Thursday, 20 March 2008

Oh hospitals ...
The staff are absolutely outstanding. Dad's nurses have that amazing mix of intelligence, care, skill, compassion and understanding, topped off with a detached efficiency when it's called for, and I am astounded at all they do and know. They should be paid squillions and work in palaces. They're always ready with a smile and a laugh, and nothing any of the patients asks of them is ever too much trouble. They run in and out of wards, from one bed to another, all day. They're so impressive.
Dad's also in the hands of physiotherapists, nutritionists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and doctors, and at last his condition has a name: polymyositis. It's an auto-immune condition that can be managed but not cured, and he's likely to be in hospital for another month. But the doctors are optimistic his health will improve, that he will regain strength and eventually return home.
He will need another month in hospital. We're hoping that some of that will be back in his hometown, Albany, so Mum at least can get back to some semblance of ordinary life. It's really tough on her. She doesn't know Perth very well at all, and much of the big teaching hospital and its daily workings confounds her. She just wants to know her husband of 58 years, whom she still calls 'darling', will eventually feel better and more comfortable, and be back in her care, back home with her and the dog, and leading as ordinary a life as possible.
It has been a long, horrible few months since he first elected to have a knee replacement in the first week of January. Not that this present condition seems a result of that surgery, but we can't help feeling that if he'd continued to manage the arthritis in his knee with acupuncture and painkillers, he'd have been so much better off! The little we know, though.
I know Dad's the one in the wars, confined and putting up with everything day after day after day, and in spite of all the fabulous staff, I have to say there are times I absolutely dread going to the hospital ... the sickly pastels, the goings-on behind drawn curtains and in wards with signs that say 'Next of kin only', the obstacle course of apparatus outside in the corridors, the beeping of hi-tech monitors, the sound of the sucking machine from the poor lady opposite Dad who's had some unspeakable procedure on her nose and throat, all the needles and clear plastic tubes, 'canulation', the 'bloods' lady, fluids in and fluids out ... aaagh! The whole experience makes me long for the scent of oranges and lemons and lungfuls of fresh air!


Jennifer said...

It's a relief at least that they know now what's ailing your dad so they may appropriately treat him. How long will you stay to help?

It's ok to not like hospitals, ok not to want to have to go -- while it's true that the patient is the one who suffers most acutely, the reality is that the process is also very, very hard on loved ones. It's a different kind of suffering, but it's ok to acknowledge that it is a suffering nonetheless. Saying it gives you access to support, help, love, and helps process it better than keeping it in.

Natalie said...

Jennifer says it well... so, I'm just here to hold your hand, listen and nod. Take care of yourself.

Table Talk said...

Being able to give it a name and to know that something can be done to manage the condition is such a big step forward. I'm really pleased. Hospital visiting can be so difficult, not the least because of the energy you expend trying to be upbeat. Very hard when you're walking into a ward full of elderly and very ill patients. We're all here to help you with our thoughts and do let your Mom know how much we care as well.

GeraniumCat said...

I'm so sorry you and your family have been having such a dreadful time. I'll be thinking of you too.