My experience of Tuesday night was exemplary care by the NHS emergency services. We called an ambulance. They arrived swiftly, took copious notes, saw my distress, took me to hospital,delivered me to the magnificent team in A&E.
A&E were kind,compassionate, efficient. My nurse loved using my port to draw blood and the antibiotics and paracetamol delivered by drip started to work straightaway. HWISO finds the lights too bright and the department too noisy so I sent him home. He had stripped off every layer of clothing that was respectable and I feared he might get arrested if he got down to his "Help for heroes" boxers, however worthy the cause.
Then up to surgical ward. This is where it falls apart. Those gowns. I can't get them on over the port and the shoulder. So I sort of flap about flashing random bits at people. I am not bothered and other people can shut their eyes.
When I get to the ward I am number 4. There is a 17 year old, sleeping the sleep of the young and the just. There is a dear old thing with DVT leggings on and an elderly frail lady with dementia. Who is convinced that the nurses are trying to poison her, have stolen her glasses so she can't see what they are giving her, that she needs help, that someone is out to get her. The nurses are at present either with me, strapping me up to another drip or with Lady No 5 who has just arrived on the ward
It is 3.15am.
We called the ambulance at 9.45 pm. It has been a long night. It is just about to get longer.
Despite unbelievable patience and some of the finest nursing skills I have ever seen from the sister, this scenario of non-stop fear and screaming was still going on every ten or so minutes at 7.45 am. By now, I had had no sleep for over 24 hours, was in pain, needing to get hold of the Breast Care andOncology team before the Wednesday Multi Disciplinary meeting at 8.30 and I was pretty close to the end of my tether.
I drew myself up to full height, channelled Mary Poppins and put on my posh accent
"She has not stolen your glasses. She is not trying to poison you. I have been watching all along. Now take your medicine like a good girl and I will keep watching."
It seemed to get the job done and the lady in question was still fast asleep some six hours later when I finally left for home.
I slept on and off for the next 14 hours, waking up to take my pills at 9 pm with Bundy's wonderful Lemon Drizzle cake and then at 10.30 pm for tinned spaghetti on toast and tea with HWISO. I realised I hadn't eaten all day and didn't want to disappoint Dr R with any diminishment in my glorious belly.
The trauma of the whole experience made me snappy and utterly vile to HWISO who was not to blame but was nearest and loves me. He bought me a beautiful bumble necklace anyway.
He is the best.