Sunday, 4 October 2015

Battling hospital stays

Before my diagnosis, I had only spent one night in a hospital. One night, that's nothing. I was pretty high on morphine so I cant even remember that one night. So, it was a pretty big shock to the system to be spending 2 and a half weeks in a hospital. I must admit, at UCLH all the patients are so spoiled by all the hospital staff including the nurses, cleaners, activity co-ordinators and more. At the time I didn't appreciate what they all did for me to the max because I didn't really know any difference. But wow, the spoiled statement is no exaggeration now I've experienced stays in different hospitals.

For cancer patients if your temperature hits 38, its game over. Your straight to your local hospital to be admitted and hooked up to antibiotics. It is so important to be taken to your local hospital as you don't know what nasty infection or virus could be brewing inside of you. Sadly for me, I am not too keen on my local hospital. Even before I had ever been to UCLH, I still didn't like it. So, whenever my temperature has hit 38 I have cried at the mere fact that I will be spending the next few days or so at a hospital filled of happiness, sunshine, bright coloured walls and surrounded by staff that have smiles from ear to ear.. Ha. Ha. Sarcasm at it's finest.

I don't want this to be me comparing one hospital to another because to be frank, no-one really likes staying in hospital, end of. But the way you are treated at a hospital can seriously affect your stay on a whole, for the better or the worse. I have experienced both. At UCLH the staff do the best and most they can for you, make you feel comfortable, always give you a smile, encourage you to get out of bed, try and make you laugh and provide you with things to distract your mind and pass the time. Every private room has a flat screen tv and every bed on the ward has a little tv. Just the tone in the nurses voice makes you feel better and more at home. 

My local hospital on the other hand has a completely different vibe and atmosphere. I am always given an isolation room which literally isolates me from the outside world as there is no tv, the windows are misted so I can't even people watch, there is no wifi so I can't even access internet or social media for my entertainment and to top it all off I never ever get any service so I cant even text or call anyone when I am on the edge of insanity. I just want to re-mention.. no internet, how on earth do they expect me to keep calm when I can't access my daily intake of my netflix series? How am I suppose to find out who gossip girl or A is and whether Elena is turned into a vampire?

Also, I don't get the same friendly attitude from all the staff and it's often moments of awkward silence when I am being tended to by a nurse. Don't get me wrong, some of the staff are lovely but the staff change daily so I often wake up to a new nurse if the cleaner hasn't already woken me up at 6 am (UCLH give us a lie in). It's hard to put my faith and trust in some of the staff to care for me properly when some of them are oblivious to my cancer diagnosis and it is draining to tell the same facts about me over and over again when really it should all be on my files. But the only way I can battle through a hospital stay is knowing its only temporary and although these couple of days can be harsh with the serious lack of sleep, it will make you appreciate the comfort of your bedroom all the more. 

My hospital stay essentials - 

  • A couple pairs of cosy pyjama's - because you don't want to be stuck with the manky dressing gown type thing that most local hospitals provide you with
  • Toiletries 
  • Flip flops or slippers 
  • A whole load of DVD's to make those long days seem that little bit shorter 
  • Knitting - I must confess although I always have a crack at it.. I then also give up through frustration of not being able to get the hang of knit one purl one
  • A load of nail polish's - because if your like me, having pretty nails makes things better
  • Goodies - e.g. sweets and chocolates to comfort eat your way through the hospital stay 
  • Snacks - because you shouldn't be expecting a 5* breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Magazines & papers - if i'm not allowed out in the real world I want to be reading what's going on 
  • Puzzle book - it may seem nerdy but word searches and crosswords are strangely therapeutic. Plus I know I cant be the only one that attempts the sudoku and fails 
  • Head phones - sometimes your not always blessed with a private room so these are a priority
  • Laptop - At UCLH these are provided for me but at my local hospital I desperately need a laptop to watch films & keep my sanity 

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