Yes, you are reading that correctly, 48 hours in A&E is the headline of today's blog. I was going to put 48 hours on a trolley in A&E but it didn't have the same ring to it.
Now, first of all, I want to say this blog is not bashing our Doctors or Nurses, these people are superheroes and there is no other word that describes them. The conditions these people have to work under are awful. My heart goes out to them all. They have so much patience, empathy and are bending over backwards to help every single person in that place. They really have the hardest job and do not get any thanks for it. It makes me so fucking angry at how our government and the HSE are treating these people. The HSE with their massive bigwigs who literally do fuck all but have stupidly high salaries when it's the Doctors, the Nurses, the Porters, the Cleaners that do all the work. And it's HARD BLOODY WORK. It makes me so angry that in 2018 our Doctors and Nurses have to work in these conditions. No one seems to be thanking them, patients complain to them, the media ridicule them when they strike and their bosses couldn't give a flying fuck!!
SO TO EVERY DOCTOR, NURSE, PORTER, CLEANER, RECEPTIONIST I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU FOR ALL THE WORK YOU DO, WITHOUT YOUR DEDICATION, PATIENCE, EMPATHY AND PASSION WE WOULD BE IN A MUCH WORSE STATE THAN WE ARE NOW. YOUR GOVERNMENT, YOUR BOSSES AND MOST IMPORTANTLY YOUR COUNTRY ARE INDEBTED TO YOU.
Last Monday morning I had the misfortune of being admitted to A&E with severe pains in my abdomen. It was sore, really sore! I mean pain I have never experienced before in my 33 years on this planet. Luckily for me, I was recuperating at home from a hospital visit the week before. Yes, a second visit. As you may have seen in my previous post I was admitted to the Bon Secour hospital last week and spent a night there. However last Monday morning I was admitted to Kerry University Hospital with suspected Kidney Stones, (turns out it was suspected at all, I had kidney stones and the fuckers hurt like hell.)
Now I knew how long I would be waiting so I had gone to my doctor first who wrote a letter and referred me. I mean I couldn't have waited in the waiting room for long as I was close to passing out with the pain. 10 minutes in the waiting room was long enough before I was seen by a nurse and admitted and placed on a trolley. What I didn't expect was that I was going to spend my WHOLE visit on that trolley.
Now at first all I cared about was relieving the pain, drugs, injections, drips whatever they were giving I was taking. I mean they say drugs don't work, well that's bull cos they did and within about an hour the pain was starting to ease. With me thinking less and less of the pain I was beginning to think more about what was in store for me. How long will I be here? Will I be able to go up onto a ward? I didn't get any answers to these questions.
You see I was on the main corridor in the main A&E area of the hospital, anyone being seen to would be walking right past me. I had someone else on a trolley in front of me so close in fact my feet were touching the back of her trolley and right behind me was the waiting area for the people having x-rays. We were lined up on top of each other. Corridors were full of people on trolleys. I was told that I would be spending the night and I would be staying right where I was. On my first night there was an elderly lady who must have been in her 80's on a trolley, a man with serious dementia on a trolley, another man further up the corridor with dementia on a trolley and a young man maybe in his late teens strapped to a trolley and wearing a headblock to stop him moving his head. This is what A&E in Ireland in 2018 looks like.
The doctors and nurses were moving people around to try and make space, they had to move one person who was placed temporarily into an examination room due to lack of corridor space back onto the corridor so I could have an examination done. I mean the doctors and nurses were juggling people around. More and more people were coming in than people going out. Nurses were having to sit with patients all night in order to make sure they were ok, they were assisting people to the bathroom, administrating medication, taking blood pressure and pretty much every other job you could possibly think of. 13 hour shifts and no thanks.
Night one was spent listening to patients being called for their x-rays while the TV in the waiting room was on. Machines beeping all the time, lights on, patients getting up to go to the toilet. I managed to get my head down at 11pm and was up at 6am. But I actually got about 3 hours sleep in that time.
Day two was spent the exact same way, once again no privacy, no rest. When they told me I was going to be spending a second night in the hospital I almost broke down, I was on fumes, the only thing saving me was the fact the painkillers were keeping the pain at bay. They managed to move me to another corridor which was barely wider than the trolleys that were lined up. We were literally on top of each other. On this corridor, I counted 10 of us lined up for the night. The corridor I was on the first night had another 9 patients. But there were more than 19 people on trolleys in A&E that night lots more. The hospital had no beds left on their wards hence why everyone was pilling up in A&E. The HSE and our Government really need to come to the realisation that this problem is not going to go anywhere fast.
Finally the next morning I was free to go. I was so relieved. I got my prescription and was told if I had any more pain to come right back. (that was not going to happen).
It felt surreal that here I was in 2018 when we have all this amazing technology, we are moving faster than man has ever moved before yet our most basic need, a need to health is just falling by the wayside. People with Dementia left on Trolleys, people in head braces left on trolleys.
It has to STOP!