Thursday, 16th May, 2024

[Day 1522]

We always knew that today was going to be quite a fraught day today, dominated by the hospital appointment at the local hospital to investigate the oedema in Mg’s left leg. Once we had got Meg up up and breakfasted, the ambulance actually turned up about three quarters of an hour early but the crew were very pleasant and got Meg loaded onto the Sara Stedy and thence to their own specialist ambulance stretcher. Having got Meg loaded in, we then went to a care home to pick up another patient. Then we heard a tremendous kerfuffle because the ambulance crew refused to load a wheelchair that was not certificated as crash tested whereas the care home thought the ambulance would be providing a crash certificated wheelchair. All kinds of negotiations and discussions were going on behind our backs which we could not observe but only hear, the upshot being that the (demented) old lady could not be transported until the home provided the correct wheel chair (a subsequent ambulance crew told us that homes did this to cut costs and to save money) So we arrived at the hospital and Meg got loaded quite quickly onto the treatment couch using a combination of slide boards and slide sheets. The middle aged but vastly experienced technician allowed me to view as much of the data as I needed as it was UltraSound imaging with no radiation risk. I could tell how experienced he was because he immediately started scanning Meg’s groin and clearly identified a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) almost within a minute of starting. He explained that as the DVT had travelled up the leg to the groin there was no point in starting to scan any lower but he did (reassuringly) scan Meg’s abdomen and no clot was showing up there. He explained that this condition was fairly easily treated in his opinion and he was kindness personified, as was the nurse who assisted. Then we were escorted to a waiting area at about 12.00 midday or just before, awaiting the specialised transport back home. Suspecting that we might have a long wait in front of us, I had taken the precaution of taking along a flask of coffee and some crunchy biscuits and this helped to make the initial part of the wait a bit more bearable. But after an hour and half Meg was becoming understandably restless and the nurse who had attended us came along to see us to see what she could do to help. She phoned up the ambulance agency which indicated that we might only have to wait for a further 40 minutes but this turned out to be an hour. But a very kindly radiographer who had seen us waiting for a very long time went to get us some sandwiches (which I must say were delicious) and a cup of tea for myself and he even brought along some tea for Meg in a little silver teapot so that I could pour the contents into Meg’s feeding cup. I must say that the act of feeding ourselves with some sandwiches plus the conversation that we had with the radiographer helped to pass some of the time. I suspect that as it was 1.00am we were in a bit of a lull between the morning and the afternoon appointments. Bus this act of kindness was much appreciated but the entire wait for the transport to come home was two and a half hours. In the ambulance, we picked up another patient who had to be delivered to a care home in an obscure part of Redditch unknown to us and then we made our way home through pouring rain and the most horrendous traffic jams not getting home until after 4.00pm. The ambulance crew were very good getting Meg onto her chair via the Sara Stedy (although in theory, they had not been trained how to use this) but fortunately did not completely follow the rule book. As we coming in the house, the care agency manager phoned with a rater obscure message that I did not quite understand that the OT wanted to assess Meg whilst she was in bed. Of course, what I suspected would happen did happen – the OT person tried to contact us although I had informed the ReAblement team that Meg had a hospital visit booked for the day. Because of the problems of mobile phones deep in the heart of a hospital and surrounded by X-ray and other scanning machines, this call did not get through to me nor did the subsequent message. So when I returned home, I had to phone the ReAblement team to confirm that an OT would be coming to assess us tomorrow but they could not give me a time. I got a message, though, from the senior partner at the GP practice informing me of the result that the radiologist and I had seen with our own eyes of the DVT from which Meg is suffering and for which she is already taking the medication.

An unexpected bonus has come our way after this little hospital episode. The friendly radiologist who had gone out of his way to supply us with sandwiches extracted the slide sheets upon which Meg had been lying when she was eventually transferred to the ambulance stretcher, offering them to us and explaining that they would only be thrown away otherwise. So we accepted these with alacrity and once we got Meg inside the house realised that we had acquired both a hospital sheet (that had been used to get Meg into the right position) and also a hospital blanket. We asked the ambulance crew what to do with these items and they just told us to keep them. In truth, both of these are items for which we can we can find a ready use. So we are spending the rest of the afternoon in a contemplative state listening to ClassicFM before we catch up on the evening news and then get ourselves ready for bed at about 7.30pm