A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A man's problematic life

Normally I like to post daily on this blog. Sometimes I can't upload because there's an outage on the system. Or my broadband supplier seems to be overloaded and I'm not online. Or I'm just too busy on other matters. However, none of these apply as the reason for absence is that I've just come out of a 48-hour stay in hospital. What was wrong? Well, I've got a man's problem - with my prostate.

I should have done something more about it, I know! Just a visit four years ago when the doctor advised that it was "just getting older" as the likely problem! If I was still in the USA then some doctor would have given me four physicals by now - and probably found the engorging gland quite a while back. This, though, is England, where you have to have a real problem occur before the NHS takes it seriously. On Tuesday morning, my weeing facility packed up entirely, causing my bladder to extend somewhat. In agony, and near desperation, I went via the doctor and ambulance to the hospital, where I got the catheter treatment. Wow! what pain indeed but what a relief too!

After two nights, blood and urine tests, and hospital life to be experienced, I came through. I am indeed lucky. Some in there had cancers and tumours and serious pains. I had only a benign swelling. But as one "inmate" said, "you had a wake-up call" and I did.

I do wish, though, that the doctors in the UK would give all men a regular screening. How much money would be saved? Loads, I've no doubt. I took up a bed for two days and two nights when I wasn't ill as such. Being there, though, gave me a crash course in modern NHS workings. I got the impression that the system is like a medical factory. Nurses no longer seem connected with the patients, the doctors are remote (although the one who saw me was great!) and the food is nowhere near Jamie Oliver stuff. Patients get mixed messages from the staff, especially about things like going home.

"Are you going home today?" (Nurse)
"Yes, I think so"
"Anybody told you about whether you're going home?" (Another nurse)
"Not really, but I think I am" (patient still hoping!)
"I'll check with the doctor to see if it's OK for you to go home" (Staff Nurse)

And then it's confounded more if pills from the pharmacy are required. More forms, more legwork, more possible confusion. If the patients didn't band together to act as a mutual information centre, then getting to know about anything can be something where a diplomat's notebook would come in handy.

However, it would be untrue to say that the treatment received is not thoroughly professional. It is. It is just the bureaucratic atmosphere that pervades the wards. Little niggles seem just below the surface. The staff have a canny knowledge of the pettiness lurking in the system. Whatever money is thrown into the NHS, they don't seem to be receiving enough to give them a proper level of professional pride. They do their best despite the circumstances.

Perhaps those in charge, both ministers and executives, could spend a night in a ward bed. It would tell them all they needed to know. I went in with prostate problems (which was fantastically sorted!) but came out with backache (the bed!), constipation (the food!) and a severe lack of sleep! The thing about hospitals is the low level noise - doors, walking, trollies, buckets, aircon, they all add to the noise. And then the lights - far brighter than at home.

I came out Thursday afternoon. I'm still not quite back on form, but after tonight's sleep I should be feeling as I was! Oh, and the pills I'm on. Medical science at it's best.


Post a Comment