Saturday, 23rd March, 2024

[Day 1468]

And so the weekend in the hospital wards started. The minute I arrived in the car park it was evident that a different regime was in place at the weekend. For a start, it was quite easy instead of almost being impossible to secure a car parking space – evidently, this is because no outpatient departments are scheduled for Saturday mornings, Even the ‘Friends’ coffee bar was closed in which I normally while away 5 minutes until the Ward is open to visitors.When I arrived on the ward, there was a calm almost tranquil atmosphere with each one of the six patients in the bay either in a deep doze (as was Meg) or fast asleep. I was soon to discover the reason why. Apparently, during the night, several of the patients with dementia had got vocal and agitated with some attempting to climb out of bed. I think this had affected Meg as well because although she cannot remember much of it, the nursing staff had told me that she needed some calming measures during the night. So the morning started to pass quite peacefully and there were no physiotherapists or occupational therapists to do their rounds. To make up for this, the nursing assistants had it on the rota to take the weekly weight of the patients which involves getting them out of bed and sitting on a weighing chair. This activity is often combined with taking patients to the toilet as well, the idea being that it encourages a degree of mobility in the patients. The morning had actually started off very well indeed because my son and daughter-in-law had called round with a whole series of books (most, if not all, belonging to my daughter-in-law rather than the school) which I could use to divert Meg. We started off the morning when Meg had woken up properly with a flip through the pages of ‘The Times’ and then I turned my attention to one of the reading books. These are generally well illustrated and are intended to be read to children by their parents and apparently the one I used yesterday called ‘Dogger’ is quite well known (but written before these days when the term ‘Dogger’ might be misconstrued.) And so lunch time came and, again, the quality of the food never ceases to amaze me. The fare today (which we had chosen yesterday) was a spicy chicken with herby potatoes followed by a bread-and-butter pudding. In the absence of any better offers, I pilfered. some of Meg’s food and whilst she had eaten her fill, so I live on the rest that would be normally be thrown away. I am trying and so far succeeding in getting Meg to sit on a chair most of the morning and after lunch and a toileting to get her to have a really good nap in the early afternoon. This worked quite well today, so much so that Meg had at least three quarters of an hour whist I actually fell into a deep sleep for about 20 minutes which I evidently needed. The mid afternoon was not so easy because Meg’s agitation levels were increasing and her concentration levels decreasing but I do what I can to keep Meg calm within the constraints of the situation. But the highlight of the afternoon definitely came with the arrival of my son and daughter-in-law for an hour’s visit between 4pm and 5PM and this definitely helps the time to fly. Something that helped to divert all four of us, actually, were a couple of books that my daughter-in-law brought along of Scrapbooks of the 1950’s and the 1960’s. Each one of these is filled with the products, clothes, food, artefacts and events of the decade in question. Naturally the Coronation in 1953 was allocated a lot of space. After our visitors had left, there was not too long to wait for tea which was a little earlier today and after tea Meg is generally quite calm and we try and listen to some music together. But then the ward sister came along to inform me that they were going to transfer Meg to an adjacent ward – of course I have spent a week cultivating good relations with the various staff and this will have to start all over again tomorrow morning. The transfer from one ward to another seemed unnecessarily long, complex and tedious. It involved getting Meg out of bed when she was a bit sleepy and sitting her in a chair whilst all of her bed was clinically cleaned. Then the new patient and family were brought to the bedside and then, for some reason whisked away again. Then Meg and all of her possessions had to be transferred but we had to ensure that the conveyance that had brought the new patient was itself clinically cleaned. Sp the entire process was long, tedious and irksome and started at 8.15 but was not completed until 9.30pm. I should say that I could have left Meg alone in this sort of No Mans Land but I wanted to see her settled into her new bed, without even unpacking her things, before I felt able to leave. The new ward has two 4-bedded bays instead of the 6-bedded bays from the previous ward and I have gleaned that that this is a medical ward in which the patients, although frail like Meg, are regarded as medically fit and are awaiting their discharge. We shall have to wait and see what Sunday is going to bring bit it does feel a little like starting all over again.