In the wrong job
15 April 2018
You know how it is when you get people who are in the totally wrong job? The care worker who hates old people. Teachers who hate pupils. Interpreters who hate people generally. Well, we’ve got one here: a health care assistant that hates patients.
After a previous horrible night’s experience of the consequences of having turned down painkillers when offered, I had agreed with one of the day nurses that this would never happen again. I would take any and every painkiller offered, and I would never need to be in pain.
I had a pain-free afternoon and evening, having taken every tablet offered, before settling down to bed at about 10.45. I was given three painkilling tablets to take. I assumed that these would see me through the night.
By way of explanation: my muscles shut down when moving them might cause intolerable pain. So a pained muscle is a paralysed muscle.
About three hours later I woke, needing to pee. I was laying there like a bag of cement. I was on my side, facing away from the door of my individual room (I lucked out today). I could only move my right leg and right arm, and my head a little. By luck I could see part of the alarm cord over my right shoulder, within reach, fished the alarm pad into hand and called for help.
The nurse came into the room and without a trace of sympathy asked what I wanted. I said that I could not move and needed pain relief. She wandered off without explanation, came back, and told me to take the morphine. I asked what she had been doing. I said I could not move. I asked her to raise the bed so that I could see what was going on. She was offering a syringe of clear liquid. She said to drink it, which I did. She went off
Very quickly I was able to move enough on my own to pee into a bottle. Unfortunately, in my desperation I had overfilled the pee bottle. Eventually she came back with more tablets to take. I asked why I had been left to get into this state. I was lying on piss, the bottle needed emptying. She is moving glacially slowly. She said it is up to me to ask for pain relief. But I am stuck in a Catch-22. If I was in pain I could not move or summon help.
Why didn’t they anticipate that the effect of the painkillers would wear-off during the night? I had no idea that this cocktail would not go through until morning. I hadn’t though to make sure the alarm was alway at hand. After all, I’m an amateur patient.
I manage to move off the bed and start to strip the bed, throwing sheets, blankets, and pillows onto the floor. She berates me for trying to help myself, because she won’t. I snap!
I told her that I expected that she should be proactively caring for me, making sure I was OK. She showed no trace of compassion; just a baleful stare. I accused her of taking it out on me because I had confronted her over an earlier oxygen issue, where she had accused me of abusing oxygen, something her colleagues had ordered me to use. She kept staring. They used to call this “dumb insolence”.
I do a role play in which I say: I ring the bell. You come in and say: How can I help you Mr Beeson. I say: please can you empty the piss pot and give me pain relief. You say: I’ll empty the pot first, and then get the painkiller. I say: Thank you …
Blank stare …..
Then she pretended to busy about, putting a device around my legs “to help circulation”. It hums, squeezes my calves, releases, then squeezes again. It’s quite comforting but am I getting back to sleep with it? I doubt it. Why is it being put on now, and not before my going down to sleep more than 3 hours before? Getting back?
I’m now back to feeling cozy. My lungs are still tender. Now let’s see if I can sleep.