Heroes and idiots

It's been a traumatic week. But strangely interesting too. An enforced stay in hospital for 6 nights has made me sit back and observe instead of participating for a while. The nurses and doctors were absolute heroes of course. Nothing was too much trouble and I was well cared for. I will be sending a letter of thanks to the Sunderland Royal Hospital to let the managers know that they have some quality staff on their books. I bet they don't get that much praise.

I also have great admiration for one of the patients who shared the bay with me for 5 nights. Nigel had previously suffered a stroke which had left him paralysed down his right side, leaving his arm and leg useless. He had also lost his power of speech and could essentially communicate merely by pointing and using the words 'yes' and 'no'. He had been in hospital for over 6 weeks because fate had dealt him another cruel blow. His good leg was infected and had to be amputated. Now he will be bed ridden for the rest of his life. Yet through all this, he was constantly smiling and laughing with the nursing staff and cheering the ward up. What a hero.

Less impressive, but very amusing, were the 'idiots' on the ward. One patient was so bombed out, he threw himself out of bed on the first night, and landed on the deck in a cacophony of cannulae, catheters and contraptions, (I hope you appreciated the alliteration there) and was promptly removed from the ward into a side room. Perhaps he wasn't so bombed out after all, but the poor nurses spent 20 minutes cleaning up the floor afterwards.

Another was a retired pit miner who didn't seem to have two brain cells to rub together. He failed to comply with any of the nurses' instructions. 'Don't get out of bed Gerry, you've only just come back from theatre and you need to stay where you are for a while'. So, what does he do? He gets out of bed and walks around. He is escorted back to bed. Three times. 

He picks at his bandages and stitches, and tries to remove his IV set, because he knows better. Suddenly he discovers the automatic bed control and he then spends the first night clicking up and down, manoeuvring the bed into as many contortions as he can to see if he can break it. Click click, click click, click click. On he went, driving the rest of us mad into the small hours. Suddenly there was a clatter. He had dropped the control. 'Hooray!' we all whispered under our breaths. But no, he had got out of bed again to retrieve his hand set. A few seconds of peace and quiet and then...... click, click, click click.... I think he was wondering why he couldn't get Sky One.

He actually thought a 'loose stool' is something you shouldn't sit on (and in one way he is right of course), until someone explained to him what it meant. The doctor had previously asked him whether he had any allergies. 'Oh, aye,' he replied, 'I ate a piece of leek once, that made me ill....' He kept me entertained for hours with his stupidity. I learnt a lot about human nature, and although I wouldn't wish to repeat the experience, the heroes and idiots actually added a lot to the mix. (Names have been changed).

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