Monday, February 7

Again, the Visitor's Chair...

First, today's Angel, that came to visit it seemed, and waited for me to get my camera. Only for one pic though!

This is partly the post I had intended to write the first time I was a visitor to the Hospital, while Gom was so ill, and having treatment.

I never did complete the first account, and now, after his third stay, I have decided to write of the latest Ward.

It somehow seem irreverent to be writing of things that made me amused or horrified, in turn.
It is not to laugh at other's misfortune, but rather to dispel some of the horror as we all know what can, or may, befall us, at the ending of our lives.

During his latest visit to Hospital, which was due to a phone call from a Haematologist on a Sunday morning, to tell us to get Gom immediately to Hospital, as his blood count was dangerously low at his latest test, which had been done on the Friday, he spent considerable time in the ED, while they cross matched his blood again, and waited for a bed in a Ward.

Because it was Sunday, the 'Teams' of Doctors for his ongoing condition, were not on duty, but the blood transfusions could be started.

When I returned after having to rest myself, I was directed to the new Ward.

At the risk of sounding rude, Gom seemed to be the only 'sane' person in residence. In fact the nurses kept telling him he should not be on that Ward.  The man in the bed opposite Gom, was of Arabic nationality I am guessing, (his wife was certainly very beautiful, in that lovely dark eyed way). I will call this man Yasmin, which is not his name, but one of the food service ladies dubbed him that, when she delivered his meals. I have no idea why, as his real name, displayed above his bed, bore no resemblance to 'Yasmin'.

I thought perhaps Yasmin had had a stroke, but apparently that was not the case. Gom learned, through the very public and loud conversations with Doctors, that he had some progressive disease, but was also now dying of cancer. He did not seem to speak much English, and he was very hard to understand. I felt really sorry for him, when he tried to speak to me, with his large, soft, sad eyes pleading to be understood. Nurses became somewhat impatient with him, as he refused to use his buzzer, and insisted on clapping loudly to gain attention. I pressed his buzzer for him, when he told me loudly "I need to pee!!"  Every day, his lovely wife came to feed him his evening meal, arriving with three course meals of delicious smelling food. He routinely refused the Hospital fare, which was completely crap not all bad, though some was not exactly tempting!

To Gom's left was a man who really resembled the Parrot from upon the Pirate's shoulder! I dubbed him Parrot, mentally. He shouted very loudly every time he spoke, and demanded the nurses bring him his "Potty". One nurse, who admitted to Gom that she has no patience, snapped at him regularly, telling him he could walk to the toilet, using his walker. He kept having the most hideous sneezing fits, which shook the very curtains, and then he would shout "Pull you head in!!" several times,  at the top of his lungs.
In between fits of sneezing, he told tales of choking people to death, and other preposterous stories, all of gory detail and horrible nature.

In the diagonally opposite bed, was a man who had MS, and he became agitated every so often, and his wife would sit and soothe him to calmness again. She told us he was waiting for a vacancy, in a Home , as she could no longer care for him herself. I felt very sorry for her, as she was having to sell their house, and was trying to ready it for viewing, whilst visiting him every day. All this, in searing heat, and exhausting humidity.

It is curious the way visitors make the acquaintance of each other, and the other resident patients. Hellos are said upon arrival, and farewells murmured at the end of the visit.

Yasmin would ask me the time each day, waiting forlornly for it to be 4.30 and the arrival of his lovely wife. Parrot would ramble on and on, with his stories and his sneezing attacks. Mr MS was very quiet, but would occasionally growl gutturally, perhaps because he was losing ability to speak.

Gom said the first night in this Ward was hideous. He could not sleep, and, though he is rather deaf, and would remove his hearing aids, he said there was constant talking. At first he thought it was Yasmin talking to himself, in two different voices, but he finally worked out it was Parrot, raving on, whereupon, Yasmin would answer him~ in Arabic! Of course none of it made sense, and Gom was surprised to realise they were both talking in their sleep, taking turns,  in an apparent 'conversation'. He wondered fleetingly if they could understand each other!

Parrot went away to some Home, late the second day, to Gom's relief, and another terminal man was briefly in the bed, but they whisked him off after a few hours~ still alive, I might add! An old and extremely frail old woman was immediately wheeled into the ward, and she actually appeared to be deceased when she first arrived. However the nurses roused her, and got her sitting up in a chair. Not quite truly sitting up, as she kept lolling her head onto her chest and sleeping. Her bed table was carefully positioned in front of her chair,  to prevent a fall to the floor.

Gom said she spent the night screaming at Yasmin, to "Shut up and go to sleep!!" as he spoke in his sleep.
The nurses had to hold her head up by the forehead to feed her, and she ate little but custard, jelly,  and juice, and having no teeth, I guess that is all she could do. I was quietly appalled, and hope I never get to that stage. She certainly appeared to have no quality of life, either being asleep or needing to urgently use the toilet, and failure to make it, made her very upset. She was querulous and sharp with the nurses, demanding instant attention, which of course, they could not give, being run off their tired feet.

Another woman was given Mr MS's bed in the corner, and apparently she was quite deaf, had no hearing aids, and had the television blaring at top volume all night. It rather worried me when I overheard a Doctor explaining something to her about a heart monitor, as it appears she has the same problem as I have just discovered I have.
She became insistent she wished to speak with her daughter by phone, then, when the nurse brought her the phone, she insisted she could not hear anyone, and her daughter was not there. The nurse had to relay her wishes. I wondered why no one has told her about hearing aids. She said she lives on her own, so perhaps there is no one to get furious at too-loud TV.

Gom could not wait to be discharged, and he held his breath most of the afternoon of his discharge, hoping to reach the magic number on his blood count, so he could escape.
He had had another 7 units of blood, and also some surgical procedures. We know he will be needing more.

I hope he does not return to that particular Ward next time.

We have just survived the hottest week on record, and also lived through the hottest night on record. It sent us scurrying off to buy another aircon for our bedroom. It is lucky the Southerly storm blew in on Sunday afternoon, bringing fierce rain and howling winds, as well as fresh, heavenly cool air!

As if all this has not been enough, our TV aerial has been doubtful read clapped for some time, and a fierce storm had blown it very crooked. Finally today we had a nice man come and install a new one! Guess what~ it now gives perfect reception, and the picture is once again crystal clear. Gom has little to amuse him,  but he can still watch TV if he sits almost upon the screen.

Perhaps the Extra Special Icing on our Cake, so to say, has been the complete bastard breakdown of our toilet cistern. I become furious with things that stop working. I want them fixed yesterday. I have wanted the wretched thing replaced, for the last 5 times we have had it repaired. This time my patience snapped, and we are about to get a new one! Who ever dreamed that one day I would be sublimely happy, at the thought of a new water cistern?

Our Neighbour, the Groom, who recently lost his Bride, came to visit this afternoon, to tell us he has had a stroke, and is now blind in one eye. He can no longer drive his car, and since he is a Horse Trainer, which has been his lifelong passion, he would hate to have to give up his work. He is still training his beloved horses, and is collected by relatives and friends each morning. He considers himself lucky to have had the clot stop at his eye, so he is not disabled or dead. He is over 80, so I felt a little ashamed when he said the alternative is not good, and I told him sometimes it seems damn attractive to me!


marigold jam said...

What a nightmare time you are having just now Meggie! Poor GOM and those poor other patients in the hospital. I guess we none of us ever think we might be reduced to such a life but we cannot know what might befall us and all we can do is hope and pray that when our time comes we will not have to go through all this. I wish I could offer some quick easy solution to your problems but sadly all I can do is to offer my support and friendship and to let you know you are being thought about. It sounds as though a big hug and someone to sit and listen would fit the bill which sadly I cannot do.

Jane x

Pauline said...

Ah Meggie, you are right - we need humor to alleviate the awfulness. I'm hoping things improve and commend your bravery in the face of everything you're going through. It's good that you can write here - holding warm and healing thoughts for you and GOM.

Angie said...

I have no words to express the thoughts and emotions I feel for you (and GOM) right now. I've experienced some of the horrors you describe. My brother and I promise that we will not let each other reach that point---how we will prevent that is yet to be exactly laid out. LOL Oh Meggie, I'm wrapping my arms around you, hugs of love and support. I know there are thousands of miles between us, and we've never met 'face to face' if you will, but I 'know' you so well, and I'm distraught at how things are going for the two of you. Know that you are in my heart.

Linds said...

I have been thinking of you, Meggie. And I know there has to be a great deal you have not said here to contend with too. So I am sending you hugs and a whole lot of love and hopefully letting you know that I understand. And hurrah for the new cistern and aerial!

The Sagittarian said...

What a b***std time of it you're having eh? I do hope that you make sure you look after yourself too, no point you both being banged up in t'hospickle eating bad food! Hugs (and a nice Marlborough Sauv Blanc) sent your way!! :-)

ancient one said...

Sometimes we laugh to keep from crying. I am so sorry that you are having to go through all this. And especially in such heat (reminded me how hot it was when my husband was in the hospital last year) Please try to take good care of yourself. (((((hugs!)))))

fifi said...

ooh, thats just all so awful I relate totally to the hospital story, having to endure endless visits to hospitals for my father. He is always surrounded with poor souls, and I HATE going. It is one of the reasons I am so fanatic on health and exercise: I just dont want to end up like that.
You must be having a rotten time!

On a cheery note, you look FAB in your profile pic! You look so young, that cheeky face of yours still shines through.You look as if you yourself are very healthy!

Goos wishes to Gom and hope he is comfortable at least.

Tanya said...

It is not funny but you do draw a clear picture of life in a hospital ward. It brought back memories of two summers ago when I was sitting by my mother's hospital bed. In her room they were speaking Spanish rather than Arabic and swear words rather than parrot talk.

Sheila said...

Meggie, never lose that sense of humour!
I'm sorry GOM has had another hospital stay, and in such noisy surroundings.
It has to be annoying when you are unwell.
How infuriating that the cistern has clapped out, there is always something isn't there.
It's good that you can still see the funny side of it though.
I hope your new meds are working, and you are starting to feel better?

Christine Thresh said...

Your humor is such a gift. You can tell us horrible stories and yet see the funny side of things. Your descriptions are marvelous.
I do hope your meds get you on an even keel. You must not let yourself get worn down. I know this is a hard row to hoe, but you are doing it one inch at a time.
The angel thoughts are coming in unexpected ways. You must attract them.
It's good to be happy about a new cistern (whatever that is).

Kira said...

Hai, i like the picture, so natural


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Anonymous said...

Dear Meggie, I have just read your account of the hospital. You are a wonderful writer, I can picture you there and all the people in the ward. I'm sorry that your GOM is sick. The angels will help you. They do turn up when least expected don't they.
Take care,

Warty Mammal said...


This is one of the most accurate descriptions of a circle of hell that I've read outside of Dante.

Wishing well for you and the GOM.