Sunday, 19 February 2012

Community First Responder

Had a blissful nights sleep in my own bed without oxygen and didn't wake myself up gasping for air, brilliant! This drug is obviously working because I've started to get rid of a lot of gunk and after each coughing session my breathing gets a little bit easier. It is obvious though that this is not going to be a quick fix but slow and steady progress. I was hoping to return to work later this week but realistically I don't think that is going to happen. Funnily enough I don't mind, I had a big enough scare not to take any risks by rushing things, and considering the amount of bugs floating around the office it is probably best I don't expose myself until I've got things under control.

This was my first experience of having to prepare my drugs and change my line in a hospital and to say it was fraught would be an understatement. I've already written about how my ward mates left a bit to be desired, well one old woman, who was clearly suffering some sort of mental health problem, was the main cause for a less than relaxed time. The first night I moved from HDU she decided to draw the curtains back from around me when I was in the process of changing my line. There I was in my bra, in sterile gloves sitting in the middle of the ward surrounded by visitors including a couple of men and unable to touch anything. Fortunately a nurse walked onto the ward at that moment and spared my blushes by whipping the curtain back into place. She explained to the daft old bat that she was to leave the curtains until I pulled them back and calm was restored. The second night I pulled the curtains around me to change my line and was just setting everything up when the curtains were grabbed back and the woman started to scream at me that I was to leave the curtains alone and how dare I pull them around without asking her. In no mood for an argument I got one of the nurses and battle commenced. The daft old bat wanted me off the ward and said if I wanted to do that sort of thing I should book a private room, as if I WANT to have to change my line every night. The nurse was really good and explained once again that it was something I had to do in private and, no, I couldn't rent a room to do it in and why should I when pulling the curtains around normally gave me all the privacy I want. In the end the nurse had to stay on the ward for the whole time it took me to get things done. If I had stayed a third night I would have asked for use of the treatment room, it is certainly something I'll be asking for next time I go in.

The nurse took me aside afterward and explained that this old woman was in fact much better than she had been. In previous weeks she had been getting into bed with other patients or getting into their beds when they went to the loo. She has also attacked visitors that she doesn't like the look of and been found wandering around other wards. Although I sympathised it didn't really make me feel any better about what happened. I was really glad I was allowed home because I hate to think what she'd try and do next.

Andrew passed his Community First Responder course and is now qualified to use a defibrillator amongst other things. We have taken pictures of him in his jacket and he looks so young, indeed he was the youngest on the course and in fact one of the youngest volunteers they've ever had. I suspect he'll bowl up and people will refuse to believe he's qualified. He will be riding out on a twelve hour shift with an ambulance crew either next weekend or the weekend after and then he will be officially on call evenings and weekends. He knows he's going to see some horrible sights but if he wants to be a paramedic he's got to get used to horrible sights and horrible people so it is going to be good experience for him. Until he passes his driving test, hopefully at the end of this month, and we can find a reasonable insurance quote for him, Peter and I have also volunteered, as his drivers.

In the news I've been reminded of a story that broke a little while ago but for some reason passed me by at the time. This is the story of a couple who won ten million on the lottery but are still claiming their £500 DLA and are driving around in a motability car. Now quite rightly, when challenged, this couple state that they worked and paid taxes all their lives until the husband became ill, I forget with what, and that they are only claiming what they are entitled too. Fair enough but we are not really talking about legal rights here, we are talking morals. If I won a large amount on the lottery I would no longer claim DLA because I am mindful of all those people who rely on DLA to live on and I'd rather my money went to someone who really needed it. Too keep claiming benefits no matter how entitled you may be when you don't need it is pure selfishness. It is the same with those who win big but hang onto their jobs. Again legally nothing wrong but if you've got a couple of million sitting in your bank account why deprive someone else of a much needed weekly wage? The argument is that they wouldn't know how to fill the day if they didn't work, fare enough but how about charity work? There are thousands of organisations out there that are crying out for volunteers, pick one and get on with it. Or why not use the money to go traveling? As for the couple, well maybe the outcry has made them reconsider their position, I hope so. One thing it must not do though is make DLA means tested. The whole point of DLA is to help disabled people live as normal a life as possible. This often costs a lot of money as special equipment is not cheap and neither is hiring someone to clean your house when you are unable to do it yourself. DLA is to cover the extra expenses disabled people often find themselves facing, not to prop up the bank accounts of millionaires.

The cats cannot decide whether they are pleased to see me or whether I should be punished for leaving them. At the moment I am getting cuddles only when they want them. If I pick them up for a cuddle I get growled at. Goodness knows what reception I'll get after transplant when I'll be missing for up to six weeks.