I was recently unfortunate enough to suffer a minor trauma to my right (and dominant) hand. The incident resulted in a visit to a nearby Accident and Emergency, who after cleaning and bandaging my wound and administering some painkillers, sent me on to a specialist hospital in a neighbouring county.
Upon visiting the specialist hospital, I was expecting to receive some speedy wound stitching within the clinic, and then an immediate discharge back to my home. I was somewhat surprised therefore when the doctor advised that I would require a small operation under local anaesthetic. The procedure was carried out in the theatre within the hour, and then I was back on the ward to be admitted overnight.
The reason for my overnight stay was due to my need for IV antibiotics over the next 24 hours. The cannula was skilfully inserted into my uninjured left hand, and then a drip with antibiotics was attached onto the cannula every 8 hours. My injured hand was securely bandaged and had to be kept dry, so it was therefore fairly difficult to carry out simple things like eating and drinking, dressing and using the bathroom.
I was admitted to a very comfortable side bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. Post-surgery, I was promptly brought a cup of tea and some digestive biscuits, and was also asked to choose a meal for lunch and for the evening. There was a television to watch if I wanted, but, being a bookworm, I enquired whether there were any paperback books upon the ward. Not realising that I was having to stay overnight, I had arrived without a book. For me not to have a book is highly unusual, as I cannot possibly stand a day without some form of reading. A lovely health care assistant promptly found me three different titles, and I happily passed the time indulged in a gripping crime novel.
The same wonderful health care assistant found me a clean nightdress, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, soap and bath-towel. Being an unexpected admission, I had left home totally unprepared.
The nurses were also really lovely, chatty and helpful. I even met a fellow student nurse, who, unlike myself, was training to be a general nurse. The student nurse was really pleasant and carried out my admission assessment, cleaned my wound and gave me a tetanus injection. It was great to chat about placement experiences and our hopes for the future. The student was training at a different university to mine, but our courses sounded fairly similar in the common foundation element, and we therefore had lots to talk about. Furthermore, the student was a mature student like myself, and it turned out that we were the same age.
Hospital food often receives many negative comments, but the meals that I had as a patient were very acceptable, satisfying and tasty. There was plenty of choice on an illustrated printed menu, and I was also relieved to find that there was a genuine vegetarian section. When I say genuine, I refer to the fact that many people erroneously think that vegetarians eat fish! This is completely wrong, and in fact refers to a pescetarian diet. I personally am a ‘real’ vegetarian, and definitely do not eat fish or any animal by-products. It was therefore reassuring to find that the hospital were aware of this difference, and catered very well for me with at least 10 different meals.
My stay was a comfortable one, with a constant stream of hot drinks, plenty to eat, and a good book to read. I struggled to shower with my one hand, but since coming home, have perfected a one-handed bath.
It was frustrating to temporarily lose my ability to drive a car, and I have had to rely on trains in order to get to university. Waiting around for trains is a negative, but, on the positive side, it was good to utilise the travel time for some valuable reading time. It was also interesting to view the journey from a different perspective, through both town and country.
I am unfortunately temporarily unable to work in my part-time job as a carer, but should hopefully get a clean bill of health soon. Washing people in showers and moving people in hoists is naturally quite impossible with one hand out of action!
It has been an interesting experience to view a hospital from the perspective of a patient, and I really felt that I should share what a positive experience it was. The hospital was clean and comfortable, the staff were friendly, hardworking and efficient, and I was very well looked after for the whole of my stay.
I am due to visit for a check up on Friday, and hopefully will be able to get rid of my dressing. Well done National Health Service for a great level of provision! It makes me very proud to be a student nurse.