Dear lovely people – what a year it’s been!
I hope you’re all keeping well, safe… and as far as you can be – happy, under these unusual circumstances.
It’s been a while since I put ‘pen to paper’ – and I apologise for this. I had many plans in place, to wrap this year up – as efficiently as possible… a special interview lined up, for an article I was excited to write – and a project closely in tow. And… I of-course, also had plans to venture up north a bit, to spend some much-needed time with my family… all in which, had to be cancelled : ( .
December has always been, one of my favourite months of the year… but – my-oh-my – – not this time around. The exciting build up to Christmas… festive foreplay – if you will; for me – was replaced with a stint in hospital, a great deal of worry, time off work… and undergoing never-ending scans. It’s safe to say – that I sealed up my 2020… as productively and efficiently, ‘as a backwards fart’… as my witty grandmother would say! But… it did get me thinking!
I landed in hospital, during a time of the pandemic. At a time when Covid-19 figures were steeply on the rise again; and a new variant of the virus was emerging. My heart had always sunk, thinking about the unfortunate people in hospital throughout Covid – contemplating the reality of them being all alone – and unable to touch or see their loved ones. It was a heart-wrenchingly difficult idea for me to comprehend; and I was now receiving – a very small taste, of the actuality – of this blurred vision… in my mind.
In all… I. Felt. Horrendous. And now… I was left alone, separated from my son and my family – with nothing but my own, torturous-thoughts for company. I was an in-patient within the Surgical Emergency Unit, where I was surrounded by other people – many of whom, were in a great deal of pain. I heard patients asking, if they could have just one visitor – for a short while; this usually being their mum, daughter or husband. The answer was always, a resoundingly clear… ‘no’. I mean – in the politest possible manner; but still a definitive answer, that left a distressing echo in my ears.
As time went on, I could hear the consultants debating my situation one morning; and I then listened to their footsteps, as they walked over to advise me… that biopsies, further blood tests and scans were required. I became anxious; and hyper-aware, of all of the little sounds and procedures belonging to the ward. The morning would arrive; along with a fresh team of day staff; and I would then listen to the handover sessions that religiously took place. The day would gradually pass… and the dreaded darkness would approach again. It felt lonely… and quite honestly – scary.
As an inpatient during Covid-19 – the hospital becomes your axis… whereby earth seems to stop; and all that appears to be happening from your window – is the image of doctors and nurses coming and going. You observe the NHS team, pivoting around their central point – the hospital axis; and bringing with them – either night or day… darkness or light. Day-in-day-out. And. that’s. it…. you lie there in pain, smothered in your own anxieties, unable to feel the touch of a loved one for comfort.
In comparison to many other poor patients around the world – I wasn’t hospitalised for long; and for the most part – I got the all clear… in the end. But what I can tell you, with certainty – is that it was a disturbing experience. I can still honestly only imagine; and send out my biggest wishes for a speedy recovery – to anybody having to spend a significant amount of time in hospital. It’s a frightening thing to have to live through; and my heart is with you all.
As for the clinicians – this was my first experience, of witnessing doctors and nurses operate within a highly stressful environment. As previously mentioned, the staff within SEU, would rotate around this imaginary ‘emergency axis‘ – non-stop, ensuring that each patient was seen. I had a couple of wonderful nurses by my side – throughout, who did all that they could to make me feel more comfortable. I was in a lot of pain, but I was never made to feel, as though anything was too much for these wonderful people. The doctors and nurses of SEU, did our hospital proud – and although I could see that they were incredibly busy – I admired their sheer tenacity and strength… to carry on.
Clinicians work exceptionally hard within the NHS; and it is truly the most precious thing, we – here in the UK possess. I’ve now seen what goes on… under a slightly different light – and I would like to end this post by saying… that we must always respect and protect our NHS… and the good people in it.
Take care of yourselves and others – and here’s wishing you all… a happy and healthy New Year. It may take a while for things to get back to an acceptable level or ‘normal’… but we will get there – eventually ; ) .