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
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
Perhaps the Extra Special Icing on our Cake, so to say, has been the
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!