Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Hospital Drama......

Honestly you couldn't make all this stuff up. I'm used to watching medical dramas on TV and knowing that they've had to exaggerate stuff to make it dramatic and exciting but this time it was for real.

Firstly I will shout loudly that I think our NHS is wonderful, Ipswich Hospital has never let me down and all the staff work really hard under lots of pressures (mainly just not enough of them).

I mentioned early February that I had a headache, just before I had that horrid flu/virus/bug thing for a couple of weeks too and the cough turned into a chest infection, they all cleared but the headache remained (it's been six weeks now)! My GP and I were working on it and I had a CT Scan booked for two weeks time.

Well I'll miss out the boring part and go straight to..... I went into A&E at 8pm Tuesday with the worst head so far and NHS Direct told Hubby to take me straight in!

The Medical Bit....
Basically they've tested everything, head ct scan, lots and lots of bloods, bp hundreds of times, ecg, chest xray, urine tested for proteins, reflexes and back of the eyes! All results good/normal apart from very high bp which they think is the cause as I had a prescription change at the end of January and headaches started early February. So they are on the case and introduced another bp pill and I'm being referred to the dietician.

Very good news as at first they were talking about brain bleeds and tumours which they've thankfully ruled out, also with the tests one consultant suggested doing a lumbar puncture which I don't think is a pleasant procedure but phew they changed their mind on that. .......all enough to raise the bp even higher!

The full series all in one night.....
Episode 1
We arrived at A&E about 8pm to a very full waiting room, the signs said 3.5 hours waiting time but thankfully we were seen by a doctor about 10:30pm (no triage first). After a full examination we were told I needed to stay in overnight so I sent Hubby home for stuff  (hate hospital gowns) when I was sent for a Head CT Scan at 11:30pm, had a lovely nurse with me who was very chatty.

Episode 2
It was just after midnight when I was taken to the assessment ward, there were no beds only trollies and the nurse put a sheet and pillow on the one in bay 2 and I was told a doctor would come round to see me then I'd be moved into a ward,  so I sat in a chair. I mentioned to the nurse that I'd had nothing to eat or drink since lunch and been sick during the afternoon, the lady in the next bed overheard and said she was really hungry too so the lovely nurse brought us both tea and toast :-) Hubby arrived back and found me and left a bag of stuff, bless him!  The ward had minimal lighting and the staff were walking around quietly to encourage sleep but I'm wide awake sitting in a chair.

Sadly there was a woman just out of my sight who sounded very old and frail saying the whole time "help me, help me please, I need help" each time a nurse went over (very often) she was asked not to remove her oxygen mask and how can they help, but she never gave a proper answer so she must have been very confused, her name is Iris. Another bed nearby had a woman sleeping but every 15 mins the nurse turned her lights on and took ages to wake her and did all her obs.

About 2am the woman in the bed to my right got up and went to the toilet right beside me, then obviously had a problem and pulled the red cord. It was impressive how many members of staff arrived instantly and all piled into that little room, I could hear everything and they worked as one team! She seemed ok once they had her back in bed and the ward settled down again, a little quieter too as Iris had been moved out.

Episode 3
4am and I'd still not seen a doctor when a porter arrived and moved me to the observation ward, so there I got undressed and into bed hoping to get a little sleep. That's when I discovered where Iris had been moved to, opposite my bed, and still removing her oxygen mask and calling out all the time.

In the next bed to my right lights went on and lots of noisy help for that elderly frail lady who had pulled out her cannula and was covered in blood, they changed everything and sorted her and all was calm for a very short time until she broke her catheter which took a lot more noisy help and clearing up and the poor patient called Jean was not being helpful as she was obviously confused, all this time they had pulled my curtain half way for her modesty I think.

About 5am and the doctor comes to see me, tells me what's what and prescribed a pill. I lie down again then very soon after just as I'd got comfy again a hand comes round the curtain and Jean fell on me! I hit the alarm button and held onto Jean who wanted to carry on her journey when she was obviously unable to stand. Jean was put back into bed but I then felt that I needed to keep an eye on her and twice more talked her back under her covers before she attempted more escapes!

Each time I've got comfy, this time around 5:30am the nurse gave me tablets.

6:15am and it woke a couple of others so would have woken me had I been asleep, there was lots of male shouting and swearing down the corridor, definitely sounded like a male patient being very aggressive to the staff, it went on for a while then sudden quiet so either security had removed him or the staff had resorted to the tranquiliser dart!

7am lights on and tea came round and yet another bp check.
It was declared morning, but typically both Iris and Jean stayed fast asleep lol
About 8 to 8:30ish and all the beds were being changed and people given help washing, but I did say I'd only got in my bed 3 hours before so they just tidied it when I went to the bathroom to wash myself.

Episode 4
8:40am I came back from the bathroom and was told to gather my stuff and hop back into bed as I was moving to another ward. Sent Hubby a text as he was coming early. Had to send someone back to find my shoes and socks left behind, one nurse collected them then another nurse reported back that she couldn't find them, hmmm seems a lack of communication there! Thankfully breakfast came round on the new ward, breakfast hadn't arrived in the old ward and I hoped I hadn't missed it as my belly was rumbling and if you've had no sleep you need food more than ever.

10am a consultant, three doctors and a nurse gathered round my bed. The consultant knelt beside me and explained everything really well, although he did scare me a bit suggesting some invasive tests he thinks I might need.
10am and Hubby also arrived but didn't know whether to come through the curtain or not so didn't and I repeated it all to him when the doctors left.

Can you see I had nothing better to do than clock watch, even the batteries in my phone were dying so I couldn't play in case I needed to ring Hubby (thankfully he brought my charger).

Episode 5
Stopped clock watching now I had company lol
Next pharmacist came round
Next was taken for chest xray
Next was the ECG which nurse said looked OK
Hubby went outside to put another parking ticket on the car and text our children as he had no signal on the ward, my lunch arrived so I text him to eat before coming back. What did we do before mobiles?

All done by lunchtime but I never saw another doctor and I kept mentioning to the nurse that I needed discharging.

Episode 6 finale
The rest of the afternoon was playing that classic married couples game with Hubby of "what shall we talk about next / you think of something to talk about / no you think / but it's your turn / no I started the last conversation".

5:30pm finally discharged yaay!

So eventful and very tiring (you must be exhausted just reading all this) and a lot of times funny and surreal, but all in all a worthwhile two days to get so many good results, as my GP and I were dealing with it but while it was bearable there didn't seem to be any rush. I'm actually glad it became urgent or my doctor sending me for each test one after the other could have taken forever!

So fingers crossed this new bp pill is the magic one, but if it is or not I'll keep you up to date, but no more dramas eh?

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Theatre: Shadowlands......

Shadowlands is the stunning drama written by William Nicholson that poses classic questions about religion, pain and love, through childhood innocence and the wonder of late-flowering love.

Starring Stephen Boxer (Humans, The Iron Lady, Doctors) as C.S. Lewis, Amanda Ryan (The Forsyte Saga) and Denis Lill (Only Fools and Horses and The Royal) this West End and Broadway hit is the love story of C.S. Lewis - Oxford don and author of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters - and American poet Joy Davidman.

Lewis is comfortable in his life at Oxford University, smug in his convictions about God and His plan for the world until Joy and her young son enter his life and the bewildered theoretician of love in the abstract finally confronts its direct presence.

This powerful drama raises questions about religion, humanity, society through a gripping story of love, belief and pain.

Following on from its original incarnation as a TV drama then subsequent stage adaptation and finally a film starring Anthony Hopkins, the play has gone on to win multiple awards as well as the film adaptation picking up multiple BAFTA and US awards.


This was such a moving story. Brilliant script for brilliant actors. Doubt there was a dry eye in the house at the end!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Camera never lies, a matter of perspective......

O was here with me the other day and as a short distraction from him playing on screens all the time I showed him a short promo video of Dynamo the magician showing how some of his illusions are created.

We were both keen to have a go and these were our first attempts....
Trying to look like standing and holding something too heavy up in the air. 
We talked about blue-screen backgrounds, which he already knew about. 

Drinking from a giant mug. 
Talking about perspective. 

Able to stand on a mug (but we didn't get the background
 height right so you can still see his back leg. 

Tiny boy peeping through giant flowers. Again wrong 
background as the photos on the wall gave O scale, 
might try this in the garden when it's warmer. 

Giant boy pointing at mini photos. 

There's a very tiny boy kissing a giant hama bead head. 

He's walking up the door (sort of)

We obviously both need to have a good think about backgrounds and collect some objects to try again another time. Good fun though!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Theatre: Last 5 years.......

Recently a major motion picture, The Last Five Years is an award winning musical from Jason Robert Brown. Starting and ending with the beginning of a passionate love affair, the unique style of storytelling and infectious score makes this one of America's best modern musicals.

The lovers are Cathy and Jamie. Actress Cathy’s story starts with the end of their relationship following their tale backwards to when she first fell in love with her young talented lover. Novelist Jamie’s story begins with their first passionate encounter and heads forward towards heartache.

The Last Five Years stars Katie Birtill, who took the title role in Sweet Charity last autumn with a talented live band creating Cathy and Jamie’s world as it crumbles and reforms around them.


This was a matinee on a cold and wet afternoon when I'd be doing little else, thankfully, as it really wasn't one I'd recommend.

The two performers were very good, their singing voices are excellent and they definitely had a brilliant connection between them.........but the story was boring, many missed opportunities for instance when he sang that this relationship is breaking his mother's heart but didn't really explain why, only because I'm Jewish did I pick up the slight hint that he was marrying out of his faith, but it was such a subtle hint that I'm sure most others would never have noticed. Also none of the songs were memorable as they were just singing dialogue they could have spoken.

The two friends I went with felt exactly the same as me, however it looked like nearly all the seats had bums on and the final applause sounded like everyone enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

And out the other side (almost)..........

Whatever that bug/virus/lurgy was it certainly took its toll, but it's almost gone yaay!

Recently I've been getting back to normal and I've managed lunch out with x-work friends, although I had to choose a starter to have when they all had main courses as my appetite was still poor.

Last Thursday I went to art group having missed the one two weeks before so that was good.

Saturday a friend of more than 40 years celebrated a big birthday with a tea party at her house and we felt really honored to have been invited, so I was thrilled that we made it and thoroughly enjoyed it. They were also very pleased that we'd thought to take our big urn which saved them lots of kettle boiling.

Sunday was mother's day of course and Daughter came over with O and E and she cooked dinner for us all, which was yummy and a real treat. Son not only sent my card in time (very unusual) but phoned me that evening for a long chat which was lovely.

And yesterday was the monthly coffee morning. A small one this time with just seven of us.

Today I'm pottering around the house, waiting for my GP to ring (can't book appointments in advance but we can book a phone call, odd eh) as after the bug thing I've still got this persistent headache :-(