A "service", it’s not

Right now I am already exhausted, but as I woke up that way, it really isn’t that much of a surprise. Yesterday was yet another NHS farce, not the medical side, no that was great, but it was once more the transport. They arrived around the time I thought they would and with the confidence that everything possible had been done here I actually left the house with some confidence and ready to just get it all over with and to get home again. As always getting down the stairs was horrendous, not being a fan of being flung around like I was on a fairground ride, the journey on the stair climber was hellish. I reached the ambulance feeling nauseous and without any of the brightness I had felt just 10 minutes earlier, the attendants as always were bright and chatty, but with the way I felt, just that bit too chatty. When you feel like throwing up, what you really want is silence and fresh air, what I got was endless noise and extreme heat and stuffiness once on board. They had allowed Adam to come with me, with the usual “well don’t tell anyone” attitude, but he was there with me, we had explained to them that I need him with me, as without him I get anxious and agitated, I had no fear that the NHS would see no physical harm come to me, but this is a brain damage and without him, well I doubt I would hold it together should anything unexpected occur.

We weren’t going straight to the dental hospital they had to pick someone else up and drop off before we went there. I don’t know if you have been in an old British ambulance, they use the out of date ones for patient transport and their suspension isn’t quite what it was, nor are the roads if I am being fair, it was a combination, but it bumped and swayed it way to the next pick up with me feeling more and more sick all the way. Pick up made and it was off to the hospital they were going to, but we hadn’t been moving for even five minutes when I had to ask them for some fresh air, oh and a bowl. Feeling sick in public is one thing, throwing up is another, it just isn’t something you want others to see, so I sat there fighting, not to hold on to anything as I hadn’t eaten my lunch as I knew what the stair climber could do to me, I didn’t expect the ambulance to be worse. Luckily the air did the trick, but I can’t remember feeling so relieved for a long time, when we finally got to our destination and I was being wheeled through to wait to see the consultant. As is always when you are using hospital transport, you are put to the front of the cue, that way they rush you through so that when they return you are ready to go and it was all going so well. Glasgow dental hospital is a teaching hospital and you always see a student first, they make their conclusions and then the consultant appears to give theirs, both concluded the same thing, I had had two ulcers, with no clear reason for their appearance which had left damage not fully healed as they could see what I could only feel. The consultant wanted me to have a new type of x-ray, I had never heard of, you sit with your head not tightly clamped, but enough to stop you moving, the machine moves round your head quite quickly and quietly, getting one long x-ray of all your teeth. Nothing was found, it is was just to make sure that there were no wells of pus waiting to come to the surface, the only thing I did actually fear as the skin is taking a rather long time to settle back to it’s normal shape.

They had completed the x-ray and we were just waiting to see the consultant when the ambulance returned to pick me up, they wouldn’t wait, saying they weren’t allowed to, but the receptionist was calling for a replacement to take us home. It was just after 3pm, so I thought no more of it and we chatted to the consultant about getting me on to the list of a dentist who would be happy to come to our home, I didn’t know there was such a thing, so I was happy of his help. I didn’t remember until today, I did have a dentist here about 5 years ago, who did come to the house and look at my teeth, but then I was so terrified of being carried down the stairs, I refused to go the hospital and have the work done, I preferred to just put up with my broken teeth. Stupid, I know that now, but well at the time I didn’t know about stair climbers and the last time an ambulance crew carried me down this many stairs, all I remembered was the feeling I was going to tip off their chair and fall the rest of the way. We returned to sit in the waiting room once more, having checked with reception that the ambulance was booked, by this time it was just pass 3:30, the start of what was going to be a very long wait.

The Dental hospital isn’t a hospital in the normal sense, it doesn’t have any wards and apart from a couple of emergency dentists there until 10pm, the whole place shuts down at 5:30 every night. Yes we were still there at 5:30, and 6:30, in fact they eventually picked us up at 6:45. No one at their control centre seemed to be able to give a straight answer, every call they made the answer was the same, they would be there within half an hour, over and over again, but each call had a new excuse as well. The duty nurse, the nurse manager and one of the dentist, all who should have gone home at 5:30 where stuck there with us, and each took turn to come along and talk to us for a short while. I have to say it was the consultant that I most enjoyed getting the chance to talk to, as there I was with a captive representative of the NHS, I had the chance to put forward my views and suggestions as to how both the patient experience of the housebound and the NHS budgets could be improved, with the use of a system like skype. In fact we spoke about a huge range of ways that the systems could change with more savings, rather than costs and even about the attitude of brushing those of us who don’t make their stats look good to one side. If we had to have a long wait, well that was the pure upside of it, as I really got the feeling that we parted with him leaving with his brain ticking over on things he had never thought about before, he may be a dental consultant, but it doesn’t do harm to plant seeds where ever we can.

The journey home was the total opposite from the one there, no being thrown about inside a juddering ambulance, well yes a couple of times, but not constantly, there wasn’t any discussion as to whether Adam could or couldn’t come in the ambulance with me, he was invited in and made as welcome as I was. About half way through we were sat at some traffic lights and I looked up to see a huge concrete object above us, I turned to Adam and said that I had never seen it before, he asked what and I pointed again. It is the not so new now motorway that passes over part of Glasgow and has been carrying traffic for four years, the last time I had been that direction they hadn’t even started on the foundations, I had been watching it’s beginnings a few miles west as both sections where on my route to work. Just seeing it truly reminded me just how much the world has changed while I have just been sat here in my living room. You know it’s happening, but somehow you don’t even think about the day to day changes that everyone who lives around me sees without even thinking about them as they are just that to them, every day.

By the time we were home I felt really ill, washed out and exhausted, but my day wasn’t over, I still had things to do, if I wasn’t going to make today hell as well. What should have taken me just 20 minutes, stretched itself out to an hour as getting my brain to work was hard, it just wasn’t wanting to work. Even when I closed my PC down again, I still couldn’t go to bed, something made me just want to sit in normality, in front of the TV doing nothing and thinking probably less. Not surprisingly, when my head hit the pillow my brain shut down almost instantly and remained that ways without any argument from the rest of me at all.

This morning, well I don’t feel much better than I did yesterday, I had said two weeks ago that going to the hospital wasn’t needed and was going to be more hassle than it was worth, I just wish others had listened to me. The only person who gained was Adam as he didn’t believe that the ‘thing’ wasn’t worth bothering with, he of course had decided it was something major, so I am at least glad that the truth is known and I was right. I though will be paying the price for several days I believe, as this journey to hospital has taken far much more out of me than any of the previous ones, I am not just fatigued or tired, a day sitting in a wheelchair with spasms being triggered due to the position I was sat in, has left me with muscles that don’t normally hurt, aching and internally bruised, both in my arms and my legs, my legs being the worst. Being unable to stretch my body all day, has left me with new lines of pain in my guts, everything that can ache from my hips to my shoulders is delivering varying amounts of pain and in many ways, I just want to disappear, even from myself. I am sure that those responsible for what went wrong yesterday, don’t have the slightest idea of what they do to people, what is the problem with someone having to wait for 4 hours, well if we were fit and healthy, none, but we need the transport because we are anything but. I didn’t put myself into their hands for a giggle or a little day out, I did it because I had no choice and I needed their help, what I got, well yes they took me there and back, but I just wish they could understand the damage now done and the time it will take to return to normal, maybe someone should put them through it and see if they think it is an OK level of service.


Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 07/11/12 – Control of me

I took sometime yesterday to sit and think through what happens now, it is clear that somethings have to change as I really am getting worse and worse when it comes to all the cognitive issues. I haven’t spoken to Adam about this yet and I know he will read this tonight but I am hoping to find the spot to…..