Friday, 22nd March, 2024

[Day 1467]

As soon as I got into the hospital this morning, I put in a request to speak with the hospital social worker. This was less than satisfactory as she indicated that Meg’s case was now in the hands of the ReAblement team and they would have to assess ‘capacity’ (ours or theirs I do not know) and it was out of her hands. During the course of the morning, I managed to text my own newly allocated social worker who advised me to contact the ReAblement team. She tried to be helpful by giving me a number which was a generic number rather than a hospital specific one and as there was a huge queue and this would not have been productive anyway I abandoned this. I bumped in to the physiotherapist who seemed vague about the exact procedures from this point but indicated surprise! surprise!) that a lot of box ticking was involved. I realise that I am in a system that I cannot penetrate or question so I just have to sit and wait and not ‘bucking the system’ All last night, I have been contemplating what dire consequences would follow from taking Meg’s discharge but I suspect that this is cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. I now realise that nothing will happen today, Friday and of course Saturday and Sunday intervene. So a Monday discharge is the earliest and then we have the (for me) dreaded Easter holidays intervening. The frustrating thing is that Meg was admitted on Sunday, announced medically fit in Sunday and has been ‘bed blocking’ for five whole days and goodness knows how many more.

So now I turn attention to Meg herself. She seemed reasonably OK and seemed to have slept through the mayhem that was happening two beds away. The first of my strategies is working relatively well and that is to take the photographs on my iPad and then work my way through them, one by one. I also had bought a copy of the newspaper and I flipped through the pages ignoring some items and commenting upon some of the others which I could summarise as I went along. The other successful little venture of the morning was to go through a child’s reading book designed, I think, for early readers of the ages 6-7 I would imagine. This was an illustrated story of a boy and his little toy dog (inappropriately called ‘Dogger’) which was lost but eventually retrieved. We paused at some of the points in the story to expand a little on some of the themes – for example, the little boy had a sister who liked to go to bed with lots of cuddly toys. Actually, our son did so as well so Meg had a little giggle reminding ourselves what they were. One of my earliest memories of a soft toy was a panda which a very good friend and trainee opera singer of ours bought for our son. This panda (called ‘Panda’) went to bed every night but occasionally had to be retrieved from his cot to give a much needed wash from childish dribbles. But when the panda emerged from the spin dinner, the animal achieved a curvilinear state, not to mention the holes in the spin dryer drum that left their mark. So Meg remembers well retrieving the panda, bending its curvilinear shape into a more normal one and then replacing it back into the cot hoping that our son would not notice it had ever gone missing. The final thing that reprieved the morning for us was a book called ‘Cutting Remarks’ which was full of humourous quotations. We headed straight for the Politics section and some of remarks that politicians made about each other were hilarious and caused us quite a good few giggles. I seem to remember reading the reports that an American sergeant made about his men in a similar vein and one sticks in my memory that a particular GI ‘sets himself the lowest of standards which he conspicuously fails to meet’ The other remark that I remember pertains to one of my colleagues, now departed, who hoiked his not very bright son round minor public school after minor public school until one headmaster remarked to him wearily ‘Mr xxxx, we as a school are not particularly renowned for our academic standards but even we have standards below which we dare not fall’ (Incidentally, I adopted this as a working motto when we were considered whether students should pass or fail in our annual Boards of Examiners). The morning was punctuated by three other sets of visitors which is always a good thing. One was the physiotherapist who assess Meg the other one and for whom Meg fared a little better today when using a frame. The second was the Dementia support worker who started off her working life in a print works so she had made an interesting career transition. Incidentally, I always love to hear how people started off and how they got to do what they are doing this morning. The third person was a junior doctor (as doctors do not wear flapping white coats these days and their name badges are so inconspicuously worn I could not really tell the grade of doctor to whom we were speaking). We knew that Meg was basically medically fit but that he had been detailed to call by. I explained the non-pharmacological techniques that I deployed at home to manage Meg’s conditions and he admitted to being suitably impressed. Lunch today was a spicy beef followed by stewed plums and custard and they are absolutely delicious (Meg ate the whole lot, leaving me without a lunch today)

The good staff that have been on yesterday and will be on again tomorrow were replaced by a personnel (who seem to be one sister across two bays of beds and a nursing assistant allocated to each bay) I think the staff today seemed a trifle less conscientious and somewhat brusque with the patients under their control. Having said that, they were under a certain amount of abuse from two patients one of whom had been playing up all night and most of the day. Eventually she was removed and I wondered if she had moved to a more secure and sound proofed unit for everybody’s peace of mind. The woman immediately next to Meg admitted to being scared as did the night sister. The afternoon was punctuated by our son coming for an hour’s visit which was a wonderfully welcome release and after he left, the afternoon drifted to a close with a nice tea (and then Meg and I played each other some Mozart on my iPhone)