My Emergency Hospital Stay – March 2013: Made bearable thanks to the kindness of wonderful staff & student nurses (and my skincare essentials!)
On March 4th last year I was admitted, via A&E, into New Cross Hospital Wolverhampton. I had woken up at 5am for work as usual but when I tried to get out of bed my left side was full of pins and needles and my foot had also started to go a little numb, we decided it was better to get it checked out at hospital because I already had spinal problems. Even though I was in agony I still managed to quickly chuck hand-cream and some perfume into my handbag!
By the time we reached A&E I had lost all feeling in my left leg and had severe pains in my lower back. I was on my own, scared and sobbing uncontrollably. The lovely nurse who helped me undress in A&E commented that my black faux fur coat was nice, I was happy for a distraction from the situation I was in and through my tears managed a thank you and waffled on that it was from H&M in the sale and although a larger size it was good to wear bigger so you have room for a jumper underneath …I’m rather difficult to shut up, even in the case of a 10/10 pain scale!
From arrival (literally dragging myself on two crutches into A&E) I was seen by a Doctor within 15 minutes, he had also already printed off and read through my consultant notes about my back problems. I had a cannula put in and was examined, then given a lot of pain relief. All the time the Dr was reassuring and looked after me as best he could. I’m quite resistant to medication, I had two injections of morphine and then moved onto Fentanyl and eventually my pain started to fall to a 9/10. Even after all this – the gown, the cannula, the drugs – it still didn’t dawn on my I was going to be admitted, I am a little hospital-phobic (or Nosocomephobic to be technical about it!) but every-one who was looking after me helped me stay relatively calm.
I was in the Assessment Unit ward within an hour, the male staff nurse who held my hand as they had to maneuverer me onto the bed made me giggle through my tears when he said that I had made a 17 stone bloke yelp in pain from squeezing his hand so hard! I stayed there for a few days, every-one was so kind and caring, even pushed to their limit, exhausted and busy, they still gave me the attention and care I needed.
I chatted to another nurse for a while about Bare Minerals make-up, showed her photos of myself on my mobile phone when I’d been out and about so she could see how Bare Minerals looked when applied, in fact, the phrase I used was ‘This is how I’m meant to look’ (by this point of having IV Morphine and Fentanyl as well as oral morphine and whatever else I was taking, my skin had cracked, swollen and was permanently red). One day I managed to reach my handbag and look in my little mirror, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty but I couldn’t stop myself from checking …the tears that fell made my face sting even more.
I found the hand-cream I’d thrown in, my favourite from the wonderful people at ‘Yes Nurse’, and put a big layer over my face as well as on my hands, which were now also starting to peel and crack. I think I told every nurse who looked after me about this hand-cream! After all it was formulated by a nurse who had problems with cracked skin from working in a hospital environment. I also managed to text my husband and gave him a list of products to bring in with him for me!
I lined all of the bottles up on my bedside table, they weren’t going to work miracles on my skin instantly but every little helps as they say. The Mario Badescu facial spray with aloe, herbs, and rosewater helped stop the tight, dry feeling on my face, my Yes to Carrots face wash was gentle enough not to irritate my poor red sore face, Dermalogica Climate Control lip balm to ease my cracked lips and the Lacoste Touch Of Pink helped me smell a lot more pleasant!
One day the young girl in the next bed asked me if I had any body spray that she could have a spritz of as she felt yucky, she made me smile when she said ‘I thought I’d ask you first because you look like you look after yourself, and you have all those little bottles of things on your table’☺ I was sad to leave that ward and the people there behind but I was moved up to Orthopaedics and then into a side room. It felt strange being on my own at first but I must admit it was nice when I could ask them to close the door at visiting time, if I had no-one visiting me, and just lie there in the dark, quiet with just the hypnotic noise of the booties I was wearing inflating and deflating.
All of the nurses on Orthopaedics were fabulous, again I couldn’t shut up talking – anyone who knows me can confirm this is normal behavior. And again I whittered on about make-up and skincare, giving them all a try of my lotions and potions! I was so looked after, I remember crying in the early hours and Katherine, a student nurse, made me cups of tea and sat with me a while till I calmed and drifted back to sleep. I had some funny conversations with the nurses, some I blush at just thinking about! Every-one made me feel happy even though I was in such a miserable situation.
There was the lovely Daniel, a student nurse who came with me on my last day to my appointment at the Urology Dept (to check out my plumbing☺). The nurse there said I would probably prefer Dan to wait outside while I was in there as the appointment was a little on the ‘intrusive’ side – I had spent a week being prodded and poked (in areas I wouldn’t even prod/poke myself and had endured various tubes being inserted into numerous parts of my body!) so I told her that I didn’t mind at all and that if he wanted to stay and learn about what the female side of it entailed then I was okay with it. Dan did stay while the nurse showed me various procedures I could do at home should I have any difficulties. I’m glad he did stay, for my benefit as well. I was so scared and felt calmer having a familiar face with me.
Afterwards Dan and I sat waiting for transport back to the ward, typically the weather had turned for the worse and it had begun to SNOW! But still, I managed to waffle on in my drugged up state about my first consultant and how I wished that I could see him again and we also chatted in general, about his course etc. we giggled a lot!☺It was so nice and also a comforting end to a rather awful traumatic time. I really hope all of the students who looked after me are still enjoying their course.
I bid Orthopaedics goodbye after the sensation had finally returned to my left side and I was able to walk again. I was so glad to get home, into my snuggly pj’s and my own bed (also managing to stuff my face with a huge bag of chippy chips!) I slept for 16 hours straight and spent the next two weeks off work.
The after-effects of so much medication began to show more and more though. The dark marks under my eyes were more prominent, my cracked, sore skin took so long to heal and my hair began to fall out again and break off in places. By the power of products the problems have eased a little in time and now, although I still need a lot of lotions and maximum coverage make-up, I certainly look a lot better!
My stay at New Cross was made bearable thanks to the dedication, help and kindness of all the staff there who were involved in looking after me. The fabulous student nurses, staff nurses, Radiology team and the amazing staff in A&E. All of these people have devoted their time to care for others and I can’t thank them enough for being the very best at what they do.
I really hope I wasn’t a nightmare patient for them!