Friday, 3 April 2009

It's All Relative

On Thursday 2nd April I should have been doing my bit for Autism Awareness Day, but got side-tracked by other urgent family duties.

I had to drive with Mother to the Ends of the Earth in Essex (2 1/2 hr drive from Brighton) for Father's Care Assessment. I am trying to get him moved to Brighton so I can see him more regularly and keep a better eye on him. Unfortunately the Social Worker (who looked all of about 15) and the current carer have decided that it would be in his best interests to keep him where he is. I do agree with them for his mental health, but the drive is completely gruelling. 5 hours in total. You also have to be of a robust mental nature to see your Dad is this condition as it is always very upsetting so when you have to drive that long, you feel on the brink of collapse.

During the Assessment we asked Father if he was happy at the placement.

Father: I could be happier.
Social Worker: What would make you happier?
Father: I could be happier if I had a Porsche!

Carer: The owner has a Porsche
Mother: I bet he has....

We sorted a few other things out, such as having no reports from the previous review etc and as I was leaving, the carer said to me;

Carer: Do you want some money?
Me: (Puzzled) What money?
Carer: Money for expenses...
Me: Expenses? What you mean? To come and see Father?
Carer: Yes.
Me: No. I don't want any money. He is my Dad, why do I want to take money from him?

She just shrugged.

Mother said that I should put in a claim, because 'it will only line their pockets otherwise'.

Now, I have had this before from a solicitor, to claim money. Unbeknown to this lot, I oversee what the solicitor dishes out and what the care home takes. I keep in touch with the courts and request statements from time to time, just so no-one is on the fiddle. It makes me really angry when people love to spend other's money, especially vulnerable adults. At least I can use my skills in accountancy to help him this way. I would rather be pot less and homeless before I took a penny from that man.

We whizzed Father out to lunch at McDonald's. He was most indignant.

Father: (Moaning) I didn't get all dressed up just to go to bloody McDonald's.
Me: Have a ciggy and stop moaning. We have to go and see Auntie now.

We bid a hasty retreat from Father's and drove at break-neck speed to see Auntie Roo. Mother had had a phone call the night before saying she was very ill in hospital. Mother then rang the hospital in the morning and they had said she had had a comfortable night. So we decided to see Father first, sort him out, then drive the 40 or so minutes to the Hospital. Back to my childhood stomping ground. It had changed beyond recognition.

We found Auntie Roo (she is 83) in a terrible state. She could not eat or drink anything and was vomiting all the time. Her little 90 year old mate (Eliza) was looking after her. I kept having flashbacks that it was my Nan in hospital (Auntie Roo is her sister) and I even said 'hello Nan, how are you?' My Nan died 23 years ago!

I did think that this was the end, having seen it many times before, but on closer inspection, she still had the colour in her face. We sorted out her saline drip which was twisted so none of the solution was going into her, once it went in, she then began to quip - which is typical of her.

'See that patient over there, all she does is eat'.
'Dont ask that Nurse, she is fat and lazy'

You cant tell an 83 year old off for being rude, however, that is a spark of life.

Mother took Eliza off to get a drink and I stayed with Auntie Roo. I noticed her tongue was really red, very swollen and flaky on the top. She was also burning up. I don't know much about nursing, but having looked after 3 kids for 23 years, to me this woman was literally 'dying of thirst'! I legged it out to a very busy nursing station and asked Matron for some sponge swabs, told her we needed another Saline Solution, as Auntie's bag was finished. I then filled a cup with very cold water, grabbed some tissues and made a cold compress for her head and began swabbing her mouth and face with the water. I got her to drink tiny bits of water, which she vomited a bit, but then managed to keep down. When Mother and Eliza got back, I told them to carry on with this whilst I went to find out what was happening to this Saline Solution. I reminded the Nurse again. 'Yup, be with you soon', she said.

Four hours later, Eliza had gone home and Mother and I were still trying to rehydrate Auntie. Her tongue had gone down slightly, but we still didn't know what was wrong with her. Mother grabbed some notes that were on a table and looked through them whilst I kept look out. (They don't keep them on the end of the beds anymore). Mother found the notes, but it still didn't say what the problem was. Still no sodding Saline Solution. I got really angry and stormed out to find a Nurse. There should have been 3 Nurses, but I only saw one. I grabbed one girl, who protested loudly that she was still only training and hadn't passed her qualifications - I said to her 'that's close enough, you must help'. She could only offer advice regarding the equipment that was being used.

I then took a stroll around the wards (heaps of them) - there was only one Matron, ONE nurse and a few Auxiliary nurses that do not nurse. What their purpose is I'm not sure. The workload is too much to bare for these staff; even if you were some Profit who could work miracles, you would have your hands full, let alone being merely human.

All the other patients had eaten and drunk and yet my Auntie had received no attention whatsoever and could still hardly drink. I was really blowing a gasket by this time. We refused to leave as visiting ended until she was fixed up with a Saline solution. After much ado, the Saline Solution finally came. FOUR flipping hours late! It took 30 seconds to hook up.

My Auntie is in hospital because she is ill and needs nursing, not neglecting. Is this the difference between life and death? Is this why so many of our older folk pass away in hospitals because they have been neglected?

We made sure she was comfortable for the night and then we left. On the way out, we checked the records for next of kin - there were none, so I put Mother's name down and my name down. As I was doing this I noticed on there what the cause was; Gastric-Enteritis. Why couldn't they have told us that? It is on these bloody notes yet no-one told us.

I kid you not about the incompetence of the NHS. If it was their flipping relative they would be in a private ward and they would be up and about within hours - but what do we matter, we are merely the majority of the tax-payers whose relatives suffer at the hands of these fools who claim expenses for videos. I only hope they will be prodded in Hell with a red-hot poker for all eternity.


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