Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Heroic Rescue

Ah well, perhaps it wasn't that heroic. Not like climbing the Old Man of Hoy in a blizzard to rescue someone from the top. Not like crawling across the ice of a frozen lake. Not like running into the burning building. Not like saving the fair maiden from the ferocious dragon. Not like - - oh, look, I'm running out of heroic examples. It wasn't that heroic, agreed. But it was a bit of a rescue.

This afternoon, whilst we were visiting the Communist in his gloomy geriatric ward, Polite Ted was, as usual, wandering the ward like a little bent ghost, pausing from time to time to enquire of anyone passing, in a gentlemanly way, what was supposed to be happening. Backwards and forwards he goes, up to the nurses' station, and then he's brought back gently by a nurse.

One time he passed me and exclaimed in surprise, "Oh! Excuse me, ladies!"

I turned to look, just in time to see him fall over backwards. I leapt up, grabbed him and pushed him to the left so he was balanced on the rubbish bin at the end of the ward.

"Help! Can someone come, please?" I shouted loudly and clearly and two male nurses instantly came running up the corridor, took hold of him and led him back to bed.

Incident over. But if I hadn't been there, Polite Ted would have fallen over backwards and landed either heavily on top of Mad George, or on the floor, probably striking his head on Mad George's bed on his way.

How many such incidents are narrowly avoided every day? And how many happen? Of course, if poor Polite Ted was prevented from getting out of bed, he'd be physically safe - but very distressed.

One answer would be to have one care assistant permanently positioned in each four-bedded bay, to chat to those, such as the Communist, who would benefit from having someone to talk to, and to watch out for anyone who needed anything. Ah, but could we afford this? Compared to the money that's splashed around on any corporate event, it would be very little.

But pioneering heart surgery, say, is cutting-edge and sexy and geriatric care just isn't. The Communist fell out of bed himself the other day, trying to reach the radio because there was nobody within earshot to pass it to him. And next time Polite Ted, or the Communist, or any one of the thousands of elderly people in hospital falls over, it might result in serious injury or death. But we don't care, do we? - or perhaps we do care, but we prefer not to think about it until it's first our grandparents, and then our parents, staying in those sad wards.

And, sooner than we think, it'll be us.


Blogger Silverback said...

I'm going to have to stop reading your posts before going to bed !

Real, scary stories reminding me that it could be my future should be read in the morning to give me the rest of the day to put these thoughts out of my head.

If I fall out of bed tonight, I'm blaming you - and not the alcohol.

2:02 am  

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