More than one national institution on the edge

by wjohngalloway

Weird couple of days.
On Tuesday Ailsa had a completely debilitating headache that lasted all of 90 seconds but was so intense it left her disoriented and “fuzzy”. I pestered her into going to the doctor and then whisked her down to Borders General as instructed. To remove any worries I’ll state here and now that she’s fine, the consensus was that “something” had happened but the scans didn’t show anything to cause further worry.
Anyway, the hospital experience was a real shock to me, and I’ve got some experience where hospitals are concerned! ;o(
A+E was clean as a whistle, the doctor was great, but the general communication was not so great. The right hand didn’t seem to know what the left was doing and the only way I could find out what was going on was by pestering folk, which I did after a long time. Ailsa was growing more and more agitated having heard the phrase “Brain Hemorrhage” fairly frequently so it’d have been nice to be kept informed.
CT/MRI suite was nice and my mood was slightly improved by two old women discussing their sex lives 40 years ago in voices that were probably audible in Peebles.
After a while Ails was moved to an assessment ward and both of us found it really depressing. The nurses were pleasant with Ails but some of them were clearly exasperated with their older patients, dignity shouldn’t be an optional extra. The floors were stained and looked dirty, the ward telly wasn’t working with a dodgy plug which worked when you wobbled it and an aerial cable hanging loose (not vital but indicative of general neglect), the first two blood pressure + pulse machines the nurse pulled up weren’t working and we heard many details of folk’s lives, that probably should have been confidential, discussed in very loud voices. It just felt like bedlam.
As ever with the NHS, the staff were committed but the whole place had a “coping, but hanging on by the skin of their teeth” feel that contrasted sharply with my own experience in the same hospital in the nineties when I smashed my elbow at Glentress.
Didn’t see any point complaining to the staff since they were clearly doing their best with the tools and resources they had, but have written to my MP and MSP (for all the good it’ll do). Like the Royal Mail, the NHS seems to need emergency treatment to just survive, never mind thrive!
Ailsa and I returned home even more determined to live healthier lives henceforth so that if we ended up in such a place again it wouldn’t be our own fault. (Other than normal, run of the mill fractures etc).

Anyway, enough of that, I’ve got to go pronounce the death sentence on some designer poultry.

Finally, even if you don’t live in the UK get on the UK itunes store and buy Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah so that it gets to number one instead of the sanitized X-Factor version!