I thought I would share my recent hospital experiences with you, specifically, how safe they made me feel, and how, overall, I was impressed with their professionalism and handling during these trying times.
The two young female paramedics arrived wearing what can be only described as their plague uniform, scaring the hell out of both of us. This consisted of full face respirators, a bright orange rubber gown over black rubber boots, and black industrial looking rubber gloves over their hands.
I have no idea how they manage with all that gear on, and especially the gloves, given everything was restrictive to the nth degree. This on top of pushing a large gurney and carrying backpacks. They could have been going to the moon, for all we knew. But, despite all the gear and inconvenience, they checked me out and ascertained the situation with calm professionalism. And having made their determination, got me down into the ambulance for the very short ride to the hospital, which is literally down the road from where we live. One nurse sat with me the whole way checking and rechecking my vitals till we arrived.
Here we stopped outside at the side of the hospital emergency services entrance, and next to what is usually the ambulance bays. Another nurse opened the door while putting on her own PPE, all blue, and the two began a banter that had me laughing.
Nurse dressing in blue to paramedic in orange: ‘Hey, Pumpkin, where’s the ball?’
Paramedic in response: ‘Ha, Strompf [Smurfs are called Strompf here] you forgot your red hat.’
Nurse in blue: ‘No, it’s in my locker, and it’s white…’
This continue back and forth as the took the gurney out of the ambulance and into the ambulance bay. Which was hung with huge sheets of industrial plastic sheeting, and separated into bays. We all had to wait here a moment while another nurse input all my details into the computer, before I was moved to another gurney. And saying my goodbyes to the paramedic and nurse was wheeled into the waiting area just inside the door, where I had a mask placed on my face. No a great idea on some one who was vomiting at regular intervals.
The porter then wheeled me through at least 3 steps of double doors that were all covered in HUGE notices declaring entering a COLD ZONE, and criss crossed with red tape. I was taken to a separate section of emergency sealed off with heavy double plastic drapes and parked in a bay. The place was really quiet, and, to my mind, it seemed almost empty on this side.
This was the assessment side. The side were everyone entering is considered COVID-19 positive until, proven otherwise.
In this ‘toxic’ area, everyone is dressed in full PPE. And I mean, every time someone came into my bay for whatever reason, to take blood, my blood pressure, hand a saline drip, they had to don a fresh gown, a fresh set of gloves and more, a fresh pair of glasses. And when they exited, they had to strip all this off, put it into a large dustbin marked biological waste, and put on fresh gowns and gloves (not glasses).
No wonder everywhere has a shortage. The attention to everything was careful, methodical, and calculated. No one took chances. And even the porters had to dress accordingly.
When I finally got the all-clear, on being ‘negative’ I was then moved to the other ‘clean’ side of the emergency room, housing several more patients. At every step of the way I had excellent care from everyone involved, and clear information from the doctors, 3 in all, before it was decided I would be staying for at least 4 days, the weekend. And so, after being stabilised, was moved to a permanent room, for the duration of my stay.
I was lucky enough, because of possibility of having gastroenteritis, of being put in a single room with en suite bathroom, complete with two large windows to watch the world go by.
I tell you, that stay made all the difference. From beginning through to the last goodbye, they all couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. And damn, if the food wasn’t great too. Yes, hospital food is always said to suck, but for me? It was like eating 5-star. After all, I didn’t have to make it or, do the dishes!
It’s been a week and things are slowly getting back to some semblance of normal. The world turns, and we survive.
Take care of you all, and where ever you are, stay safe out there.