Monday, August 31, 2009

Chapter 7 Scotland I'm BACK

The third morning was easier for me to be there in a strange place because of Isla and Cherie being there with me and having someone to talk to and feeling bonded to them. I really don't think I would have done very well without them.

One of the fun things was to watch the tea and coffee cart coming around for tea and biscuits 4 times a day. Now we don't get that here at home! The English ritual was alive and well here in the hospital!

In my Ward 43 there were 6 of us and besides "us girls" there were 3 women the youngest of them 85 years old and the oldest was 93 at that point in the week. Margaret was blind and I never really knew what she was there for. I am sure she had something broken and fixed before I got there. The other 2 women had broken hips and one came in the day I did and one was there already. They were not sent to surgery to fix those hips, they just gave them pain pills and told them they were not an they would have to wait until they had time to take care of them.

It was a little before this point that I started paying attention to the situation there. I had been in this Ward about 12 hours when I started to notice a lot of differences in the care of the patients than I was used to here at home. You know the United Kingdom has socialized medicine and I am here to tell you....
it ain't what you are used to if you are from the States!

I kept asking the nurse why am I not hooked up to a IV drip bag to keep me hydrated and to administer my medication. She said, we don't do that here.
What???? I was on IV antibiotics but they were just pushed into my IV port in my hand 3 times a day with syringes. I thought that was odd and a very old fashioned way of doing it.

If you were not able sustain yourself and to sit up and drink your water and eat what came on your tray you became weaker like I watched the aged do. Visiting hours were from 2 to 3:30 in the afternoon way after lunch, and evening hours were 7 to 9:30, way after our "tea time" which was the evening meal. So you had no family members there to feed you, and if you were old or too sick and a nurse didn't take an interest in you, well you didn't get much to eat or drink. The 93 year old next to me looked good when I first arrived but she quit eating and drinking on my 3rd day there. She got red streaks running down her cheeks and I told her family she was not eating or drinking and no one was trying to get her to eat. Now that is just wrong in my opinion.

Not everyone had a call button that worked on their bed either and I noticed that Cherie always was watching to see if anyone needed a nurse. She was the "little mother of the Ward". Actually Isla and myself became "mothers" also, but Cherie was the natural!

Actually I became quite fond of all the nurses and even
the cleaning crew on my stay there in the hospital. I only had problems with one nurse and I will tell you about her later on in the story.

I found the Scottish people to be the most sweet, adorable, humorous people. I quite fell in love with them and would not have known them if I had not landed up in this hospital. I had been in a state of anxiety the first full day I had been there then on the 2nd day my husband made the statement that day when he came to visit I seemed like I was starting to like it there! Well I must admit I really liked most everyone we came in contact with.

Margaret made it hard to sleep at night because she had night terrors and called out and moaned "oh my God, I am dying" and that made me creepy, but, I did get used to it. Margaret also yelled out "where's Doris?", which is my mothers name and that got to me also.... She spoke Gaelic but I did not know what that was about.

The worst part was the other 2 women on my side of the Ward who were waiti
ng to get their hips set. They would have the doctors come in every day and tell them they were not emergency cases and maybe tomorrow they could go to "theater" (surgery). They would change their sheets and give them baths, but they cried out in pain. It was very sad and depressing to that they were not perceived as emergency cases. It would have been the same for me if I had been there with a broken leg or hip, but these people are old!!!! It took each of them 5 days, yes, I said 5 days, to get their surgery. My 93 year old ward mate went to surgery and then they brought another woman 85 in to take her bed with a broken hip. I am sure she waited just as long to get it set. I don't know if the 93 year old made it through her surgery or not, she was awfully weak, and that made my heart ache.

It wasn't all horrible, the 3 of us young ones ( ha ha) always kept things going when we were not asleep from too many pain pills. :) We celebrated each others accomplishments and also talked about our trials and tribulations.

Isla was planning a wedding next September and we talked about that and how she missed seeing her boyfriend. He was hurt in the same car accident but had been released to home, but could not travel. We got to know each others families and friends and that was so much fun. Cherie had the two cutiest little boys ever! Isla had a dear mother we talked with alot and my husband was totally taken with them all also.

The girls were always mad that my husband was not allowed to hang with us during the day. I told them, hey I get it, it is for privacy. They said "we have all the privacy we need, we have a curtain!" I said I did not think the older generation would see it like they did. :)

to be continued. . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, August 28, 2009

My surgery update

I had to spend one night in the hospital and I am improving nicely! I will get back to my Scottish experience soon!
Thank you all for giving me such nice support, well wishes, and prayer. It has helped very much!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scotland detour....

I had surgery yesterday and I had that knee worked on again so I might be away from the story for a few days. I won't know until I get home. Wish me well for a fast trip and a speedy recovery. It has been a long drawn out thing and thanks for reading and sending me your well wishes. I am anxious to keep the posts going on my Scottish experience and getting to the part where I can post the photos of the countryside that I went to see!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Scotland Chapter 6

I awoke and I think I was all upset to find myself alone. I think I was in a panic because all I knew I wanted to do was call my husband. It was about 6:30 am and I never even thought he had only left at around 2am after a grueling night...

I told the nurse I needed to call my husband and she said do I have any money to pay for the telephone that is at my bed. No, I told her in a panic I don't have anything but myself with me, I have been abandoned! I asked her if I could have her call him from the desk and she did. I gave her instructions to come right away and bring money!
I asked her if she called and she said she did.

Poor Ross...........

I uncovered my leg from my blanket and it was all wrapped up in a big wrapping. I did not know what kind of surgery they did. I just knew it hurt and was really huge looking now.

I did not see him until 2PM when they said he could visit....
I did not even take into consideration none of them had any sleep at Richard and Angela's house. I was still under the influence of my surgery and I did not care at that very moment. All I knew was I was alone and scared.

I talked to the nurse that was bringing the pill cart around with our morning supply of all our medicines, most important, PAIN PILLS! Oh yes, we like our pain pills in the orthopedic ward and that makes you the popular nurse of the moment! :) Amazing how that works!

Nurse Sam came in all bubbly and was getting everyone ready for their baths. She was the most energetic person and was a really good part of our day. She stayed in our ward most of the time taking care of people's needs. She was quite fond of Margaret who was 85 and blind. She doted on Margaret and that was good because Margaret was the one who did not have many visitors. Sam fed Margaret and talked to her in the sweetest way.
She would spend lots of time reading her her menu to help pick out food she would eat.
Sam was in her early 20's and the cutest little gal with an adorable Scottish accent.

The other thing I noticed as I was laying in my bed that morning was that Cherie would talk to Isla and if Isla had any pain she was right on it. If Isla cried then Cherie would lean out of her bed towards Isla and hold her hand. It was the sweetest thing I had ever saw. I thought to myself they surly knew each other before. I asked them and they said no they had never saw each other before they became roommates in Ward 43. Now that touched my heart that young people would show such compassion toward each other.
It restored my faith in young people, those girls were special I could feel it.

They came in and drew my blood every morning to see how my blood count was and since it was a teaching hospital a whole crowd of interns would be following the doctor of the moment to talk to you and look at you. I asked the doctor if he was in my surgery and said no, he was just briefed about it at the morning meeting. I never saw the surgeon who operated on me, never. Every time they drew blood they said that if my blood did not clear I might be going back to "theater", I got so tired of hearing that! I still did not know if they had done the simple surgery or cut me open. I had forgot to ask and no one told me....

I did get by until Ross was able to come see me that afternoon. He hooked me up with the telephone, TV and Internet that was bedside. That was an expensive little set of toys they had and they were a piece of junk really, but it kept you busy when you were alone.
The afternoon visiting hours were busy also but not as busy as night hours.

He stayed as long as he could after visiting hours but about 5 o'clock the nurse ran him off and told him to come back at 7PM for the evening hours. He just had to hang around the hospital lobby for another 2 hours to see me. The nurse who found him a room to wait for me to have my surgery found out about that and she was irritated and said he should be allowed to stay by me since we were from so far away and had no place to go. She was a sweetheart of a gal.

Visiting hours were at 7PM and here came all the people to visit again. :)

Richard and Angela came to pick Ross up for the evening. I must say this really inconvenienced them too. This really had not been the plan for a fun vacation.

to be continued. . . . . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scotland Chapter 5

Old postcards of the Royal Aberdeen Infirmary

When the doctor came to look at me and tell me about my surgery I could not believe it. He looked like a young Hugh Grant! I hollered at my girls Cherie and Isla that the hospital sure has cute doctors! They chimed in and said "They only come to see you!" You should have saw the doctors face......he turned all shades of red and about folded! I think Ross couldn't believe I did that! It was really cute! That is how the girls and I became fast friends. We were a trio already!

So, I am now ready to go to surgery and they come to get me. I am feeling so sorry for my husband because here we are alone in a strange country and I am getting ready to go get surgery and I could tell he was totally stressed out and as afraid as I was. they said they hoped to do laproscopic surgery but if it was too bad they would have to open the knee up to do a good job. I must tell you I had the morbid thought and made them promise they would not do more to me than they said....I had a vision of waking up with NO leg....

hospital as it looks today pictured above

Our friends had gone home hours earlier and they told hubby to call when he was ready to have them come back and pick him up. He wanted to stay with me at the hospital, and knew I was afraid to be alone. When they came to take me to surgery he followed the gurney down the hall and expected to be led to a waiting room for family of surgery patients, you know like we all are used to. We got to the elevator and the nurse said to him, "You can't go with us". He said "I want to hear how her surgery went from the doctor". The nurse said to him "no provisions for that, you can see your wife tomorrow at 2 o'clock in the afternoon during visiting hours"

Well it was 10:30 pm and that is a long time to wait to see someone who is as sick as they said I was, who was having surgery!

Now he had to call my 86 year old mother that he had no idea what was going to happen or would happen to me! Can you imagine? Those of you who know my mom will not imagine how hard that was! To top it off my mom was not well at the time either because she had taken a horrible fall and was now suffering with vertigo. Thank goodness my niece and great nephew came to take care of her and she wasn't at home alone. That would have been horrible and I would have worried myself sick!

When we got on the elevator the male nurse who was pushing my gurney said to the floor nurse, "You should have not done that to her husband because they are from so far away". She said, "it's the rule" and he said "don't do that to someone like them again" . Somehow I don't think she took that to heart...I am sure she will do it again. She was young and doesn't have enough life experience to know it was a bad thing.

The last thing I knew was I was in "theater" (what they call surgery) and the anesthesiologist was there waiting to knock me out. I do remember saying to her, now there will not be any big surprise for me will there please. She said no surprise.

Hubby found a compassionate nurse who did direct him to a room he could wait in while I was in surgery and he saw me come back to my ward. He did come in and see me to make sure I was okay before he called Richard to come get him at about 2am.
I was out of surgery and there was no more he could do. Richard and Angela came to pick him up.
Hubby sitting in my window Ward 43

to be continued.............................don't want to wear you out to quickly! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scotland Chapter 4

As I lay sobbing on my bed and looking at my hospital gown that I was told to put on I heard this sound from the other side of the curtain.... "who's crying, did you hear that? Who is crying?

Well, it was the two young ladies across from me. They were all worried that someone was crying. I replied saying that it was me, I am behind the curtain. They both said it was going to be alright and trying to comfort me and asked me what was wrong? I said I wanted to go home and I was going to be having surgery. They both responded with, "Ahhhhhh" and then said "where are you from, you have an accent"

Hubby opened the curtain and I faced them telling them that I was there from Oklahoma, in the United States visiting friend, and that we were celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary with this trip. They really Ahhhhhhhhhed on that one. They wanted to know when I got to Scotland, and I told them last night I arrived to my friends house. They were sorry that I had gotten there before I even got a chance to see anything much.

We chatted back and forth and introduced ourselves. The older one straight across from me was Cherie. Cherie is 26 and had fallen down the stairs at her home after tripping on a toy her son and left on them. She had been home alone and said it took her 4 hours to crawl to a telephone to call for help. She had gotten a plate and four screws in her hip! Cherie works at a local school and is Mom to 2 absolutely adorable boys.

My Cherie

The next bed across was Isla (pronounced I la) and she and her boyfriend were in a car accident when a farmer pulled out in front of them on the highway. Isla had a broken back and Isla is a19 years old university student.

Isla Sweetie

Then the anesthesiologist came to talk to me before I went to surgery. She was a Indian woman and asked me all the usual questions before surgery. She asked my weight and I told her and she slapped her forehead and fell backward into the wall.......

Hubby said POUNDS not kilograms, which is about twice as much...that was a little humor, when I wasn't seeing any! I can still see her doing it and laughing to myself!

to be continued....................

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scotland Chapter 3

We drove over to Aberdeen after I packed a few things I might need for my stay in the hospital. We arrived at the hospital area and it was not clearly marked as to where you get "dropped off" to be checked in. Richard has always told us that in Scotland they don't want you driving your cars and provide little parking for them which means any designated parking is usually a long walk to where you want to go...that is how they keep the "old world" charm of the country. Well, the line going into one area was backed up, which later we found out was the main door...

Richard parked us in the public parking area and I had to muster up all my courage to stand the pain to walk up to the hospital. It was not a really long walk by normal standards, but a hideous one when you are hurting and limping like I was. I was being brave and thinking of the song "Cowgirls don't Cry" but it was hard! We got to the front door and Ross quickly found a wheelchair, be it the weirdest wheelchair I ever saw, to put me in and we found the area of admittance. I was looking all around and could not believe my eyes...
It looked old and beat up and I was thinking, what have I gotten myself into now!
They sent us down to Rheumatology to see a doctor there. It was a staging area where there were two people waiting one to be admitted to the hospital and other was just to be assessed like I was. A young woman doctor came to see me and went over my symptoms and looked at my leg. She said they needed to do blood work and then she would be back to talk to me.

You know as you sit and wait in a place like that you get to looking everything over! I was getting more freaked out by the minute, but remember I don't do "medical" very well anyway so it doesn't take much to freak me out. About 90 minutes goes by and the doctor comes back and informs me that I have a high level of infection in my blood and my white count was way off the scale..... and that I have a septic knee ( nice for staph infection) and I am going to have to go to surgery! Well you can imagine that now I am about to hyperventilate!
The rheumatology area pictured above
Hubby thinks I am weird I take hospital photos :)

She then tells me I will be taken up to Orthopaedic and I go to surgery from there....and a doctor will come talk to me about my test results further.
A nurse wheels me up to Orthopedic and they take me into a ward FULL of all kinds of people!

My bed is in the back far left corner by the window so we wind through all the people standing around. It was evening visiting hours by then so that is where all the people came from. In Scotland people get lots of visitors I figured out, but it did not help my fear and feeling of lack of privacy at a time I was so scared! They pulled the curtain around my bed and left us.

I was in Women's Ward 43 and I was sharing it with the 5 other women. I had not been in a Ward my whole life and I had not saw one since I was a kid! I don't like things that are too much different than I am used to. Richard and Angela were also fretting the fact I might should have been in one of the country's private hospitals. I was here now, so debate over.

A doctor comes in and talks to us that I need to have emergency surgery to flush out my knee immediately. He said my knee was the least of my problems if this was not taken care of quickly. Hubby and I just looked at each other, I could not believe it, what was he really saying to me, I could die? Yes that is what he meant and we agreed to the surgery. Thankfully visiting hours were over and it was quiet when we talked to the doctor. Hubby looked at me and said "you are terrified"! I replied yes I was, and the sobbing started.

to be continued.........

Friday, August 21, 2009

Scotland Chapter 2

We boarded our plane to Edinburgh Scotland that night at 9 PM to fly over to the country I had always dreamed of visiting but was too afraid to go! I had never saw New York City and it was fantastic to see the city and the Statue of Liberty from the air. I was awe struck with what I saw, as we flew up the coast of New England it started to become dusk and it was so beautiful looking out the plane window at the Full Moon in the sky. As it became darker the full moon shown across the ocean waters into the inlets and the coastal towns had their lights on, and they were twinkling like Christmas villages! I was seeing something very beautiful and I knew I was seeing a rare sight I could not replicate again. It was just magic and I was enjoying the plane trip and I was so glad to see this beautiful site.

We settled in and got comfortable, wrapped up in our blankets and ready to sleep. My leg was still hurting but at least I had a big comfortable seat. I was so grateful hubby had treated me to first class now that I was not feeling as good as I would like.

I dozed off and on most of the night and as we got close to Scotland you could not see anything due to the clouds until just before we were coming down to land. It was so neat looking at the little farm houses out in the country side! Picture perfect I thought to myself.

We landed and disembarked the airplane at 7:30 Edinburgh time awaiting Richard and Angela to pick us up. They had about a 3 hour drive to fetch us and they found us about 8:30. I had ditched the wheel chair but my cane gave me away to them that something was not quite right with me. I just brushed it off and said "long story" don't ask. I must tell you I was in agony by now and my leg was huge from swelling. I think I hid it well and I hope I did.

We drove to their home in Banchory the scenic route and stopped at several little tea houses and a pub for a snack. The country side was so beautiful and the houses were just like out of a movie! I could not believe that everything was so adorable and how preserved the past was for them! I told hubby I love it here! I was hurting, but the beauty around me distracted me of it. I was in heaven on earth!!!!

We arrived at Richard and Angela's house and my leg was getting unbearably painful, hot and swelling. It was red and purplish on the back side of my calf. I think riding in the car with my leg down made it hurt and swell worse.

Ross went and spoke to Richard about it and said he thought I needed to see a doctor. They told Ross we had to call the NHS health care hot line and speak to them to get me an appointment with the local doctor's clinic in their town. We did and they asked questions and then made the appointment for the next morning in Banchory.

We got up and ate breakfast and then went to the little clinic. They took my name and then you wait to have your name called. They did soon enough and I had to go to Room 6, so I walked down the hall, painfully I might add, and opened the door. There sat a young female doctor who I explained my situation to. She examined my leg and said my knee is hot and how did I feel about my body otherwise? I told her if you cut my leg off at the hip I would be fine....she laughed and told me she had left her hack saw at home that morning.

The doctor decided we needed to go to the hospital in Aberdeen to get blood tests and maybe I need to get IV antibiotics! What!!!!! I don't want to go to a hospital on my vacation! She called them and told them to expect me. I think Angela and Richard could not believe it any more than we could!
Richard said lets go to lunch first. I must say that was a good thing, but it was the longest lunch I have ever had because I was so freaked out. I must tell you I am not much better about medical procedures than I am about flying.... need I say more?

to be continued........

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Scotland Chapter 1

I have been absent for sometime the reason being we were in Scotland for two weeks. We had our 25Th wedding anniversary to celebrate and my hubby was turning another year older while we were to be gone. Hubby has traveled with his job before he retired but I haven't gone out of the United States before except the usual Canadian and Caribbean trips. I hate to admit it but I am a white knuckle flier and I have talked myself out of this particular trip off and on for 2 years. Our friends Richard and Angela, have had their door open to us for some time and there was always some reason in my mind not to travel. We bought the tickets from my travel agent friend who got us great prices. We were set and no backing out now, the 1st class tickets were to make me less nervous! Yeah right, it started right after the AIR France flight from Rio went down in the Atlantic, then there was the crash in Amsterdam.....well then the pilot died in flight from London to Newark.....oh my gosh! Well I gotta get that right out of my head, don't I? Now all I have to do now is pack my clothes and have fun. As I was packing my shoes I knelt down and snap...something happened in my knee. I fell over on the floor and told my husband, I pulled a ligament I think. That was on July 2 and we are scheduled to leave in 3 days. I will be okay, just take it easy. Well my knee swelled up and just kept getting more painful. We flew out of Tulsa at 7 am the next morning but I had to be taken in a wheelchair in the airport because my pain was so bad. My hubby and I thought this is temporary and I will just be off of it during the trip and I will be good to go....
We flew into Newark N.J. and had a 9 hour layover. Thank goodness for the Presidents Club for our layover! I was able to relax in a non crowded area until our flight was to leave at 9PM
that evening. We were making the most of it as they said.....

to be continued........