Hello Everyone,
It’s been a while since I wrote anything, lots of things have been going on and for want of a better way of putting it my head has been up my arse (thankfully not literally). At the minute I’m either quiet or feel like I’m whinging which ends up annoying me, and the thing is I know that writing it down does help me, so here I am…….

Hospital Drama (Leg) Thursday 2nd November

As you all know my physio with my legs has been on going and had it’s ups and downs, but about 4/5 weeks ago as I was moving to get off the bed and there was a very loud crack in my left knee and extreme pain, the pain stayed for a few hours and then I kinda forgot about it, so I’m not sure if it has any relevance, however about 2/3 weeks later the pain in my knee was so unbearable I could no longer stand up, I couldn’t straighten it out at all not only was there pain but it was as if it was restricted and though I am trying to put every ounce of my power through it, I can barely get my toes off the floor from a sitting position. My physio advised I speak to my doctor or ring 111, she tried to get through to my doctor but was unable and said she would ring him the next day or I could try 111. My doctor is useless so I did ring 111 to be honest I thought they would just advise I speak to doctor the next day but they didn’t they said they were gonna send a non-emergency ambulance, it was 5pm, anyway 6 hrs later I get a phone call from a paramedic saying they were sorry about my wait but were extremely busy, she then asked a few questions about my leg and she said “you know why don’t you take pain killers and put some frozen peas on it then contact your doctor in the morning, I mean we can still come but it will be ages” after she went on for a while I said I would still go in, she then repeated the same thing a few more times, till I felt I had no other choice but to ring my doctors the next day.

Friday 3rd November
I rang my doctors he was in clinic and I had to ring back at 11am, when I got through I explained the situation and he said “what did they want me to do I don’t have hd eyes” he said he would sort an ambulance and get back to me, he rang a few minutes later and I had to explain everything again to him and his practice manager, she then said they would need to speak to the physio, so 5 minutes later his receptionist rang back and said doctor said to ring an ambulance as they couldn’t get through to my physio, they gave me a number to ring, I tried the number which was a patient appointment ambulance only, so I rang the doctors back who then told me to ring 111, I did and went through it all again and she said the same as yesterday, so at about 12.30 the ambulance arrived, however it did not have the right stretcher, I can only use one type because of the lymphodema, I had explained this to them when I rang, the ambulance staff were lovely and kept apologizing, none of it was there fault of course, they contacted control to explain and they said they would send the right crew with stretcher, in the meantime the first crew couldn’t leave which is madness really, they did my obs which were fine apart from my temperature was high, then they went back outside to sit in the ambulance they came back every hour or two to update me, they said they were having trouble locating a crew with the right stretcher and again they apologized. I actually felt sorry for them as they were stuck waiting here with no clue what was going on, anyway about 3pm they came to tell me one was on the way, they arrived 30 mins later and guess what they had exactly the same stretcher as the first crew this then happened again 2 hours later, again the first crew were so apologetic as I said before I felt sorry for them, it was madness that they had to stay here, so again we waited and finally at 8.30pm another crew arrived with the right stretcher, the stretcher that was so hard to locate was sitting in a cupboard in the depot at Ryhope had the first crew known this they could of collected it. I got on to the stretcher and ambulance no problem and we arrived at the hospital about 9.30pm.

The new A & E is very snazzy and I was seen on arrival by a Nurse, he put a venflon in and took my bloods, did my Obs and again everything was fine but my temperature, the doctor than came in he checked my leg and said my bloods showed my infection and inflammatory levels were both high. I told him I was waiting on the results of a water test through my doctors  as they had lost the first one, anyway I did another water test and while waiting for results he wanted to rule out a few things, cellulitis which is an infection of the skin tissues, I have had it a few times before and I said it didn’t feel like that, he said the other thing was a blood clot which he thought as I was in so much pain with my knee that it probably wasn’t the case as the pain wasn’t in the back of the calf where he would expect it to be, so he suggested I was seen by orthopedics as you can get an infection in the kneecap, but the only way to check was to remove fluid from the back of the knee. I was thinking oh that doesn’t sound like it would be painful much :(, but after being examined by the sho he decided I should have an xray, he didn’t think it was a kneecap infection as the area of pain didn’t suggest that and though I hadn’t done anything that could cause a break he wanted to rule it out. After the xray I waited for about 20 mins then both the original doctor and the orthopedic Sho came back in the room, they said that I did have a water infection and they felt it was that that was raising my temperature and the infection markers, they said there were no breaks on the xray and that they thought it was soft tissue damage. The orthopedic sho wanted me to come back to the fracture and trauma clinic in a few days. I explained I had an appointment with bariatics on Monday and so they booked it for afterwards, I was also given a weeks antibiotics for the water infection and they said they would request an ambulance to take me home. I was all sorted by midnight  and they said the wait was 3 hrs for an ambulance.

While I was waiting I spoke to my brother on the phone and the clock on the wall which was an hour ahead, the hour hand span round all the way, fast covering the full 24 hours it did this at midnight and I noticed it again at 2am, each time it went back to the right time but an hour ahead as it had not been put back, I was explaining this to my brother who kept laughing at me and was asking what drugs I’d been given, the cheek of him, I wished I had enough charge on my phone so I could’ve video’d it to prove it, but it was under 15%.

The ambulance came they had given the job to a private company, The chuckle brothers inc I believe, honestly I am surprised I got home they’re were shocking and fast. It fely like we went round a corner on two wheels at one point. I was on a 45% angle I was strapped to the stretcher but I don’t know how they didn’t snap, when they pulled up outside my house, my legs had totally fell off one side, they managed to get me in the house in one piece and usually they’d pat side me on to the bed, so they got it all ready and he heightened the stretcher I said I think it’s to high now but they insisted it would be fine, then one of them of them said after 3, 1 2 3, to me (if only he replied to you)  and sure enough the stretcher tipped cos it was to bloody high, he then went I don’t know why it tipped. I just glared at him luckily when it tipped but was leaning against my bed, so I didn’t fall. After they left and I was lying there thinking for ages……..what a day!!

Monday 6th November
I woke earlier to get ready and have breakfast before I go to the hospital though my appointment was at 11.40am. I knew the ambulance could arrive at least a couple of hours earlier, so I was all sorted by 9.30am, Patient appointment ambulances are now booked through ERS Medical which was the chuckle brothers ambulance service that had brought me home the other day. I rang them to explain that I had a further appointment the same day and he repeatedly asked why I hadn’t booked earlier. I explained that I couldn’t because they were closed over the weekend, he said that my ambulance going was only booked for me till 1.10pm. I said that’s ok they can leave me and I will wait however long it takes for one back as I don’t mind.

After a couple of hours had passed I rang to ask how long it will be. I’m told the hospital knows I’m late and I won’t lose my appointment so not to worry, another 30 mins pass and it’s now after my 1st appointment. I rang the bariatics they hadn’t been told at all and because my time was the last one of the clinic. I would need another appointment sending out, by now it’s heading on for 1pm, at 1.30pm I ring again and I’m on the phone ages, they told me it wouldn’t be much longer by now it’s 1.50pm and I decided to ring the hospital. I explain the situation and she said we do take in to consideration you maybe late, I asked when the clinic ended as I said it would take about 40mins to get there even if they were here now, she went off to ask and told me that I wouldn’t get there in time and so she said she would have to re-book for the next day, at 2.05pm, I rang to cancel and re-book the ambulance again I was asked again why I hadn’t booked beforehand. I just couldn’t believe it, as those of you who know me, know I’m very laid back in fact horizontal ha ha, but even I was starting to get a tad annoyed.

Tuesday 7th November 2017

A new day and again I was sitting all ready waiting for the ambulance and at 1pm it arrived which was great…..not!! It didn’t have the right stretcher so I couldn’t go, they spoke to control who sent them on other job and I was told they would send another with the correct stretcher, time went on and at 1.40pm I rang ers medical they said they would call dispatch. 10 minutes later he came back to say it was on the way and wouldn’t be long. I then rang the hospital explained about the delay, I also explained it would take about 40 mins to get there, they said if I wasn’t on the way within 20 mins the clinic would be closed again, 20 minutes later I rang back and had to re-arrange my appointment for the next day again this time at 2.25pm. I rang Ers medical and explained again luckily she didn’t say why did you not book earlier, but she did tell me that it wasn’t guaranteed as it was short notice… I was like your not kidding!

Wednesday 8th November 2017 

As you can imagine after getting completely ready for the 3rd morning early. I was not holding out much hope but at 11.30am they arrived in fact they sent two crews, 3 hours early and they had the right stretcher, so as they were coming in my dog escaped. I swear it was an episode of Benny hill, Jasper (my dog) who is a lurcher and is very fast loves playing chase, so he was bouncing along like tigger on speed, followed by 4 ambulance crew, my neighbor in her dressing gown, next doors carers, some kid, a man with his dog and this older lady and every time someone else came past they joined in. I was siting on the stretcher outside my house and I swear the Benny Hill music was playing in my head, the ambulance driver said we will take you round I was like no he’ll follow me. I rang my son who was asleep and he came out to get him he’d had a field day, though I don’t think anyone else did.

We arrived about 12.30pm, I had a while to wait for my appointment and the crew put me onto a trolley with what seemed like pull up cot sides, anyway I went into a waiting room and about 2.10pm the consultant surgeon came in she had looked at my xray and told me I had very severe arthritis. I kinda knew I had it as my knees are always painful but I think having it confirmed and confirmed as very severe I was gutted, she examined my leg and said she thought it was my meniscus you have two in each knee and they are cartilage that sits in the back of the knee to stop the your shin and your thigh bone meeting, she said you are meant to have a gap between and there was barely nothing there. I’m not sure if that’s to do with the arthritis or the meniscus damage as I think my head was still spinning a bit, she said I would need an Mri and then possibly an operation which would be complicated but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, so I then sat in the hospital till the ambulance came and was all home and sorted by 6.30pm, it was an eventful few days to say the least.

I want to say this it is not a knock on the nhs especially not the ambulance crew, paramedics, doctors, nurses, healthcare etc I am so grateful for all they do and have done, but how can whoever was on control send an ambulance with the same stretcher so many times wrongly and why can the powers that be not use the same stretchers as standard, as I was told they didn’t cost any different it would make a big difference to people like me, it’s not about my weight in one sense as the other stretcher does take my weight, but the sides of it are not flat and it would be very painful with the lymphadema, but it ends up making me feel like it’s about my weight and even though I have come this far, it makes me feel like absolute shit.

Anyway this has gone on a bit, I have more things to say but I promise I will do another blog within the next couple of days to update about weightloss and the bariatrics etc.

Take Care
Keep on Whinging
Lainie xxx