Having been in hospital for the last five weeks after a hip operation,  I now feel able to get back on the bus, and  try to get in touch with all the friends that I neglected during the last couple of years. I should have only been in hospital for a couple of weeks, because the hip operation was straight forward.  Unfortunately,  I had a bad  fall which dislocated the new hip, which had to be reset.The result of this accident was that the carers who were going to look after me at home had gone elsewhere, so I was stuck in hospital. Meanwhile, the Covid virus had reared its dreadful head and everything changed.. It felt as if the whole world had gone mad, nothing would ever be the same again. I felt as if our beautiful planet was seeking retribution for the way we had been treating it for the last years. No one is safe, at my advanced age, I feel on the front line. .I  am now staying at home in my comfortable two room flat in isolation. My children were allowed to come and look after me for the first week out of hospital.They proved to be excellent carers, for which I am truly grateful. I am now on my own with the help of good  professional carers. One  comes at 9.15 to help me get washed and dressed, and I am expecting another to call at 8 30 to make sure the I am not on the floor. Falling over is my biggest fear as I am very wobbly. My new hip is much better, but I still have  painful knees which makes walking very difficult.  .

Now that I am in isolation for 12 weeks, I have plenty of time to write. I do not ..pretend to be any sort of writer but  I do feel like talking to my friends in the outside world, even though my punctuation is terrible, the spelling probably worse. I think the it is important to talk about my experiences in a truthful way, so that people are not frightened about going into hospital for treatment, or to have operations, mainly older people like myself. Isolation is fine for a little while, specially after the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital ward.There were no serious cases of illness, everyone was in for corrective surgery. It was a  large ward for women. We were mostly there for either knee or hip operations.The knee operations  looked very  painful, as the mostly middle aged women forced themselves to walk up and down the ward exercising their new joint,  many were in tears. I had been given a new left hip joint which was not too bad at all. However, my accident caused a small furore. It happened, because I had fallen asleep leaning on the small table over my chair. Unfortunately, the table had wheels that ran off under my weight, throwing me down in the middle of the ward. I awoke up in the middle of a dream, screaming. The nurses were not allowed to touch me, so about five of them rolled me onto a bed sheet, then lifted me back onto the bed, Many new X-rays followed. I still had a lot of pain, so even more X rays. The end result was that they had  missed my new hip, which was found to be badly dislocated, so had to be reset..  This was the reason that I spent so much longer in hospital, the other being the shortage of home look after me at home, as I live on my own.

I must now have a word about the nursing staff.. It took me quite a while to work out the different stages of seniority. Those nurses dressed in pink were the students studying for the degree, they all have to have this before they can give out the medicines. The nurses dressed in green were mostly older and experienced. They did much of the work except giving out the drugs. These nurses had worked for years, had families, but could not find the time to go back to college to study for a degree. I found them to be wonderful,  so experienced. The next group were dressed in light blue. this group had more responsibility while the darker blue dressed nurses were the staff nurses who gave out the medication. The nurse dressed in navy blue was the Sister in charge of the ward.  My ward was run by a truly international group of nurses.There were quite a few highly qualified Indian staff nurses who settled here many years ago. They had children in the local schools and husbands, also nurses, doing night shifts.This also applies to a large group of dainty Phillipino nurses whose children filled the classes of the local Catholic school. Most of the young staff nurses were home grown, they had gone straight to University from school. I cannot praise this group enough.There were also exceptions. One morning, when waiting for my strip wash,. I was confronted by a 6ft 4in tattooed male nurse ready with the sponge.There was nothing else to do but to get on with it. He was an exceptionally good nurse who worked on both the male and female wards.

I found all the staff both friendly and helpful, even the kitchen staff, who wheeled those horribly noisy heated trollies with our choice of meals.They seemed to remember exactly what we liked or did not like, very quickly. Mentioning food, ,considering the numbers they had to cater for, the kitchen staff did a very good job. Their porridge in the morning and their rice pudding were exceptional.

I must now talk about the Surgeons whose patients we all were.They were all middle aged men, mostly Indian  and British.They were accompanied by their young registrars, young Indian men and  by a few young British women.There was a doctor on call at all times. Each surgeon had their own group of patients ,either pre or post operational.They did their rounds at about midday, having started operating at 9 o’clock, and would continue in the afternoon.They were all kindly, their registrars made sure that we were all comfortable and not in any pain.

I would like to wish all my friends, and neighbours the best of health during this difficult time, I know that your imagination can play tricks on you. I developed  a very runny. nose and sore throat a few weeks ago. I was worried for a while, until I remembered  that the cherry tree outside my window was in full bloom. I had hay fever, which has now abated, after the wind has blown the blossom away Now I have to come to terms with  life in isolation.After five weeks in a busy hospital ward, it will not be easy,, but I will do my best.

Now that I am home in my flat, I am alone except for the two carers who call in the morning and in the evening.  I am also lucky to have a beautiful view from my living room window. It looks out on a park surrounded by the most wonderful copper beech trees, which at the moment are bare of leaves.This park is now empty of visitors, most people obeying the governments instructions not to congregate, so spreading this dreadful virus.I can watch the solitary runners and walkers as they take their exercise..My mind goes back to the ward, remembering how we passed the time, waiting to go home.Time seemed to drag by, no visitors after the Lockdown.

The ward was run on oiled wheels, everyone knowing exactly what they had to do. There was only one real upset in the five weeks I was there. An elderly lady of 96, was admitted after a bad fall. She had to have surgery straight away. She would have none of it, Nothing would persuade her to sign the consent form. In her confusion, she thought that she was being attacked in her own home. This battle of wills went on for hours, before she gave permission,.In an open ward,  even with the curtains closed, we heard every word. It was so upsetting.

The other large group of important carers that I nearly forgot, were the physiotherapists. They were a major influence in all the patients recovery. As soon as the patient recovered from the operation, the physios arrived with their instructions for exercising the new or improved limb.They were very keen and very firm.I was quite in awe of them,  almost frightened, which was completely unreasonable. I am not good with pain, in fact, except for the fall, the whole operation was pretty painle

Now I am home alone except for the two carers, who are fast becoming friends.

I cannot express enough how much I appreciate them.They both spend half an hour here helping me to wash etc, without them life would be very boring. These carers come from all over the world.I did not realise what a cosmopolitan city Cardiff is. Like everyone else, I cannot wait for the lock down to be lifted, but know that it would be a disaster if it was lifted too early, it would causea a second wave of the virus. We have lost far too many doctors and nurses as well as patients already..We must obey the lock down for the good of everyone.

Tags.    Hospital, operations, doctors, nurses, Covid 19 Virus.  lock down, carers

Indian and British Surgeons, Indian and Philippine nurses Indian Registrars

One response to “THE OLD BAT in ISOLATION ,

  1. Hello Judith – Louise from the book group here. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I’m very happy to hear that you’ve survived it all. Keep in touch.

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