Weekends are a chance for family time. A time to do the things that working week doesn’t allow because everyone is so busy. It is a time to make memories for the children.
Often we will go to the cinema, or swimming, or Hubby and D go off to the footie. It is all about doing what relaxes both body and mind. It is more about being together, than what we are actually doing.
Then you get weekends when everything goes against plan. Times when the memories made are not always the best ones. Sometimes things just happen that nobody has control over, but they end up writing the script of life for the household for a few days. This weekend has been one of those.
We had promised the boys a trip to the cinema this weekend, to see Sing. It was to be a treat for having gone back to school this week. They were really looking forward to it, and so was I. This was all before it started to go amiss.
Friday evening, the boys and Hubby went up stairs to play some video games. Old person and I sat down to watch Emmerdale. It is a programme I can take of leave, so I wasn’t really paying it my full attention, and was instead doing the weekly food shopping online. I spoke to Old Person, to ask her if there was anything she wanted added to the order, and when I looked at her, she was a very pale shade of grey, her whole body was shaking and she was complaining of a sore arm. She didn’t want anyone called, she just wanted a hot water bottle. I got this for her, and also the phone. I called NHS24 for some advice as to what to do for her.
After pressing about 20 different buttons, I finally got to speak to a human being. The call handler was lovely. She took all the details of what was happening with old Person, and then put me on hold while a nurse reviewed what was wrong. The call handler returned to ask additional questions about her breathing and her skin temperature and feel. The nurse decided it would be best if she was assessed by a paramedic, and so called an ambulance. I was so impressed by how quickly and efficiently the call was handled.
A short while later, only a few minutes really, two young men – yes, I’m getting to the stage of life, when every professional I come across looks so young, and they were the ambulance service first responders. They came in and took more details about what had happened, as well as Old Persons medical history. We were still going through this when two more young men arrived. They were the paramedics. With their huge bags of equipment, it looked as if they were moving in! They liaised with the first responders, who then left. The paramedics then did Old Persons blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate. They then did an ECG trace of her heart. He reviewed her list of medications to see if there was anything there to link to heart problems, but that is one thing she has never had! After a second trace, they decided it would be best to take her to be checked at the hospital. By this time the boys were having a good nosey about what was going on. D asked him about the machine that he was using and he happily explained what information he was getting from it. It was nice to see a busy professional take a moment to satisfy a child curiosity. I said I would go with her, if Hubby stayed with the boys. The boys had a good look around the ambulance as their Granny was put into it.
I decided to drive myself rather than go with her, because then I would have the car to get home afterwards without having to ring the house for a lift! Some how I managed to get to the hospital before them, which meant I had parked and walked up to A & E just as they were unloading her. They asked me to go to reception to book her in, while they handed her over.
I gave the receptionist all the details of what had happened. I then explained that Old Person had a tendency to get confused if she wasn’t hearing properly what was said to her, and asked if I could go through to her, to help with the answering any questions. I was told to take a seat. I sat and waited almost an hour before I was allowed to go through. This is the only part of the experience I would find fault with!
When I got to her, she was in a bay, attached to another ECG machine. She said she was feeling fine, and felt like she was being a pain, wasting everyone’s time. I told her not to be so silly as they would not have taken her in if it had not been thought necessary. Various nurses came and did obs on her. Her temperature was high, and this was concerning them, as her breathing was also rapid. Her heart was showing an odd pattern but she is known to have an irregular heart beat, so with nothing to compare it to, they did not know if it was more unusual than it was known to be. There was a lovely auxiliary who was popping in and out, and I think her happy disposition was a real tonic to see on a busy Friday evening in A&E. Eventually, just before midnight, a doctor came to visit. She was very nice, and took all the information again. She decided that they needed to take bloods, to find out if there was any reason for the episode. She took 2 syringes and 5 vials of blood. I don’t recommend emptying your arm as a good means of loosing weight! I told her that Old Person had been poorly for a few days earlier in the week, but had recovered from that, and had been her normal self on the Friday. Off she went. Old Person then had a couple of visitors. The paramedics who had delivered her earlier in the evening were dropping off another person, and stopped to see how she was doing. I thought this was a lovely thing for them to do. They could have just done their paperwork and moved on, but they took a moment to ask how she was. It made her feel special and for a 90 year old woman to be attended by handsome young men – her words, was lovely of them. By the time the primary results from the blood tests were back, it was a different doctor who came to see her. She said there was signs of infection, and they would get some antibiotics and fluids into her. The lovely auxiliary also got us both a cup of tea once the doctor said it was ok! Old Person was very tired, and getting a little irritated by this time, but I think the fact they were actually doing something showed her that she was in the right place. A short time later the doctor reappeared and said the next results had come back, and her blood was showing signs of infection, so they would keep her in so as to get more IV antibiotics into her. Her face dropped at the thought of being kept in, but she understood it was for the best. I stayed with her until they knew where they were taking her. I finally left at about 2.30am.
By the time I got home at gone 3am, Hubby had managed to get the boys sleeping, but D was in my bed, so I went to Old Persons. I was so tired, but my head was spinning with everything that had gone on that evening, that it took me ages to get to sleep. When I did get off, I didn’t want to wake up too easily!
In the morning, Hubby said D was in tears as soon as the ambulance pulled away – D is the boy that spends his time fighting with his Granny because she enjoys baiting him! I spent the morning doing the chores that needed to be done, before ringing the hospital about midday – the time I was advised to call after the doctors would have had their conflab about the patients.
I spoke to the staff nurse on the ward who told me they were ready to send her home, but were waiting for her medications to be sorted. She therefore suggested that rather than go in and wait around, she would call me back to say everything was sorted so they were releasing her. I thought that was a very sensible plan. I got a bag together with clothes to bring her home, as she had not even a pair of shoes when she was taken in.
The phone rang a couple of hours later, and it was the ward, to tell me that they had just got her latest results back, and her bloods were showing a different type of infection so they would have to change the antibiotics, so they would keep her in again. I wished the nurse luck with telling Old Person this, as I am sure she wouldn’t be happy.
I repacked a bag, with toiletries and PJ’s, and D said he wanted to come with me to visit her. We were lucky to find a parking spot quite easily – they are building a new multi-storey carpark so there is a reduced number of spaces available. To my surprised, we managed to find the ward quite easily – the hospital is split into different colour zones, so once you’ve found your zone, you then have to find the ward number.
Being a geriatric ward, it is a closed ward, so we had to buzz for admittance. We were shown to her room, which was huge! There was an en-suite shower and loo, as well as loads of space in the bed area.
To say she looked fed up would be an understatement. She had not understood what had been told to her, and believed someone had messed up and given her the wrong antibiotics. I explained to her what the nurse had said to me, and she calmed down a little. She then said the doctor wanted to speak to me. It was apparent when speaking to the doctor, that Old Person must have been a little confused as she was asking me about what had happened the evening before to have taken her to that point. When I explained about the episode, she said that finished the puzzle as they were symptoms of the body reacting to the infection. She then went on to explain that the culture of the blood they had done showed she needed a different type of antibiotic to the one they had started her on when she was admitted. More bloods would be taken when the new medication had got into her system. I could understand that Old Person wanted to come home, but it made far more sense to get her onto the correct road of recovery.
D and I stayed with her for a couple of hours, during which time she moaned about the noise, the food, and being woken up too early. It was good to see she was her normal self as far as finding fault was concerned.
I was so tired by the time we got home, that I barely made it to evening with my eyes open.
Today I waited until midday to ring again to find out if she was going or staying. The nurse told me she was being kept again, because her bloods were still coming back elevated – I am not sure what they were elevated with but I accept the doctors know what they are doing. I can just imagine what was going through Old Persons mind at this point. We all decided to go and see her, to try to cheer her up.
The doctor came in to talk to me again, and so Hubby took the boys off to the hospital roof garden for a while. She explained that the results showed the infection was still not responding, but they were hoping that it had now spiked and would be on the way back down with another blast of IV antibiotics. She said they could release her, but it made sense to see another set of results to prove her thoughts. Old Person was visibly upset by this, but agreed that it was better to not come home until they were sure she was well enough to.
The room was very hot, and M started complaining about a sore head, so we made our goodbyes and left. We managed to get as far as the main hospital corridor, before M vomited across the floor. The heat had induced a migraine it seemed. Hubby went to find someone to tell them of the accident, and then took the boys outside, while I waited by the mess on the floor for someone to sort it out. I seemed to be stood stopping passers by walking in the mess for ages, but in reality it was less than 5 minutes. It was nice that a number of people asked me if I needed help while stood there – some people do still care about each other. Eventually a domestic arrived and put a couple of wet floor signs up, before going for his cleaning materials. M was fine when he had got some air into him, and he slept off any remnants of the migraine in the car on the way home.
This evening the phone rang about half past eight, and it was the staff nurse. I don’t know about you, but whenever anyone starts a conversation with “there is nothing to worry about, but….” it instantly makes me worry. She was informing me that they were moving Old Person to a different ward, so I would know where to find her tomorrow. She then went on that her bloods were still extremely elevated, and so they would be testing again tomorrow. I can only imagine how horrible this is for Old Person, as hospitals are not the most fun place in the world to be, especially as she feels well in herself. I think the fact she is in a single ward, it must be so boring having nobody to interact with all day. I am hoping this new place they are moving her to is a multi-person ward so she has something new to look at and moan about.
I will ring again tomorrow lunchtime to see if there is any chance of her being set free tomorrow, or if she will be stuck there for another night.
I have been so tired and stressed all weekend, I have been nippy with Hubby and the boys, and I know I shouldn’t be, but I can’t care about the usual things they talk about while I am worried about my Mum. I know Hubby understands as we had time last year when his Mum was rushed into hospital, but for the boys it is difficult to accept that plans have to be changed because I am needed elsewhere, and I am giving a little more of my time and attention to somebody else. They love their Granny, and are missing her, but last night, they had great fun sleeping in her bed, which is an electric bendy bed.
For now, we hope that the antibiotics kick in soon, and start to show some positive results on her blood. We will see what tomorrow brings.
Over this weekend, I have been so impressed with all the medical people we have encountered. Their dedication is talked down so much by the government and the media – no, I am not getting political, just stating what I think. These people do an amazing job, in horrible circumstances. They are expected to give everything body and soul, and then still being portrayed as if that isn’t enough. The kindness showed to my Mum by everyone that has looked after her has been amazing. We are so lucky to still have an NHS, lets hope we continue to have one so we all can get this amazing level of care when we get old.