A Hospital Is No Place To Be Sick

Last week My Dad was scheduled to have a minor surgical procedure and, as he had acquired a bus timetable,cap he was determined to travel up there care of city bus. However, despite his protestations and before he could hike across to the bus stop in his flat cap (which he wears just to wind my mother up – a bit like when he walks up the garden with a tea-towel under his arm to give the neighbours the impression that he washes up when, in fact he would need a road map to find the kitchen sink) my sister insisted on chauffeuring him to the hospital.

A short while later in the surgical department he was administered his pre-med and there the story ends as unfortunately, for my father there was an unavoidable medical emergency and his operation was cancelled. Inconveniently, my Dad at this point had already drifted off into a deep slumber, dreaming no doubt of his prize-winning dahlias, and was promptly overlooked by the hospital staff. A few hours later he was discovered by a hospital cleaner who, startled by this abandoned snoring pensioner, alerted the staff nurse.

The unflappable staff nurse awoke my father and asked whether he was being collected by anyone and he responded that he had arranged to be collected the next morning. As he was highly medicated a taxi was summoned and he was sent home to the care of his loving family.

Imagine my surprise when I answered the door to a flustered taxi driver who said that he had a delivery for me and gestured for me to follow him. There in the back seat of his cab, was my tee-total Dad fast asleep, cloth cap askew oblivious to the world. The taxi driver said that I could have him returned to me if I paid the fare, for a nano-second I debated whether having another sick parent in the house would potentially be hazardous to my health before handing over my hard-earned cash.

My Dad was put to bed and slept until 10.30am the following morning which was totally unusual as he normally awakes to the dawn chorus each morning. What had been a minor inconvenience for my Dad had obviously been a life & death situation for another family and I was reminded how lucky we are to have the National Health Service. We take for granted that we live in a country where our healthcare is freely available to all whilst we all know only too well that not everyone has the same access to some of the best medical treatment in the world.

His op to have a stent fitted is now scheduled for the 27th February and I have suggested to my learner driver nieces that they offer to drive him home after his hospital stay just to see whether the stent is fully operational!

learner

70 thoughts on “A Hospital Is No Place To Be Sick

  1. So glad you got your dad back! It is an embarrassment and a shame upon this wealthy country that we do not have universal healthcare for all our citizens, but thanks to President Obama, we are getting there in spite of all the rabid mindless heartless opposition, mostly from people who already have medical insurance.

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  2. I’m rather surprised that the nurse didn’t call his family instead of an expensive taxi to take him home. But I certainly agree with your title: a hospital is NO place to be sick. I avoid them at all costs. p.s. Love the cap.

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  3. Holy crap! I was once forgotten, paper gown and all, in a gynecologist’s office for over an hour, but that pales in comparison to this! And that taxi driver now has a story he’ll tell over and over again…

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    • My Dad’s a pretty laid back guy and had a good laugh about it afterwards – don’t think I’d like to be waiting for a gynaecologist for a hour though, it’s bad enough that we have to see them in the first instance! The waiting would just finish me off

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    • Those that live in the UK will never have the worry of not being able to not provided the proper medical treatment for their family in the event of illness or emergency so at the end of the day a minor delay isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things

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  4. I have always said .. that we have to very healthy to be able to be sick. Your poor dad … something like happen to a friend of mine in Helsinki, Finland – because they have tram that just goes around in a circle in the city center and she had fallen into sleep … and after 5 around trips the driver woke her up. Too much vodka the night before.

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  5. when I was going in for my first op it was postponed because someone broke their back – now I admit I may have said a few heartless comments but in my defence I did have three slipped discs and was in a world of pain and highly medicated at the time – but the nhs may not be perfect it may sometimes require a little nagging to get things done but the idea a child goes untreated because you can’t afford it or you suffer for years because you cannot get insurance for on going problems is unthinkable

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    • To be fair my Dad wasn’t in any pain so it was only right that his operation was cancelled for someone that needed immediate surgical care and I think that we all feel the same about free healthcare being available for all children

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  6. Oh Dallas, your story reflects the highs and lows of the NHS. Thinking of your Dad, he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would really enjoy that kind of high but at least that was all he had to suffer. Their loss of him after the emergency is a great shame but somebody hopefully came out ahead. A nice day in the allotment for him tomorrow?

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  7. Oh wow, I’m glad your father made it safely back home. I understand hospitals are hectic places and it’s fine if he had to get his operation rescheduled (as long as it wasn’t a pressing emergency). But I can’t help but think it was kind of irresponsible on the part of the staff to lose track of one of their patients–not to mention, to cancel the operation AFTER they had medicated your father. I realize these kind of incidents happen in hospitals from time to time–but the NHS is so lucky they didn’t have an American on their hands hahaha. Our response would have been to sue the hospital for forgetting about us–seriously!

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    • People do sue these days at the drop of a hat but I’m of the same mind as my Dad, however, incovenient, someone would have been fighting for their life and at the end of the day that far outweighs a minor hiccup! However, bad you think your day is, someone else is having a far far worse one!

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    • Most definitely! I was heartbroken by a little Turkish girl who had an enormous growth on her face which isolated her from the rest of her schoolmates and that her family couldn’t afford an operation that would change her life

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  8. I love all posts where you talk about your dad and I hope all goes well for him on the 27th. We have free health care here in Norway too, but there are unfortunately a lot of snags in the system. It is however, better than nothing…

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  9. So glad he made it home! Just think, what a wonderful nap even if it was unintentional. Glad everyone is doing better and the surgery is planned for this month without major incident. I think I love your dad, perhaps I can adopt him (love the hat!).

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  10. I’m glad your dad was fine. Anesthesia given to older folks is not something you want to do anymore than absolutely necessary. That is one advantage to medical care in America (the ONLY one I can think of), that when you have a scheduled surgery, unless the surgeon is sick, you get operated on. There’s always another anesthesiologist to fill in, and the amounts of money they all bill for their services is astronomical and without insurance, impossible. Keep us posted on his progress. And very funny writing, as usual! 🙂 – Kaye – http://www.youtube.com/user/kittrellkaye

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  11. Your Dad is so funny, taking the dish towel outside with him. Sounds exactly like the type of thing my Dad would do 😀 You obviously have his sense of humour, getting the learner drivers to offer a lift 🙂
    Here’s hoping your Dad’s surgery goes extremely well and leaves you nothing to blog about.

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  12. Healthcare should be like he air be breath – Free & available to all. Great post, Dallas, And sending good vibes out to your dad for a speedy recovery when he has his surgery!

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