My Xmas trip to A & E 27th Dec

Xmas was going okay until xmas day evening, started a dry cough and could not get rid of it. Boxing day felt pretty rough, still coughing. Was staying with my Daughter and son-in-law but decided to come home early as did not feel too good.

Gradually got worse through Tuesday, breathing bad and heart rate upto 140. Struggling to catch my breath by early evening so hubby called 111. Details given and they decided emergency ambulance to be sent out, arrived in 10 mins. Assessed and taken into A & E. Then the fun begins - enter A & E Doors, backlog of over 20 arrivals. Never seen so many ambulance crew, paramedics in one place before. Took 3 hours to get to a cubicle for assessment, which meant my ambulance guy and gal had to stay with me all that time. The system really is broken, when they said good bye they were due their food break - so they would have spent nearly half their shift with one patient.

Waited nearly an hour to see a doctor, bloods were done by ambulance guy while waiting in corridors, anyway put on oxygen, nebulizer, iv fluids and antibiotics ect and had a chest xray. Arrived at A & E approx. 8pm Tuesday admitted to ward 2 pm Wednesday ( no beds before then).

Apart from a very uncomfortable night and morning on the very uncomfortable A & E beds all the staff were lovely, a few needs got neglected a tad but they were so busy all is forgiven. Only one thing, the guy in the cubicle across from me complained to a staff nurse that my HR monitor was constantly going off, that I was coughing all the time and he could not get to sleep. ( I heard him say to a doctor earlier that this was his first visit to a hospital since the age of 3 he was now 73 and he had decided to come to A & E because he was having some breathing problems). It was, HR was over 150 most of the time and it was a rather loud alarm. Anyway said staff nurse came over to my cubicle said to my dedicated nurse who was beside me switch it off, it's probably just a few isolated blips. Asked me if I had odd bouts of AF, I said no I am in permanent AF and my HR is running riot at the moment, she left it on.

Anyway I am now home after three days, I had some how picked up some infection which has caused pnemonia (sure that is spelt wrong) home to my own bed as I had so little sleep while in hospital. AGain thanks to all the lovely staff fighting a very hard battle to keep our NHS going. Happy 2017 to everyone.


33 Replies

  • get well soon.

  • What a story! How much we take for granted, but when we need A & E - We really need it!

    Taking a gram of vitamin C at the first sign of the cough etc, and repeating this at least three times a day (possibly every two hours for the first two days) may have prevented the pneumonia developing. It's worth being prepared! There's no need to buy the expensive fizzy ones - A health shop will sell cheaper, or buy 500grm and take two. We use much more vitamin C when we are ill, and can't store it (unlike most animals) so can always use more. It stays in the body only about six hours, so repeating the dose through the day is worthwhile.

  • The NHS is on its knees. I hope people think carefully about whether they are using the service appropriately.

  • If you are unable to get treatment when you require it, it is not on it`s knees - it is completely broken!

  • You nailed it Goldfish.

    My first trip to A&E was around New Year and it was like being on another planet. The backlog was 13 hours, the staff were run ragged, there were many emergencies including a fatal accident and in the middle of it there were druggies zonked out and shouting obscenities and drunken louts doing their thing all over the crowded department.

    The people who do not think twice about going to A&E (and who seem to know their way around extremely well) will never consider whether to go or not - they feel entitled unfortunately.

  • Hi. As a retired A&E sister I'm appalled at the state of the current crisis in the NHS. I fail to understand why people arriving in A&E who are drunk,are not charged for their treatment after all this is self inflicted. The people who suffer as a result of their behaviour, are the genuine sick ,who through no fault of their own need medical help. Coupled with this most have been paying into the system for years and hoped that when they were in genuine need of medical care they would get it. Unfortunately anything given for nothing is open to abuse. As the only person leagally entitled to say a person is drunk I will refer to them as having over indulged in alcohol. As they are prepared to pay a lot of money to get into this state, I don't think it unreasonable to ask them to pay for the consequences of their actions.

    Does anyone out there agree with me?.

  • Hi exasperated,yes I do!

    I to was a sister in charge of A/E and did we see life there at this time of year!

    But never such hold ups that go on now!

    Patients were triaged and there were extra staff sent to help out as necessary !

    There were also more beds for people to be admitted into!

    At night A/E was chaotic,but the right number of staff and beds we coped!

    The system is beyond repair!

    Very frightening!

  • It's tempting to agree with what you say about drunks and druggies but we are a society mired in the threat of litigation and the hounding of people who do their jobs. When I was a youngster, drunks were hauled in disgrace to the police cells to sleep it off and probably made to clean up their own mess. Can you imagine the field day lawyers would make of such treatment nowadays?

    However, I would have been more than happy to pay a fee for attending A&E - but is that just more admin and work for the staff? From my few times in A&E, the people who seem to be abusing the service have it down to a fine art, know their 'rights' but ****** all about their responsibilities.

  • Totally agree, charge for ambulance and treatment if alcohol related also non urgent should be asked to pay or go to their gp, problem is of course who would have to see it through, staff are so stressed

  • I hate this as where does it stop. Should overweight people be charged, athletes, amateur sports, maybe those with AF if caused by lifestyle??? The list is endless. So less taxpaywers money on wars, arms. Collect outstanding taxes from big companies and fund the NHS properly.

  • It stops when people accept some responsibility for their actions. Explain to some very ill person in an A&E queue that dealing with young people who have indulged in drinking alcohol to excess is the nurses priotity. I never mentioned drug takers in my response!

  • Slippery slope but agree to differ!

  • Get well, I have found that you have to be persistent with the NHS

  • Tough luck. We came back from Spain middle of last month and brought a nasty bug back with us. On the plane I was sat next to one guy who was coughing all the time, and then the bloke next to him starting reading from some sort of arabic prayer book.....great!

    Been in bed on and off since then and still feel cr4p now. Wonder if it's the bug the Queen has; just can't shake it off. We've had no Christmas at all.

  • Koll, stop trying to make out you have a connection with royalty! LOL. No, am sorry to hear you're not well and hope you soon recover.

  • I've had pneumonia on and off for about four years now and nothing shifts it, it rears its ugly head when I least expect it, the cocktail of antibiotics they put me on when I get the first sniff of a cold sends me haywire, I too have seen how overworked the A&E department at our hospital is overworked, the last time I was in there were four males with police escort and eight others the worse for drink/drugs and they seemed to get priority because they were making such a noise at the time, I too had a long wait and it is not nice when your heart is racing away like that. I hope you get well soon, or at least as well as you can be with this awful AF.

  • I resolved never to go again to A&E and 111 always send paramedics who take you to hospital ( the last time I refused to go) now a days I just go to bed and talk to Shopdoc if needed or badger my GP surgery until I get attention. Most times this works. The NHS IS broken and sad to say not fit for purpose. They try their best but with inadequate tools to do their job it is failing (the system not the people). Try to get a vaccination against pneumonia as I had one when I was 50 and never have had a further severe chest infection again (touch wood!) and am now 72.

  • So sad to hear of your problems at A and E not helped I am sure by alcohol related A and E admissions and people who really should not be there. I agree with Goldfish, too many people abusing the system so that when real emergencies arrive there is "no room at the inn. "

    I really hope you start to feel better again soon Cassie.

  • What an experience Cassie - home is the best place to rest and heal.

    Get well soon.

  • Are you taking either dronedarone or amiodarone? You mention being on oxygen: what was your SpO2?

  • In my experience if you are in real need of help the A&E NHS service is second to none.

    We are all different and sadly it is also a post code lottery as to whether you are able to be treated quickly and efficiently.

    I have been unfortunate enough to be in A&E 3 times in the past 12 months and each time was treated with respect and the greatest care. Once was for a severed artery in my hand the other two times for my heart.

    I was also told not to hesitate to return if necessary and that compared with so many patients who presented themselves with problems for which they should not have attended A&E, it was totally appropriate for me to have taken myself there and that I was not to feel a nuisance or feel that I should not have gone to A&E.


  • Don't forget to have the pneumonia jab. It's for life so repetition not necessary.

  • Thanks for your responses. I have had the lifetime pneumonia jab, 3 years ago. Mentioned this to consultant who discharged me, he said sadly does not cover all strains! Vit C always take a daily dose of this and up it in the winter. No not on any of the nasty drugs on Biso, Diltiazem, Ramipril and rivaroxaban.

    Oh one tip I got while in there, after using nebulizer I felt really weak and edgy, happened each time, had about 5 doses over the period, lady next to me on ward was there with bad asthma attack. She gave me a banana to eat as the nebulizer apparently sucks out all the potassium in you. It worked felt better quickly.

    Feeling a lot better today, just have to take it easy, take the rest of the antibiotics and steroids. Have to go for an xray in 4 weeks to make sure all is clear. I think I was just unlucky, doc said I probably have had a virus infection in the last few weeks, did not clear properly led to some infection then pneumonia. I did have a slight cold a few weeks ago, well just a very runny nose and lot of sneezing for a few days but nothing much.


  • Sadly the jab doesn't cover many types of pneumonia so still at risk of uncovered ones. Some people do need to get a repeat on so always check with GP

  • That's not the case according to the NHS website. The jab for over 65s is a once and for all.

  • Yes… Very important to get the pneumonia shot and now there is a booster shot so be sure to talk to your doctor soon. They do make a difference.

  • Well, at least we're in good company. Our dear Queen has been suffering for some time with a virus. My wife has had a virus for 3 weeks now and I've just gone down with a sore chest after fighting off a cold for the last 2 weeks. Surely, one day the medical researchers will find a remedy to prevent this 'plague' cursing our lives. Every time I have a holiday coming up I live in fear of the dreaded common cold destroying my anticipated pleasure.

    It's incredible that such a common and widely understood condition should thwart the skills of mankind to banish its misery for ever.

  • Hi Cassie. Sorry to hear about your Xmas visit to A&E. Hope that now you are home you will make a full recovery. Did you not have a pneumonia vaccination? If the answer to this is no then I suggest you mention it to your GP. It is a one off.

  • Yes had it 3 years ago - see my last reply.

  • We get exposed to viruses and bacteria all the time but as we get older, have certain conditions and medications we are much more at risk. Simple things like frequent hand washing can help reduce the risks. I carry a hand gel everywhere to try and help. But, when granddaughter started nursery and daughter went back to teaching end of August I succumbed to the cold/cough virus they developed despite me trying to avoid it. As I'm on prednisolone I'm more prone anyway, but from then till end of November I suffered like never before, resulted in chest infections, gettting antibiotics, upsetting INR and increasing steroids! Was awful time for me. Just before Christmas they both started again with bugs, including husband but this time at their first signs I started "Cold and Flu Guard" from Asda and have religiously used it and despite them coughing and spluttering round me, touch wood, I am fine. I now have a spare in the cupboard ready for next time !!!

  • You are following in Irelands footsteps. God help you all. When I was taken to A&E with suspected stroke I spent 2 nights on a chair there before taken to a ward. I was not in pain but a woman seated nearby was , she cried for 36 hours. By the way we have to pay for a trip to A&E. Its €100 plus €100 for every night we spend in hospital. Here in Ireland we envied your NHS system. We still do. If you are employed in this country you must pay for everything, including medication up to a ceiling of €145 pm. Be grateful for the NHS. It can only get worse.

  • Well I would like to say that I live in Spain and the same thing happened to me the difference was that straight into AE 2 scans then another ambulance to take me to another hospital an hour away where I had surjury to remove a blood clot from my brain. I f i had not had this treatment so fast then I would not be here to tell my story. WELL ONE SPAIN

  • So what does Spain do differently to our N.H.S.? I would be interested to know as always hearing good reports. X

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