NHS: Envy of the World Part 2 – where to begin.
In May 2016 Linda got a sore throat. So she did what anyone would do. Paracetamol and hot lemon. But it didn’t shift so she went to her GP.
He had a look in her mouth, said it was an infection and gave her antibiotics. Fast forward nearly 5 months and 3 courses of antibiotics and it’s only got worse. To a point where she can hardly eat or drink.
So he finally sends her for an X-ray. Five months after she first saw him. Guess what? Yes, she had cancer. Now it wasn’t the main tumour that was causing the problem with the throat. It was the secondary cancer that was in the lymph nodes at the base of the throat.
Now we knew it was bad the day of the X-ray. They don’t ask you back in and ask you to lift your arm so they can take another one from the side if it’s good news. Two weeks later the surgery phones to say the result is in. Two weeks. And, yes, it was cancer. It’s now nearly six months on from the initial pain. You’d think they’d get a shift on. Well, I suppose in NHS terms waiting 3 months to start treatment counts as fast. So that’s nine months on from first going to the GP.
The first chemo stuffed her kidneys and nearly killed her. She was in the Western General in a ward of four. Now despite the fact she was only managing to eat a couple of spoonfuls of porridge Linda and the other 3 women in her ward ended up with simultaneous diarrhoea. The nurses and doctors tried to claim it was food poisoning. You know, despite the fact that Linda wasn’t eating. The best part was they were all sharing one toilet. And were asked to have a shite in a papier mache bowl so it could be sent for tests. Six hours after four women started shitting in a cubicle the bowls of shite were still lying there. Despite numerous nurses being told. And they wonder why people get infections in hospital.
After we found out about the brain cancer Linda was back in the Western General. Now remember, because this is important. It was an oncology inpatient ward. So just people with cancer and highly trained teams of medical personnel. The inflammation on the brain is at its worst. Linda doesn’t know where she is or what is happening. She has no short term memory. I go in for visiting and ask if she’s had any of her food replacement drinks. She doesn’t know so I ask a nurse.
Nurse: “What food replacement drinks?”
Me: “The ones I brought in from home because I knew you wouldn’t have them. The ones with labels on them with Lindas name on them. In your fridge. The one 4 feet behind you. The ones she’s meant to get three or four times a day”.
Nurse: “Well she should have asked for them.
Me: “The woman with brain cancer? The one who doesn’t know what’s going on”.
This happened every day she was in. And the next time she was admitted. As well as;
Me to Linda: “Are you in any pain? Have you had your morphine?”
Linda: “Yes, my head really hurts. I don’t remember getting any drugs”.
Back to the nurses station.
Me: “Linda hasn’t had any morphine and says she’s in pain.”
Nurse: “She can have morphine any time she likes. She just has to ring the buzzer.”
Me: “This would be Linda with brain cancer who doesn’t know what a buzzer is or how to work it.”
This happened every day she was in. And the next time she was admitted. In an oncology ward. I could go on about how utterly useless the entire shower of shites are but the screen is blurry through the tears.
Here’s a few of the many lines from NHS Lothians mission statement;
- We will provide a safe and caring setting for patients and staff, and an efficient, effective and seamless care experience
We will demonstrate our compassion and caring through our action and words
We will take time to ensure each person feels listened to, secure, understood and is treated compassionately.
The utter bastards. They couldn’t have treated my Lindy any worse. She’ll have no more birthdays.