Nurses, doctors, medical staff. They do a tough, backbreaking, heartbreaking job. I couldn’t do it. Not at all. And I want to make that clear because there is a part of me that is just instinctively opposed to slating anyone in the medical profession.
But I can’t deny I am becoming more and more frustrated, disappointed and just let-down with the service my family is getting from the local hospital.
My grandfather is still in hospital. All week we’ve been getting reports from the staff on his ward that he is fine, that he is stable, that he is doing well. Yesterday morning we even got a fantastic report that he was doing very well indeed and was up and chirpy.
Then yesterday afternoon, out of the blue, a consultant advised us that actually he is doing very badly and is very poorly indeed. So much so my mother is rushing down from Sheffield tomorrow to see him. Things don’t look good.
I realize people can go downhill fast – especially when they’re old – but this really sounds like there has been a case of crosswires and misinformation. I sometimes wonder if the hospital staff are even talking about the right patient when they give us information about my grandfather.
There is also a massive and often very worrying omission of facts.
My grandfather has developed Clostridium difficile (C. diff) – not for the first time I hasten to add. It seems to be as a direct result of being admitted to hospital and pumped with antibiotics. He is very poorly with it and given his frailty the hospital has few options of how to treat it. Higher dose antibiotics could have an adverse effect and surgery to fix the resultant lump in his stomach / abdomen is off the cards because it is doubtful he’d survive an operation.
As C diff is very contagious it makes visiting him difficult – I have two young children and my parents both work with food and children; we need to be careful about not carrying any infection away from the hospital. Luckily my mother had tipped me off about his C diff diagnosis before my last visit and a good job too. The staff nurse, when told who I had come to see, merely waved me to his room and didn’t check to see if I knew of his condition or make any attempt to ensure that I took adequate precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. For all she knew I was just someone off the street who had no prior knowledge of his condition whatsoever.
This lackadaisical approach appals me. Again it comes down to poor communication and a reluctance to pass on necessary information. Surely this should all be part and parcel of the care package – keeping the next of kin fully and accurately informed?
Or, with the supremacy of the internet, should I be doing my own online Google research and Wikipedia-based prognoses? Or maybe checking the hospital’s Twitter account for updates on the state of my grandfather’s health?
My grandfather is dying. I shouldn’t have to bang my head against a brick wall to maintain a link that is already fading fast of its own accord.