Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Your Friendly Fly Fisherman Slowly Drowning?


From where I am right now I am counting my blessings! It is five in the morning and I am lying in bed in a six bed ward at Croydon University Hospital. So how did the old fool end up there I hear you ask? Well it could be a long story but because I am sure you have better things to do than listen to me I will give you the economical version.
After several weeks nursing a pain at the bottom of my right lung I decided to visit my GP. Dr Jaitly put me on antibiotics and sent me for a chest X-ray to a local clinic. The lovely girlie who took pictures of my chest told me to see my doc the next day so I did. The doc gave me a copy of the report and talked me through it, basically it said I had fluid at the bottom of my right lung. So my doc referred me for a CT scan which I had on the Thursday before the Easter weekend. By this time I knew I had a problem as I was always struggling for breath and in a lot of discomfort especially at night. On the Tuesday after Easter the hospital called and suggested I come and see Dr Siva next day. Accompanied by my eternal companion, Rosalind I arrived at the chest department early and I was immediately weighed and given another X-ray. Shortly after we met with Dr Siva a lovely man who said that the X-ray showed that my lung was two thirds full of fluid, between 3 and 4 litres! He laughed when I said I would try to give up drinking. He said they needed to drain that off and try to determine where it was coming from. He explained that as they could only drain around one litre at a time they would admit me, fit a drain cock (my term) and drain the fluid off over a few days. He asked if I was prepared to stay at the hospital if he could find a bed, I agreed and was sent off for blood tests. When I saw the dozens and dozens of people waiting to give blood samples I thought "we will be here till Christmas" so we took a numbered ticket and sat down to wait. Joking with the other folk waiting helped pass the time and 40 minutes later I walked out minus several tubes of the bright red stuff.

We then went to a waiting area whilst they looked for a bed for me. Rosalind went and got us some food and we settled in for the long haul. A couple of lovely lady doctors came and spoke to us and one of them was brave enough to ask for my whole life history! After a reasonably pleasant four hour wait I was given a bed in a mini ward with 5 other elderly gents. The staff were friendly and kind but it was pretty busy. 
The first bit of drama was when an elderly gent opposite needed cleaning up. The privacy curtain could not be pulled round his bed because apparently that morning another patient had gone a bit loopy and pulled the curtain rail down breaking the bracket where it was fixed to the wall. I was told maintenance had been called, attended, had a look and then found something more exciting to do. Being a practical person and tall to boot, I adopted the roll of curtain rail prop for 20 minutes so that matters could progress and modesty be preserved. 

My reward was a fish and chip evening meal which was very much appreciated. A doctor then introduced himself and explained that they would do the plumbing procedure in the morning. I passed the time getting to know Richard the bus and lorry driver on my right and Gerald, from Ireland on my left and watching the staff as they busied themselves taking care of us. I spent a lot of time looking and learning the ropes and other hospital survival techniques.

Night time came and it was still pretty busy with one chap trying to climb over the barrier on the side of his bed. The nurses were very kind and patient and whilst I did not sleep much I did rest and play with the settings on the bed till I got comfortable. I was very impressed with the daughter of one of the patients, she slept in a chair next to his bed all night caring for his every need. Bless her!

Breakfast was good, even the toast was hot!

John who lies opposite me has several very bad coughing bouts, sadly one occurred when he was on his feet and caused him to black out. There was an almighty crash and John hit the corner of the table and then the floor. Shouts of help! brought half the staff in the hospital running and John had his cut head and black eye treated.

Eventually things calmed down and accident reports were written. By this time you will be bored so I will save the rest for another post.

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