Tuesday, 16 May 2017

I made a hospital visit

No, not for me and - for once - not a member of the family or someone I know who lives in the immediate vicinity.
I went to visit a friend who lives alone. She had major emergency surgery a week ago.  
Her brother-in-law, a man I had never met, phoned me to give me the news. She had, he said, asked him to tell me.
Of course the hospital she is in is one of those that is impossible for me to get to on public transport. I don't even think about attempting to cross major highways by paw or foot. I don't like crossing them on the trusty tricycle.
     "I don't drive but I'll phone her," I told him. I sensed a hesitation there but thought no more of it.
On Saturday she phoned and said, "I really do want to see you if you can come. Will you let T.... pick you up?"
     "It's out of his way," I said in alarm. Indeed it is considerably out of his way.
     "No. I explained. He wants to do it."
We argued for a bit but something told me to stop. T... phoned on Sunday.
     "Just after one tomorrow," he told me. "We won't try today. The place will be full of Mother's Day visitors."
T.... turned up a few minutes early to pick me up. He met the Senior Cat - and I thought I might have to gently pull them apart as they started to chat. 
I hadn't actually met T... before but he is, as I suspected, a thoughtful man. Doors were opened for me. He left me as close as possible to the entrance with the words, "It's still a bit of a hike I'm afraid but if you like to get started I'll park the car."
I found J.... after going up in the lift and along a very long corridor. At the nurses' station I asked if I could see her. Of course. Again there was something there that told me it had been right to come despite having T... go out of his way to do it.
And she was pleased to see me, more pleased than seemed reasonable - until I realised what was bothering her. No, she should recover but I know it has made her aware of how vulnerable she is living on her own with a disability.  Although it was mentioned in passing we didn't actually talk about it. We talked about other things quietly.
She is in a ward with five other patients. There was a dirty towel lying under the bed. Her intravenous drip was not working properly and kept beeping. A nurse eventually came in and adjusted it  - and told me, "If it happens again can you press that and that?" I did just that later.
And T..., the true gentleman he is, after looking in briefly said, "I'm going to have a look at some books on sale downstairs". He left us to talk. 
As he left me at home and shook my paw firmly he said, "Thank you so much coming. She needed to talk to someone."
Yes, I think she did and I'm glad I let T... take me. 
With luck they will transfer her in a short while to the rehabilitation place much closer to me. I can pedal down there easily - and I will. 
And I will let her talk.


Holly Doyne said...

Yes. Those who are alone are fine in early years. But as we age we start seeing how vulnerable we are. An acquaintance (met on a ship) wound up dying alone in hospital at 86 far from friends and had no family left. By the time I learned of where he was and made arrangements to go see him, he wasn't conscious. I still regret not getting there a day earlier just so that he would have know someone knew and cared.

Thank you for making the trip.

cathyc said...

I hope you don't think there is something special about the equipment not working and lack of cleanliness. Here in Geneva where (to give an idea of what we pay for what is supposed to be about as good as health care gets) I pay the minimum possible compulsory health costs of about $9000AUD/year plus 10% of all bills, I watched a friend die in hospital last year. She had days where the machine she was hooked up to beeped incessantly because it didn't work properly - I don't know how she coped. And the night before she died, sharing a ward for about 8 people, one of them was insane, should not have been in a normal hospital at all, and spent the entire night screaming. No peace for Genia at any point, no wonder she tried to stay out of the place.