Have a good one!

December 24, 2009

Just to let you know, I’m safely home from hospital.

More anon. HAPPY CHRISTMAS to one and all!

Raindrops Keep Falling

December 15, 2009

I went back to see the surgeon this morning following some minor surgery on my head two weeks ago. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of good news as I knew by my symptoms that the bone was still infected. Unfortunately, I was right. I have to return for more surgery on my head next Tuesday. I just hope the anaesthetist shows up!

All I want for Christmas…

December 14, 2009

For some teenage boys, Christmas means getting a new computer console but for one youngster, an operation is top of his wish list. Jonathan (16) is getting an early Christmas present this year. It won’t be wrapped up in shiny paper and tied with a big bow but it’ll probably be the most important gift he’ll ever receive. Jonathan is about to undergo vital surgery which will make a huge difference to his life. All he wants for Christmas, is a nice straight back.

Jonathan suffers from progressive curvature of the spine, the result of painful conditions known as scoliosis and kyphosis which, if not treated in time, can result in further complications. Last March, Jonathan was put on an urgent waiting list for a spinal fusion operation but cutbacks at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, meant that his surgery could not proceed. Jonathan’s life has been on-hold since last summer as his condition has gradually worsened while he awaits surgery. Following a brave campaign mounted by his mother, Magnumlady, in conjunction with the Irish Daily Mail, a date was secured for surgery in October but it was inexplicably cancelled. Jonathan was devastated to have his hopes raised and dashed.  His mum continued to pressure the hospital for a new date for surgery and finally, her efforts were rewarded. Jonathan’s operation is now scheduled to take place tomorrow.

Jonathan’s dad was admitted to hospital as an emergency last week, with severe back pain and he is still in hospital undergoing treatment. It’s hard to fathom the pressure that this family must be under right now, as they struggle to cope with all that life has thrown at them. So, if you’re feeling stressed out in the run up to Christmas, please spare a thought for Jonathan and his family. May all their wishes come true.

GOOD LUCK! Jono. I’m rooting for you!

Waiting To Die

December 10, 2009

Stagnant. In that one word, the nursing home resident summed up the situation perfectly. Dementia care is failing the elderly. If you suffer a heart attack, you will get the latest high-tech treatment and care. However, if you develop dementia, the likelihood is that you’ll end up in a nursing home, bored and waiting to die.

The Irish-born businessman, Gerry Robinson, has produced a new two-part television series on the care of patients with dementia. He wanted to put the spotlight on dementia care and examine the general level of care that prevails in many care homes throughout the UK. The dementia care system is antiquated and lags far behind achievements in medicine and care elsewhere. Gerry was shocked by what he found. In most of the homes he visited, he found that the elderly rarely received one-to-one attention and were left to ‘stagnate’ in soul-less lounges, bored with nothing to do. He also found that the staff in the homes had a staggering lack of specialist training to understand the complex needs of people with dementia. Health and safety regulations conspired against offering patients stimulating care.

It was not all gloom and doom however. Gerry visited one nursing home in Warwickshire that manages to make residents feel alive and happy. Residents are actively involved in helping to run their home. This approach not only works on an emotional level, but it makes good business sense too. This home is rated as ‘excellent’ and is always full. The staff are valued, so the recruitment and training costs are low. Everyone wins.

Gerry’s message is simple… “There is too much box ticking and not enough emphasis put on human contact. Dementia sufferers lose their memory but not their ability to feel. They feel joy, excitement, pleasure, pain, hurt, anger, loneliness or hopelessness and feel them intensely. This makes our duty of care to them vital.”

Good care does not have to be expensive care. We need to change the focus of dementia care from one of keeping people alive, to one of helping people to enjoy the final years of their lives in a happy and truly caring environment. Quality of life should be the number one priority. One day, it could be you or me.

The final part of this series will be shown next Tuesday, 15 December @ 9pm on BBC2 .

My Living Will

December 4, 2009

Last night, my husband and I were sitting in the kitchen and I said to him…

“I never want to live in vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.”

He got up, unplugged the computer and threw out my wine!!!

Grateful thanks to Paramedic Blogger

Service With A Smile

December 2, 2009

Hang on a minute, how could it be Wednesday already? Where did Tuesday go to? Thanks everyone for your very kind support, it’s much appreciated. I’m happy to report that all went smoothly at the hospital yesterday and I got home to the comfort of my own bed last night.

My experience at the hand’s of the public health service, was second to none. The service was friendly yet efficient, I was accommodated in a smartly refurbished day unit and my surgery took place in a state-of-the-art operating suite. It was like being in a private hospital, only better. I had the security of knowing that I was in the best possible place should complications arise. It just goes to show that given the right facilities, our public hospitals can and do, shine.

I checked into the day unit as instructed and was surprised but very happy to be shown into a single en-suite room. Surprised because the majority of the rest of this large hospital has long passed it’s sell-by date (as I know to my cost), and happy because the room was spotlessly clean and very comfortable. It was then that the penny dropped. My legacy of MRSA infection lives on. Right on cue, a nurse appeared in the room to take further swabs for analysis. Hospital policy rules OK! On this occasion, it worked in my favour as I got the benefit of being nursed in isolation post-operatively away from other potential sources of infection.

Having changed into the regulation theatre gown and been examined by a house doctor, I was whisked off for an ECG. I’d barely got back to my room when the call came from the operating theatre to say my number was up.  Two and a half hours later, I was wheeled back into the peace and quiet of my little room to sleep off the effects of the anaesthetic. The surgeon popped in to say that all had gone well, a small area of infected bone was removed and the exposed bone was treated with steroids and IV antibiotics. I will return in two week’s time for the verdict. I left the hospital last night happy in the knowledge I’d escaped lightly… well, compared to Mrs Connor anyhow.

With thanks to Adam Kay of the Amateur Transplants.