Thursday, November 1, 2007

Paddy Murray Is (a bit) Unwell (this time) IV

WHEN you’re in hospital, you’re asked a lot of questions.
You’re asked your date of birth on a regular basis.
(NOTE: If there is a Paddy Murray in James’s Hospital, and if he was also born on August 5, 1953, and if he is awaiting a barium enema or indeed, an enema of any description, could he please call a nurse and point out that he is not me.)
And you are asked about your allergies.
I am asked, for example, on an almost daily basis if i am allergic to penicillin or antibiotics of any kind.
I am not. But if I was and I told them so, they would not give me such medicine.
Every now and then, I am asked if I am allergic to anything.
I always reply in the affirmative and point out that I am seriously allergic to the following.
Sleep deprivation
Hospital food

They don’t listen.
In fact, i wonder why they ask.
Because if there is one thing you are not permitted to do for any length of time in hospital, it’s sleep.
“Good night” and “good morning” are separated by only a tiny gap.
And if you are ever lucky enough to have a nurse tell you she, or indeed he, will leave you to sleep for an hour, be sure, be one hundred per cent sure, that during that hour, you will be visited by a cleaner, a junior doctor, a registrar, someone from accounts and the porter who is there to bring you, right now, for the x-ray which was scheduled for yesterday or tomorrow.
I have no doubt in my mind, that some patients die from sheer exhaustion.
Another certainty in hospital, is that you will be served hospital food. It is called hospital food not only because it is served in hospital, but because it is unique in manages to look so unappetising, in the way it can make carrots chewy.
And then there is pain.
Most hospital stays begin with pain.
You know the way it is. You have a pain in your elbow*. You go to the doctor. You have tests. You are told there is something wrong with your elbow (which you had more or less managed to figure out for yourself) and you have to go to hospital.
(*Insert hand, foot, heart, head, knee and so on, as appropriate.)
So off you go to hospital to get your pain removed.
And what do they do?
They start sticking needles into you. “It’s for bloods,” they say.
And if you have to get mucho drugs, they insert a canula or a Picc line. Worse still, they might decide to operate. And that involves cutting you and stitching you up again.
And it all hurts. It hurts a lot. And, if you’re a man, it hurts an awful lot indeed.
And so you lie awake in your bed, knowing that trying to sleep is pointless because someone will arrive ti wake you up if you make any attempt to get forty winks or even ten.
And you’re hungry because you can’t/won’t eat the food.
And you’re in pain.
You told them you’re allergic to all three.
Of course I meant four.
Stress. I’m alleregic to stress.
And boy, do they give it to you in spades in here.

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