I thought I’d share with you my thoughts, trial and tribulations and terror of getting through the minefield that is the NHS.
Let’s go back to 17 December. it’s 8.30pm Small Boy has just finished his Christmas Concert in church, at last I’m beginning to feel a little Christmassy. For the first time in about 4 years I’ve written a couple (yes I mean a couple) of Christmas cards and decided to stop lying about them being lost in the post every year and just come clean. So we’re about to collect Small Boy when my mobile rings and it’s Angela, my Mum’s partner’s daughter in law (now, you need to keep up here) would it help to have some history?
History of my Mum’s love life. My Mum was happily married to my Dad until he died suddenly 20 years ago, she then turned into a lovestruck teenager when she met the lovely Cliff six months after my Dad died and they had a fabulous year together until unfortunately he died too. It’s a real bummer getting old. A few years later she met Jack at a dance at Middlesbrough Town Hall. Mum and Jack have been together for around 16 years and he’s the only Grandad my children have ever known. Angela is Jack’s son’s wife and they live a few miles away from my Mum.
Angela called to say that Mum had fallen and broken her hip and she was in the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough. Bang goes me feeling less stressed and Christmassy – total evaporation of any feelings of relaxation to be replaced by sheer and total panic.
We grabbed small boy and spent an hour trying to get out of the church car park whilst on the phone to A&E at James Cook who tell me that Mum is waiting to see the consultant and they’ll probably operate on her hip in the morning but won’t know anything until the next day anyway.
We get home, I pack, put things in place to drive up to the wilds and frozen wastes of the North East not knowing what kind of state I’m going to find my Mum, not knowing if they’ll be operating as I drive up, if Mum will survive the operation, nothing, sheer blind panic. The only upside is that I get to stay at my best mate Nadene’s house for a couple of nights so I know she’ll take my mind off things. The next worry is Jack, will he be OK on his own?
I leave at 9am Tuesday morning and get up there without stopping in 4.5 hours, I have permission to go straight onto the ward even though it’s not visiting time to see Mum as she’s in a side room. They’ve not operated as it’s a clean fracture and will heal on it’s own, she’s going to be in hospital for at least 6 weeks. Spend the next few days commuting between Nadene’s, Jack’s and James Cook Hospital.
Mum decides that she doesn’t want to go back to her bungalow and she wants to move down to me. I am introduced to the NHS and the local authority hell of funding……….
Middlesbrough want Mum to stay there, transfer to a rehab centre in Redcar for 6 weeks and have her home adapted so she can go back to the bungalow with a package of care, Mum doesn’t want to go back to bungalow but the local authority doesn’t give a damn about what she wants, what is important to them is that they keep the funding for her no matter what her wishes are. Is there a way around this? Damned right there is.
First step is to get her registered with a GP down here, my lovely practice accommodates this PDQ, as a patient she is now registered to my address in Bucks and her bank accounts other things changed to this address too. Next is to get the nurses and sister at the ward on my side. They are lovely, and they like my Mum which helps. Ah, then Christmas hits and the whole of the NHS, social services and occupation and physio therapy close down for two weeks from 21 December through to 7 January. I come back home on 21 December to run the Christmas workshops leaving Mum in hospital.