another that is now under special measures. My husband drove him there and he was admitted as his test results gave cause for concern.
Now, this might be me being totally inadequate but something tells me I won’t be alone in going into some sort of emotional meltdown on seeing a parent clearly not well at all. There is this voice that screams inside “I do not want this to be happening. I want this to stop. I hate this. I will not and cannot cope.” It is selfish but it happens.
I am not the most assertive person in the world and although I kick against authority for others, I am not that great at doing it for myself.
We visited Dad in hospital and I sat in a chair whilst nurses came and went giving mixed messages to my Dad. He said that they had checked his liver and kidneys and they were fine. Huge relief at the time so weird how it says hepatitis was the cause of his death only weeks later.
It may be that Dad was still looking after me and trying to make things look better than they were. It may be that he was not hearing (he was very hard of hearing) or that he was not understanding (I am pretty sure he had mild dementia). It is probable that he was frightened. Hospitals should be geared up and vigilant for all these common situations.
At one point a nurse came and when Dad said the GP had given him tablets to take on holiday with him (the holiday he never had) she said it was probably taking them that had caused his illness. Dad had not taken them. He was just trying to give her as much information as possible. She was not listening actively and surely that is essential in healthcare.
I can’t even remember all the details of what happened and when. I know Dad came home and was clearly not fit to be out of hospital. I know he told me he did not trust Scunthorpe hospital and was going to try and work out a way to get admitted to York instead.
In all of this, I should have probably done a lot more but it is so tough to take charge when you are used to being the child to your parent. I let my husband ask questions and then my older brother sort of took over as Dad’s next of kin.
I felt powerless and I am cross with myself for trusting that surely the hospitals knew what they were doing and would protect my lovely Dad.
He got his way and was admitted to York. I turned up to see him there finding him in hospital pyjamas that did not cover his dignity. He told me how he was waiting for a drink and had asked ages ago. A nurse said to me that he was trouble. Now we hear that patients are denied water and almost written off presumably on age grounds. He had a fall and the person that found him was a patient which makes me wonder what the nurses were doing?
Is it a sin to grow old? Are we really saying that someone has become so old and frail as to be of no further use to society. Tell that to my children who lived with and adored their grandfather and who learned from him every day.
I don’t even know what point I am trying to make but I felt a need to blog about this.
I am not sure I did enough.