After being in the nursing profession for many years, I know illness can strike at any time. Strong, healthy people can become frail and vulnerable very quickly. And at the same time become totally reliant on the hospital staff. Since retirement, I’ve been hell bent on staying healthy, believing prevention is far better than cure. I also think good health comes through an equal balance of mind, body and spirit. However, all three aspects were seriously challenged during recent visit to hospital.
My current situation started when a health check picked up a growth on my liver. Surgery was my only option. And although I was somewhat nervous, I was confident private health cover would afford me the best of care. It was also comforting to know that my husband had over two years carers leave owing.
The operation was much bigger than expected leaving me quite ill. I spent almost a week in Intensive Care. There were endless tubes and ducts seemingly coming from every part of my body. The pain I was experiencing was crippling and programmed exercise routines excruciating, often leaving me in tears. I was very frail and extremely vulnerable.
Being legally blind didn’t help either. Lacking peripheral vision kept me in the dark about what was happening around me. This exacerbated my anxiety to no end. As did the fact that everything I needed was either out of sight or out of reach. On many occasions, pleads for help were ignored or rejected. Everyone seemed to be far too busy to attend to such trivialities.
If only my husband could help. Even to feed me some ice-chips or assist with my exercises. His kindness and patience would have made such a difference to my state of mind and no doubt my overall well-being. This would have also freed up staff to attend to their overly busy schedule. But, this was not to be as my husband’s work involves lots of travel leaving little time for hospital visits.
And! What about all that carer’s leave? Well! The doctors, in their infinite wisdom, decided I had all the support I needed. A certificate for carer’s leave was continually refused without any consideration for my needs or that of my husband’s work situation.
Eventually, and after a week of much pleading, a carer’s certificate was eventually granted. However, it came when I was improving and able to do more for myself. If ever there was a case of too little too late, this was it.
My hospital stay was not at all as expected. It wasn’t so much about the medical practices but the lack of empathy and emotional support. I do believe, not only in my case but many others as well, more assistance in meeting individual needs would eliminate a lot of additional stress and a encourage a much faster healing process. And in my case, how a simple carer’s certificate would have made for a more comfortable stay and quicker recovery.