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November 18, 2008

Hospitals as places of healing and rest ....

Not from where I'm sat, that's for sure, but at least I am currently inspecting one of the NHS's best. My brother on the other hand has just been discharged from one of Cape Town's oldest and, by the sound of it, most chaotic. His hip has been totally replaced, but they managed to dose him on so much of the pain killer that he went into hallucinations. According to him, at one point the ward tilted through 90* so that his bed was on the wall and he felt he was about to fall out of it and through the window opposite. Then there was the noise levels - and this is one of the features of Africa - certainly the Southern part of it. Nothing is done quietly, even at night and in a hospital. You must make as much noise as possible so that people know you are working and conversations should be held at noise levels which ensure that every word can be heard at least three doors away.

At least where I'm working the biggest problem is the visitors wandering into areas where they shouldn't be and trying to keep the patients suffering from dementia in bed.

My brother has now gone home after five days of very little rest and is trying to recover from a severe stomach bug and care for himself. As he says, you can't move fast on a zimmer and the bowels won't wait - but at least he has quiet and can get a little rest between racing for the loo! Hospitals these days don't seem to be about rest, resstant bugs are now endemic, a legacy of the abuse of antibiotics in the 1950's and 60's no doubt. Changes in the design of wards and the volume per bed have helped the heating bills and allowed more beds to be in smaller spaces - but it also helps the transfer of any bug that's running around. And, while the walls, floors and equipment you can see may be clean and bug free - you don't want to know what is lurking in te void hidden by the suspended celings...

Anyway, I suppose we should be glad that the hospitals are there, no matter how poor, for without them there would be nowhere for the sort of treatment my brother has just received to be delivered. It is't the sort of thing that can be done at home, nor even in a day surgery. All I have to do now is hope that his stomach can be sorted out so he can recover fully and get back to normal as quickly as possible.

These last weeks have reinforced in me the hope that when my time comes, I can go with dignity and in the peace of my own home. The thought of becoming a vegetable in some overcrowded and public ward fills me with horror. But then, that's me.

Posted by The Gray Monk at November 18, 2008 09:36 PM

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There is a reason why I'm avoiding taking Tot to the ER... what a mess...

Posted by: vw bug at November 18, 2008 06:37 PM

At least he can get some rest. I dread every overnight stay in the hospital, I do out patient every chance I can. I have found that I just heal faster at home. I wish your brother the best.

Posted by: skipjack at November 19, 2008 06:01 AM

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