So. Where were we? Ranting about the NHS I think.
After speaking to Ma last night, it transpires that Pa has TWO largely-antibiotic-resistant infections. A UTI and a chest infection. He is having intravenous antibiotics of Agent Orange status, that have to be especially sanctioned by someone important in the pharmacy at the hospital. He is quite weak physically and has been suffering from dehydration, because between Ma and Sister-Natalie going in at lunch-time and tea-time to feed him, respectively, no-one seems to be giving him anything to drink.
He can't use his hands very well, even to hold a cup or a fork and no-one will sit him up or help him out of bed, because the electric hoist on the ward is broken and the nurses are not allowed to lift people.
Yesterday the physio came (with a hoist-thingy) and got him out of bed to sit in the chair. She put his knee-brace (his knee has basically disintegrated because of arthritis) on the wrong leg, back to front.
He has been taken off most of his medication because the fourteen different things he was on, including warfrin, were probably contributing to the stomach bleeding - so his circulation is fucked and his feet were really painful all the time he was sitting out - no-one's fault, that, just the situation. Presumably at some point, if he survives the lack of personal care, they will start re-introducing things one at a time and see what happens.
He wears two hearing aids and the hospital managed to lose the mould on the right-hand one the second day that he was in there, just over three weeks ago. No-one has been able to find it and despite the audiology department being five minutes walk down the corridor, a replacement has not yet been found. Because it is his 'good' ear that is missing the aid, he is having quite a lot of trouble hearing what people are saying to him, which is giving the staff the impression that he is wandering in his mind rather than merely deaf.
No-one seems to read the notes that previous staff have written up, although everyone seems to write reams and reams of stuff themselves. Some of it patently big fat lies - like, apparently, last Thursday, he sat out during the afternoon. Sister-Natalie was there at lunchtime to feed him and Ma went in mid-afternoon and stayed until early evening. He wasn't sat out then. So when WAS he sat out? And Ma was verbally told that he had fallen out of bed on Monday night - but in the notes, it said that he had a very quiet and peaceful night.
I am SO FUCKING ANGRY. And I am so sorry to be stirring up all these horrors for some of the people who have left me comments.
What kind of Health Service do we actually have? A SHIT one, if you don't mind me saying so. Surely feeding people, toileting them, helping them sit up, making sure that they can drink, even communicating with them are all an integral part of nursing? Giving them tablets, sticking needles in them, prescribing, cutting them open - all vital, necessary parts of medical care. But the rest of it - if you like, the soothing the troubled brow part of it - why are nurses too busy and/or important to do that? And don't get me started on the lack of hand-washing as the staff move from patient to patient, particularly given that Pa has a huge notice in red letters saying INFECTION CONTROL stuck up above his bed.
Why aren't there more nurses? I concur with Z's comment on my last post - some of it is lack of inclination on the staff's part - some of them DO see elderly people as bed-blockers. And I think, generally the NHS as a whole sees elderly people as a nuisance. But some of it is that although the staff are kind, caring people, they simply don't have the time. And the simple remedy for that is more staff, paid a decent wage to do an essential job.
I rarely wish people ill. But do you know, I really hope that the Department of Health Ministers end up in a recovery ward for elderly people with no family to visit them, lying in their own urine, unable to sit up, with their food and drink placed on a wheeled table six inches away from their hands. Of course, their opinion about the state of the NHS and the levels of care won't matter then, because they'll be old. And good luck to them.