Iatrogenic traumatisation, #1

Iatrogenic, for those not quite in the way of showing off, is illness caused as a result of medical treatment. Which could be another name for most of the sites on HU, I suspect. There should be a formal name for an iatrogenic illness by proxy, since as a result of the experience of my husband's treatment at the hands of the over-professionalised [i.e. cold, distant and completely unempathic] nurses, I am experiencing a relapse that has taken away a good 2 years of creeping recovery. Still, for anyone left who might be remotely interested, I am going to copy here my complaint to a hospital regarding my OH's nursing care. In instalments, because this is not something anyone would sustain interest over in one go if at all, I suspect. Suffice it to say, it set a cat amongst the pigeons. And I have redacted incriminating info to protect the innocent: me. So, here goes - and not one word of any of it is an exaggeration.

"Dear X [i.e. Person Who Flies Solo Sexually],

It is with regret I am writing on both my and my husband’s behalf to bring to your attention the paucity of nursing care my husband experienced whilst a surgical patient at X [your hospital]. This is a difficult action to take against the overarching relief of having treatment at such a centre of excellence and being under the care of its team of oncology staff [i.e. in case you f***-up any future treatment needed out of spite]. However, the experience of having to be treated at all [because as you seem to have forgotten, cancer is terrifying], as well as having to undergo surgery that is stated to be aimed at being curative [so we still have to wait to see if there is a death sentence] has been compounded from being naturally distressing into becoming traumatic by the following string of incidences [diabolical f****-ups and deliberate bitchiness by the nurses], date-headed for clarity [since it is evident most of the people there are effing morons]:

Tuesday 21st February 2017:

My husband was admitted for a robotic prostatectomy and we have no complaint about his treatment [we hope]. Regarding the prostatectomy we were warned about the likelihood of postoperative pain as a result of flatulence [actually, no-one mentioned the word agony: you should have said, "it's going to be agony beyond anything you have ever experienced, but don't worry, you won't die of pain], although the degree could not have been predicted since naturally this is idiosyncratic [ibid]. Although aware of the pain from his distended abdomen, OH [i.e. the poor 'man born out of wedlock'] was largely sedated on Tuesday night [i.e. he was stoned out of his brains. I, on the other hand, was stone cold sober and effing horrified. Not that there was a single effing nurse around to reassure me, my being only a relative. But, hey ho.].

Wednesday 22nd February:

Upon my arrival at 2.00 p.m. visiting time, I found my husband sitting in a chair and looking white-faced and very ill. He told me that he had been got out of bed that morning but that his blood pressure had dropped precipitately (I believe somewhere around or below 97/59) and had become very unwell and nauseated to the point of almost fainting. He had been immediately put back to bed by the nurses. Since then he’d been made to sit in the chair and was left alone. He felt ghastly sitting up, and I helped him back into to bed. Apart from performing his routine observations nursing staff had left him unattended [i.e. he'd been dumped back in a chair and left there to rot, retch and groan since all the staff were sat nattering around the 'welcome' desk].

He had since been unable to move or ambulate throughout the afternoon not only because of feeling so ill but also the intensity of the pain, which he subjectively rated at a baseline of 3 out of ten rising to peaks of 8-9, which came in continuous waves every few seconds [not that any of you f****s would have noticed from the s**d**g desk]. He was also very nervous that he might faint [hint: he was green]. Naturally it was distressing to see my husband in such pain [i.e. for a normal human being that has not been hardened into stone, that is]. I left at 4.00 p.m.

When I arrived for the evening visit at 6.00 p.m. I found my OH [i.e. the poor 'man born out of wedlock] to be still in intense pain [actually, lying poleaxed, white faced, hardly breathing and groaning with every breath; not that any of you f****s would have noticed from the s**d**g desk! ]. I went to ask a nurse about his having some pain relief. I spoke to the sister [ weathering the rolling eyes of the put-upon nursing staff] who came to see him and she explained again that he needed to get up and mobilise in order to encourage the peristalsis that would begin to void the flatulence [i.e. get up, walk and fart]. She informed me that he had been written up for Oramorph and we discussed that being an opiate, Oramorph would act against peristalsis [would stop him farting]. However, I felt the need to contend that there was a difficulty in his mobilisation since OH was virtually poleaxed from the pain, and asked if there could be a balance between pain relief and relying on nature to take its course [in other words, how do you expect a man who is green with nausea, faint from low blood pressure and in agony to walk, you stupid #~@%*"!]. She replied, “Well, we could try Buscopan, but he’s not written up for it.” She fetched his notes and upon reading them exclaimed, “Oh, he is written up for it.”

[I.e. the effing sister had not bothered her ar*e to read his notes.]

She went away, I thought to obtain this drug, but to my recollection did not reappear [i.e. she just f**** off]. My husband was all the time immobilised and almost dumbstruck with the pain. After a while I went to ask for him to see a doctor, and was told that there was only one doctor on call for the whole area of the hospital and that it would take him some time to get round to see OH [i.e. s*d off and don't myther us - we're having a chat around the hospital equivalent of the water cooler - the desk]. However, his pain was so relentless I went to request a doctor at least five times over an hour and a half [weathering the rolling eyes and the blatant ignoring of my presence].

I think I recall that during this time Oramorph was administered, but it had virtually no effect whatsoever. I cannot be sure of the time this was administered since the concern over his evident agony, and the sense of it being of relative unimportance to the nursing staff, began to override [i.e. I was tearing my hair out with worry and the fact that none of the nurses gave a half-baked sh** - and I don't have that much to tear out, you b****s!].

The doctor arrived around 7.30 p.m.[the doctor sauntered in an hour and a half later]. I said to him, “You must be busy,” to which he replied that he was not so busy and, “This was not like an Accident and Emergency Hospital.” [i.e. the nurses were lying +*£"*@s]. He examined OH rectally [finger up the poor 'man born out of wedlock's a*s*], and diagnosed that the flatus was higher up in his intestines as opposed to lower into his rectum, and therefore could not be encouraged to void manually with the insertion of the doctor’s finger [i.e. couldn't get him to fart]. He prescribed the administration of Buscopan to alleviate the intestinal spasm and so help ease the pain. All the time we were repeatedly told that OH needed to mobilise – indeed we were well-aware of the fact [WE KNEW, YOU MORONS!], but it seemed hard to convey [BUT NOBODY WAS F*"!#~g LISTENING] that this was virtually impossible against the agony and faintness he was experiencing – and I use the term agony advisedly since his pain was now at an almost continuous 9 out of ten.

From the time that the doctor left no-one came to administer anything [because they were sitting round the effing desk having a jolly good chin-wag]. At around 8.15 pm the doctor returned to OH’s bedside to ask if the medication had brought relief, to which I replied that OH had been given nothing. The doctor walked down the corridor and called out to ask where the Buscopan that he had ordered “for immediate administration” was, but did not return [so no change there, then]. After around 20 minutes more I went to find out where the medication was [i.e. I marched down the corridor with steam coming from my ears and was going to take no more snash from anyone]. Since there was no-one at the desk I searched for staff, having to knock on a door to what appeared to be an office. I found one nurse working at a computer and, although she told me that was not part of OH’s nursing team, she searched out someone who might help. She found, in another room, a couple of nurses standing and talking (I only saw one through the doorway, who moved away presumably towards her colleague inside the room with whom she had been directing her discourse). The nurse accompanying me asked them from the doorway if one of them was preparing the Buscopan infusion for my husband. The answer was, seemingly, affirmative [i.e. the nurse no doubt mouthed obscenities], since the administering nurse preparing the infusion neither appeared at the door nor spoke loudly enough for me to hear [because the cowardly bitch stayed out of sight]; the first nurse conveyed to me that the infusion was being prepared and that ‘she now had to return to the job I had interrupted’ [i.e. told me to s*d off and stop mythering].

A few minutes later, a nurse I had not seen before arrived at OHs bedside and administered the infusion. The relief was, evidently, virtually instantaneous, the pain dropping to a comparatively tolerable level. I stayed as long as I could to ensure he was as comfortable as possible.'

Thus ended the first day. I returned to my hotel room to spend the night alone other than the company of a packet of custard tarts, some Lindt praline, a half bottle of wine and, as a token gesture to healthy eating, a Marks and Spencer salad! The description 'comfort eating' is a complete misnomer, by the way. I sat in a roll-top bath munching my tarts (not a euphemism), watching TV and thought 'thank god that's over'.

Little did I know.

To be continued.

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23 Replies

  • Oh good grief Schenks, your poor husband :(

    That's a stonking start to the letter though! Can't wait to read the rest.

  • Heehee, Shenks you are such a funny writer! Terrible story, reminds me too much of my own horrible brush with being hospitalised :( Absolutely shocking.

  • Thanks for the likes and responses - am so exhausted, can't respond to you as yet. Will do. though. xx

  • Your poor OH Shenks. There's something to be said for Nightingale Wards and Matrons. No hiding places and someone actually in charge. Hope he recovers well.

  • Thanks, jbee - he's doing amazingly well, thank you. Not quite returned to formal stamina and gets a bit tired, but gaining ground all the time. And no cancer! Still, it takes a while to get your head round it.

  • Hi schenks what terrible time you and your OH have had, the nursing staff want a squib up their backsides. I don't know what the NHS is coming to as I too have had my OH in hospital recently due to a fractured back caused by falling out of the loft and I was tearing my hair out as one doc was saying he has got fracture and another was saying no he hasn't ended up demanding a meeting with doc to clarify the situation and eventually got to see x-ray for myself and yes there the fracture was for all to see but at least he did get pain relief as and when needed, bloody morons the lot of them. Look forward to reading your next instalment.

  • Hi Schenks, so glad your husband is doing well now.

    My daughter is a soldier and has just changed trades to nursing. At the moment she's still full of the ' always listen to the patient', 'talk to family members', 'work as a team with the patient' speak from the course notes. I've been wondering how long it'll take for the scales to fall from her eyes; presumably when she goes to work in an NHS hospital on secondment.

    I'm going to copy your post for her to read in the hope that it'll prompt her to continue with her present enthusiasm rather than fall into the ways of so many nursing staff that we've all encountered.

  • Hi, Puss - thank you for your response. I hope your daughter doesn't become jaded or sucked in to the herd mentality. by the way - there were 5 pages of complaint - it gets worse. This was just the tip of the iceberg! Feel free to share it, hon, and good luck to your plucky lass. x

  • So sorry to read about this litany of ineptitude, Schenks. I do hope your OH recovers his health and equilibrium. Oh, but I would love to have been a fly on the wall when your letter was read by 'the authorities'. Good show!

  • Hi, Stevie - thanks. There are more exerts to follow - it got a whole lot worse. I think it put a rocket up a few whatsits when received, and we did have a meeting with the matron, the surgeon and a couple of other staff. In the end they did heed our suggestion about discharge of patients and the need for a little advisory pack, which I want to review - I'm not letting this one go. Thanks for your good wishes - from your mouth to God's ears! xx

  • Blimey, Schenks, you well deserve our support after your horrendous experience. It's a shame that your efforts to change the system will be in isolation... If only everyone who suffered as you two have done could be listened to en-masse, maybe then things would change. My father-in-law who is a retired eminent surgeon despairs at the way things have gone; the way in which doctors have lost the ability to diagnose by a patient's symptoms. The old guard had a higher ethical morality than these modern-day pretenders, I feel.

  • Thanks, Stevie. We can't but totally agree with your father in law. And the thing about these modern day pretenders is that they are so damned arrogant. And close ranks as though we are the enemy! Actually, the truth is that I am still traumatised. As you will understand when you read what came next. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support. My OH and I are so damned isolated, this is one of two places I can be 'heard', other than my own therapist. And boy, do I need a *#@÷! therapist!! 😱

  • Bring on your next instalment, Schenks. It's so good to see someone fighting back, although I am sure you would not have wished to be in this position. Take care :-)

  • 😱😵😘

  • I actually cried reading that. Memories of how badly treated my lovely old dad had been in hospital. And me, on some occasions too.

    Glad to read hubby is doing well and wish you luck with whatever you want to achieve with the letter 😏

  • So sorry to hear that, Silver - it should be a rarity but I suspect it is more common than not. As above, we did have a meeting but if they think a grovelling apology is going to suffice, they are sadly mistaken. This is too important an issue to let pass. And if you read the next lot, you'll see why. Anyway, thanks again. xx

  • Im sorry there is to be a 'next one' and yes, much too important to let pass.

  • Thank god you were there! Sending ❤️🍫🍾

  • Thanks and 🤗😱😬🙏😘👍😌😷🤢🎂

  • 😂🙈

  • Schenks... I'm bloody speechless! 🙁

  • Oh, hi! Sorry, didn't know you'd read it. Nearly ready for the next installment, and the reply from the Chief Executive will blow you away!

  • Can't wait :D

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