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Jim Blog

The Typical Day.

When you are an inpatient in hospital, there are always some good days. Thankfully, bad days are very rare. Most days just come and go with the same faces and the same routine. Nothing particularly good, nothing particularly bad. It’s just a typical day.

It starts off with one of the Health Care Assistants coming in with the weighing chair. Sitting in it in a daze, I soon wake up because it’s so cold. Getting back into bed, I realise it’s fruitless trying to back asleep. All of the other men are awake, getting weighed and chatting. In comes the phlebotomist to take some blood. Not bad at all. Just two attempts needed this morning. The ward gets busier and busier as the crews change over.

I put on the radio on my phone and tune into the news. I used to work as a journalist, old habits die hard… One of the other men has his radio on too. No earphones though. It’s loud. One of the nurses asks him to turn it down. “Sorry love!” he says reducing the volume. The young man in the bed opposite has his earphone in constantly. He’s in his early to mid-twenties. I’m about twenty years older than he is and I’m easily twenty years younger than the rest of the men in the room. Just by looking at him I can tell he’s done this before. His demeanour, the way he talks to the staff, especially the nurses and doctors. He’s outwardly relaxed. I can see an old scar peeping through the top of his gown. This visit to the hospital doesn’t seem to faze him. He is, to use a term I hate, used to this. Paediatrics and now the adult service, he is a veteran of hospital admissions. “Dr. Walsh?” I ask, catching his eye. He nods yes. I give him a wink, “Me too”. He smiles. He’s met someone on the same team and so have I. When I was his age, I thought that I was bullet proof. Now, I’m not even waterproof! We chat over the course of the next few days. I hope the conversations were as useful to him as they were to me.

After breakfast and the medication, a porter come in with a wheelchair. “Now, James O’Brien,” he reads from the list. “Ah howya, Jem,” It’s Simon. He recognises me from multiple visits to the hospital. “X-Ray,” he announces. As I am an inpatient, I must be wheeled down to the X-Ray department. It’s always colder once you leave the ward so I have a blanket on my legs with the big hairy slippers sticking out underneath. Some of the nurses forget my name, but they never forget the slippers! Simon and I shoot the breeze about the hospital, why I’m in this time, all the usual stuff. He’s a really nice guy and it’s people like him that make hospital stays more bearable. After the X-Ray we are off to the cardiac clinic for some more tests. All of the staff in the clinic seem to know me. Seeing that I’m an inpatient, I set sympathetic “Aah”s and head-tilts. First up, the ECHO. Paul Ryan, chief technician does it. We’ve known each other for years. We have a chuckle and a bit of banter. He’s always smiling. When we finish, I wipe the gooey lubricant off and put on my t-shirt. <squelch> Ugh… I always miss a bit. It’s cold and slimy and now mushed into my t-shirt. Following the device (ICD) check, I go for an ECG. Reading the ECG report, the technician raises an eyebrow. As usual it looks like a Richter Scale report, but there is no panic. She’s done many of these before and no doubt some with me.

I’m back on the ward in plenty of time for dinner and I’m delighted to see that my bed has been made while I was away.  With the morning being the busiest time of the day, not a huge amount happens afterwards. TV, radio, reading, a chat with the other men, even an hour’s sleep passes the time. After a quick update from one of the doctors to tell me of my progress and more food at about 5 o’clock, the day winds down with some more TV a look at the newspaper, making a mess of the crossword and ever decreasing conversations with the other men. Lights out begins the nocturnal symphony of coughs, burps, farts and snoring. The end of the day. A day that wasn’t exactly good, certainly was not bad but, overall, it was ok. It was a typical day.

Be Kind to Yourself.

Jim Blog
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