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The Reality Of Spending New Years In Hospital
Spending time in the hospital is no new thing to me. I have a number of chronic health conditions including Adrenal Insufficiency, and sometimes when my body is under extra stress I will head towards an adrenal crisis and need urgent medical care.
That’s what happened to me just after Christmas. My symptoms included severe pain, nausea, dropping blood pressure, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea and weakness. Without urgent medical treatment my body would have eventually shut down. Adrenal insufficiency is a serious illness, and sadly I know eight people from my circle of friends who died in 2016 from the illness.
My symptoms began suddenly, and my husband rang the emergency services. I was taken to a local hospital. Luckily for me I was treated before the crisis grew worse, and I did not have to go to resuscitation. I was however placed on a drip and given medication and sent to a medial ward to get better.
It’s been four days, and my blood pressure has improved. I am recovering. It takes time, and while I’m resting and rebuilding my strength I am, as anyone in hospital might be, a little bored. Yesterday it became clear I would be spending New Year’s in the hospital. It wasn’t something I welcomed with open arms, but I accepted it.
I’ve never spent New Year’s in the hospital before. I did do Easter earlier this year, which was really tough, especially as everyone else had chocolate eggs and treats and I was nil by mouth.
New Year’s Eve in the hospital is not really that fab.
The nursing staff changed over around 8 p.m. I watched staff leaving to go party and staff coming to start their shifts. Music was played on a radio all night, the nurses complained routinely about being at work and a food buffet was set up for staff in the nurses’ office.
I wouldn’t want to be at work on New Year’s. I really wouldn’t but emergencies happen all year round and people are always sick. I admire the fact people were at work doing their job but I couldn’t help but feel “an inconvenience”. What did I expect? I guess in a way I expected the same quality of care I’d get any other time of year but I was sadly let down.
I’m sure this was not the case for all patients in every ward and hospital this New Years but on my ward it was. I laid in bed as did other women moaning in pain. We begged for pain relief only to be told we needed to be quiet as other patients were sleeping. Yes we were told to be quiet yet a radio was playing and nurses were laughing and joking, eating and celebrating the night.
I asked again for pain relief but was told there was no Doctor available due to it being New Years. I wasn’t the only patient to miss out on medication. In a way what could the nurses do other than ring and request an on call doctor who was not available. Hence I was laying in agony and pain crying as the nurses counted down, five, four, three, two, one.
The fireworks from outside were what you’d have expected to hear from anywhere. For a moment it felt like I was at home but the enjoyment of the new year beginning was dimmed by the fact my loved ones were at home and I in a bed, bent over in pain. Being in hospital really is rubbish but being in hospital at the start of the New Year was for me an eye opening and unexpected experience.
I think I could focus on the poor quality care I had last night and lay here feeling sorry for myself but instead I choose to be positive. I’ve set some health goals for 2016, goals to help me better manage my chronic conditions. I’ve written them down and made a plan to work on one thing at a time.
I guess although my New Years in hospital has been pretty rubbish, I can be grateful that I’m alive, grateful I was treated promptly when I suddenly headed towards Adrenal Crisis and grateful that we even have a health service in the UK.
I’m not going to sugarcoat my experience. I will tell it how it was but looking at the bigger picture this is only one in 34 years that I’ve had to stay in hospital for New years and I know there are people sicker than me who are in hospital long term. I’ll be home in a few days back with my family and for that I’m grateful.