We have managed to avoid being near anyone with COVID or having any close calls. We have been more or less keeping ourselves to ourselves since the pandemic started. The Little Man went back to school, and the girl’s did a reduced timetable but we have not even had to self isolate because of contact. We have, however, had several hospital visits and I just wanted to write about my family’s experiences.
First, I do realise that not all people’s experiences will be the same but as a family that has had several different trips to hospital I wanted to record it here to show that it doesn’t have to be bad.
The Damaged Thumb and trip to A&E
Only Graham could go and nearly sever his thumb in the middle of the first lockdown. The washing machine broke and while trying to fix it, his hand slipped against a piece of sharp metal. My kitchen looked like a blood bath. We broke rules by getting a neighbour to take him to A&E, but it was deemed the better option than calling for an ambulance. Once there he was immediately taken to a section which was apart from the COVID admissions or suspected cases. His wound was dressed and he was given pain relief and told to go back to the main hospital first thing in the morning. On his return he was given a small operation to sew up a tendon he’d severed. He was in hospital both times for the shortest period possible. He saw no other patients and felt completely safe. I’m glad to say he made a full recovery and regained the use of his thumb.
I’d had a worrying MRI on my brain in March and my consultant wanted me to have a repeat one a few months later. I had to wait a little longer than three months but my next MRI was a different but not unpleasant experience. The first one I’d waited in a large waiting room before being taken down to the Scanner, I’d had to go in alone but my husband waited with a cup of coffee while I was in there.
The second was taken place in a portable MRI scanner in a car park. There was no waiting room. I arrived by car and was taken straight inside. My husband waited in the car while I was scanned. It was less waiting around for me, but my husband didn’t get to read magazines and use the coffee machine. He did get to listen to his car radio.
Consultant and GP Appointments
Consultant appointments have taken place by telephone, like GP appointments. This hasn’t been a bad thing really, I haven’t had to get dressed or leave the house. I have still been able to convey all my concerns and he has arranged the appropriate treatment.
My teen had a GP appointment which meant we had to go in for blood tests. As she is 15 the GP said he would ask the nurse to take the blood at the surgery, which was more convenient as it’s on the corner of our street. However, my daughter isn’t very good at having her blood taken and it didn’t go very well so she had to be referred to the Children’s hospital. Her Dad took her and she was in and out in 5 minutes, despite having to travel a little further.
Boo and the Little Man both had hospital appointments which had been on hold since March. They finally got around to going in September and they were seen in porta cabins so they did not have to visit the main hospital. This meant that they had no contact with any other patients and were seen quickly.
Star had a follow up after her blood tests showed some anomalies and I took her back to the Children’s hospital. All precautions were in place, one way systems, screens, social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer. Star was seen by a nurse within five minutes of arrival and by the Dr within 20 minutes. In all the years we have been visiting hospitals it has never been so quick.
The other side of the coin must mean that some children are having to miss out on appointments or are having to wait longer.
I had my infusions in September, October and January (I’m midweek my current treatment.) The hospital day ward had been open as usual for treatments and they have a lot of support staff in to help. There are extra precautions taken for safety. I have to be buzzed in one door, then at the second door my temperature is taken before admission to the ward. Masks are given out to those who don’t already have them and there are hand sanitizers available. The treatment chairs are more widely spaced out so you are never closer than two metres to another patient. The rooms are well ventilated (And a bit too cold) but blankets are available if needed. In September and October the staff all wore masks, but now they are also wearing PPE. It feels different to the community atmosphere we used to have, but it does feel safe.
Hospital During a Pandemic
I’ve seen a few videos posted on Social Media about how deserted hospitals are and that the pandemic is all a hoax. It drives me crazy although I tend not to respond. People just don’t seem to get it. Most hospitals are now feeling overwhelmed with the number of Covid patients they have. Staff are working day and night to help these people to recover. Since this pandemic began they have learned so much and are managing to save many more lives, but still it’s a harrowing time and people are still dying. The Covid wards are closed to visitors and other patients because of how easily the virus is transmitted so of course you can’t record there without permission.
The rest of the hospital is trying to continue as normal but with extra spacing to keep patients safe. Wards have been moved around and some places look deserted because there simply are not the staff to look after patients there. It doesn’t mean that the staff are not working though, they are just somewhere else. Minor operations are delayed, but anything serious is still being done. People still have other serious illnesses and there are still accidents happening on a daily basis.
I saw one video of a row of empty wards at a hospital taken through a window. The video maker was stating that the hospital was not busy at all, there were no Covid patients and we were being lied to. The video was of the Children’s section of the hospital which had been closed down and the children were being cared for at another hospital to protect them. Did the maker of the video tell us this? No!
WHY? Our NHS has enough to deal with without the public turning against them.
Another woman was arrested after filming empty day wards at a hospital and posting them online to ‘prove’ there were no Covid patients.
Please be thoughtful of our wonderful NHS staff who are working so hard to make things safe and keep things running. Some are seeing the most dreadful sights that they can’t talk about it. It’s getting to the stage now where nearly everybody knows of someone who has had Covid and recovered or died. It’s real and it’s a threat. In all my years I’ve yet to have someone I know die of flu, even though I know it happens regularly. Covid is much more deadly, and even though those dying may have other illnesses it is still a threat. We need to take this virus threat seriously and do our part in eliminating it. If you think the government is just making rules to keep people under control then you must realise that they are not very good at it by now.
In the meantime, don’t be afraid to go to hospital in an emergency during this pandemic. They know how to deal with it now and you are very unlikely to catch Covid while there.
Take care everyone, and fingers crossed we’ll be out through the other side soon.