9/2/17

Today I was on a long day (7:15-19:45) and working in the Elderly Trauma Unit (which I actually love). Lots of people don’t like working there because of all the dementia and confusion, but I find them so sweet (on the most part) and they generally stay longer so you can really build up a relationship with them.

Currently we have a lady in who can only speak Bulgarian, and on top of that has dementia! It’s been such a nightmare for us to communicate as none of the nurses speak Bulgarian and because of her dementia she can’t understand that we don’t understand her, despite trying to explain in bad ‘google translate’ Bulgarian! Ideally we’d get a translator up, but they cost ~£400 a session (and the NHS ain’t gonna pay for that!), so we’ve just been making do. I now know basic Bulgarian words like toilet, and coffee, so I can’t say we’re not kept on our toes! Anyhow, her son is coming in tomorrow I think, and he speaks English so they’re going to discuss her discharge then.

Throughout the day we’ve had a lady, Irene I’m going to call her, who has been very passively confused. It came on suddenly yesterday and no one knows why yet! They’re querying a UTI (urinary tract infection) but until we know we just have to watch her. She’s been wandering around all day thinking she’s at work, then at a restaurant, and it’s her birthday (which she’s thought for the past 2 days!) Needless to say it (still) isn’t her birthday and we aren’t in a restaurant, so we have to keep guiding her back to her bed. She’s supposed to be keeping her hand elevated as it’s really swollen, but her attention span is so short that after 10 seconds she’s up again unpacking her belongings into neighboring bed spaces! To make matters worse the lady next to her has the same name, so she keeps looking through her bags for things! She’s such a sweetheart though, always laughing at herself for forgetting where she is and bumbling around the nurses station!

Just a little funny story, the hospital library came round this morning and the volunteer went over to Irene #2, who is dressed head to toe in pink flowery pajamas, and asked if she wanted a book or magazine. She said yes, and so the volunteer asked what type of books she liked. Irene thought for a minute, then just said in the sweetest voice, ‘Murder!’ Obviously she meant murder mystery type but it made me laugh!

The highlight of my afternoon though was being sent on a ‘purple cannula’ treasure hunt by the nurse! Purple cannulas are the smallest size (gauge 26) and are generally only kept on pediatric wards as kids have smaller veins. I went all over the place looking, I went to all the pediatrics wards, then PICU (pediatric intensive care), then eventually NICU (neonatal intensive care) where I managed to get one, although the nurse wanted 5.. She had to make do though as there seemed to be a hospital wide shortage! I love visiting the pediatric wards though, they’re so colourful and honestly look a bit like a pre-school (they were all doing painting in the day room while I was there). I don’t think I could do it though, especially with the babies, it’s just so sad seeing them all with their little feeding tubes in and that 😔

Finally though (this is the sad bit), Rose left. I’ve been looking after Rose for weeks now. She’s been on the ward for a long time, when she came in she was on deaths door, but then she made a bit of a miraculous recovery. I’ve spent so much time with her over the past few weeks, feeding her, reading with her, even just sitting and holding her hand when she felt sick. 3 days ago she started declining again, and so they fast tracked her home because that’s where she wanted to be. She left this evening and as they wheeled her out, she grabbed my hand and went ‘thank you for everything, I’ll never forget you’ in her little croaky voice. I swear I nearly cried, I know she’s going home to die but it just reminds you that you do make a difference to people.

For now though I’ve got two days off, so I’m going to have a good rest!

{Reminder: All names have been changed}

First blog post

Hello!

I’m Cat and I currently work as a HCA (healthcare assistant) in the NHS. I love my job, and I’d love to share with people stories of what it’s like and what we do. I’ll be sharing the good, the bad, and the downright heartbreaking stories that we get to be a part of, but overall I hope this’ll be an entertaining look into life in the NHS. I currently work on a busy Trauma and Orthopaedic floor (anything from road traffic accidents to routine hip replacements), so we really do see it all!

Obviously all names will be changed and I won’t share any personal information!

Thanks for reading, I’ll always be happy to answer any questions you have, just comment below! 🙂