So… it’s Saturday, and yeah I’m still here in hospital. How long for? I honestly don’t know. I’m hoping to be out tomorrow but I don’t really know.
Prior to all of this, I had never spent any time in hospitals at all. And to be fair, this is the first time I’ve really spent actually in a hospital through the whole process. But let me say something controversial.
I am glad for the experience.
I know, I should caveat this with things like ‘obviously we hope no one ever has to need to go to hospital’, or ‘of course, I would rather not have cancer all together and never have had this experience’, blah blah.
But you know what, I’m not going to.
No, I haven’t ‘enjoyed’ being in here, but I have truly enjoyed all the people I have come across. Yes, every single one. And I have a new appreciation for them all. This comment is true for the vast majority of the time since my diagnosis, but for now I’m going to concentrate on my time in the ward (what I’ve seen of my hospital is incredible also, I need to spend some time writing about everyone there).
I am currently in my local hospital, the Whittington. Just down the hill from home. Their logo has a cat on it. Like… I couldn’t be happier. Let me see if I can find it for you.
I came in on Wednesday evening, not expecting to be admitted. And I was. It’s just not really what you want to hear, is it. I was just expecting the all-clear and to be sent off home again. I mean… I felt fine, I was just taking all precautions. We’d even worked out what we were going to grab for dinner on the way home. No, instead, I had someone unceremoniously shoving a needle into my hand in A&E. Charlie was there to offer moral support and he stayed with me until I was settled into my room within the Mary Seacole Ward.
The obvious first thing to point out is that the nurses are incredible. All of them are so nice, helpful, fun, good natured, lovely… they make you feel like they are happy to help you, that no request is putting them out, and that they will do everything they can to make you happy and comfortable. I loved whenever they came in, we would have a catch up on how things were going, and if I was lucky I would get insiders tips of what to order off the lunch menu! And this wasn’t just a fluke with a couple of nurses, I saw a lot in my time in the hospital, and they were always amazing. I don’t know how they do it! They work such long shifts (I think 12 hours?) and they’re on their feet all day (or night!), and they’re still so lovely! One mentioned that the only time they get time to go to the bathroom is on their breaks… Like… wow. I hope they realise how much of a difference their happy disposition makes to the people staying here. They are fantastic. I think you must have to be a pretty special type of person to be a nurse. I’m sure the majority of patients are decent, but you can just imagine some would be terrible and treat the poor nurses badly. I see it occasionally, self-entitled patients who think that nurses are there just to wait on them. Or patients who are just plain angry. Some people are really angry people. They must get tired of being like that all the time. I was heartened this morning though when I called the nurse to disconnect me from my bag of hydration so I could go to the bathroom, apologised for disturbing her and thanked her, and she said ‘people always apologise and thank me! It’s fine, it’s my job!
I hope that means that people are generally nice patients.
It’s hard for me to be waited on, I am so self sufficient that I feel awkward letting people do things for me. Like when they ask if I want my bed made, well I don’t want to put them out and I probably don’t need it, but they are more than happy to, and hey it does actually make a huge difference! I am also not comfortable asking for things, but once again I think they would rather you ask them for something and be happy, than suffer without it. I’m learning, I promise. And I am grateful for everything.
When the doctors came to see me on the first day they reassured me that I had done the absolute right thing in coming in. And they liked meeting Clarence, my cow. Charlie had dropped by in the morning before work (outside of visits hours! Gasp!) to drop off my injection and a few other things I needed (like Clarence), and I was worried the doctors wouldn’t like him being in there when they came in. But no, they were happy to meet him and said ‘yes, you’ll need lots of things to entertain you, like laptop, books, boyfriend’. That’s right Charlie, don’t you forget that your main purpose in life is to entertain me, ok? Even the doctors said so.
Everyone I met from the Oncology team was lovely, it’s nice to get to know the people who deal with the cancer stuff over here. One of them even remembered meeting me when I came in to Emergency early on in the whole thing. I need to write another post about all these people and their ridiculously good memories, everyone I come across amazes me.
Who else is there? The pharmacist is great… you feel quite special when all these people come in to see you! I mean I know they need to, and they’ve got questions to ask you, but I felt like a bit of a superstar with everyone coming in just to meet me and say hi.
All of the support staff are lovely too, the cleaners, the people who bring the food, my tea-bearing saviours, etc.
Everyone feels like your own personal support squad, cheering for you, willing you to get better. They celebrate with you when your temperature is low, they feel for you when it is high, they are there to support you through all the ups and downs, wishing each day that today is the day you get to leave. I’m sure that’s not just because they don’t like me… We’re friends now, after all!
Thanks to everyone I came in contact with at the Whittington. I’m not going to lie, I kinda hope I don’t have to see any of you again. But if I do, at least I know you’ll all be there, cheering me on and making everything easier to get through.