Diary of a sick black woman 5 of 6

Funny, you never really realise you have a favourite until someone else steps in. Or in my case you don’t realise you have a favourite healthcare assistant and till the one you’ve always had switches shift. I’m going to call my favourite HCA Marie. Obviously her name isn’t Marie but when I asked her what she wanted her blog alias to be that was what she chose. Now I couldn’t really tell you if she goes the extra mile or whether she’s the only one that does the job properly but she sure makes it harder for anyone else to measure up.

I can remember our first day shift without her. By 9am I was saying to myself ‘Hmm Marie would have asked if I wanted a shower already.‘, ‘She would have bought me a towel already‘. Is it favouritism or just high standards? I can’t decide

I’ve had a couple of milestones. I had the real physio come and see me. I had managed about 7 steps previously with the use of a walker. They gave me a days rest in between but then I had my regular physiotherapist, as she calls herself, come and see me. We’ll call her Mrs Brown. The first time I was seen by the occupational health person my mum had come to see me. Mum had just popped in to drop off some fruits and bits and pieces and was just about to leave again.

I wanted to impress my mum how good I was in the chair. So I offered to walk her down stairs, I use the word walk loosely. So I shifted myself and got into the chair. As I did that the OH rocks up. It was so funny because as much as she was trying to get my history from me my mum was in the background whispering but not whispering “Tell her there’s no one to help you.“, “Don’t forget I’m going on holiday on Monday.”, “You know your daughter is going back to university and a couple of weeks. Tell her you can’t get into the bath.” I had of course intended to tell her all of these things and during most of the conversation was telling her those things at the time my mother was reminding me. Side note, my mother cannot whisper. Anyway, as I said I managed 7 steps that day.

On the day I saw Mrs Brown it’s been quite a different matter. I’ve had my breakfast and got myself up and got myself showered. Usually after all that effort of getting in and out of the chair and so much moving I have to lie down for about an hour. Just to recuperate. But I knew my daughter was coming to see me. As I have failed to show my skills with my mother I was determined to show my daughter how independent I could be. So she called me and told me she was going to be there in 15 minutes and I put myself together and went downstairs to meet her.

Just as I was about to go downstairs the nurse came to take my blood pressure. It was unusually high because I hadn’t rested after being in the shower and I didn’t want to take my pain medication as it made me very groggy. I didn’t want to be groggy during my daughter’s visit. So I went downstairs and met her in Costa Coffee. It was all lovely, we came upstairs and she didn’t even offer to push me. Just as I arrived back by the bed. I was trying to psych myself up to transferring onto the bed through the pain that I was feeling. Mrs Brown came up and introduced herself. She said she wanted to see how far I could get with a walker, one of those ones with the two wheels on the front.

Yes, people I was going to have my very own zimmer frame. Mrs. Brown pointed down to the shower by the nurses desk and said “Let’s see if we can get down there.” I started laughing as obviously nothing had been handed over. I made it 7 steps the day before yesterday I told her. “Oh,” she said “well let’s just see how far we can get.” It felt like half an hour but may have been just a few minutes but I managed 11 steps that day. It’s not that far but I’m proud of it however it’s definitely not enough to send me home.

So I’m back to amusing myself with the comings and goings in my little 6 bed bay. So far they have been lots of comings and goings. It seems to be a general surgery ward. I think my greatest occupant was a 97 year old woman who was determined to go home. She was a little confused about time and she was told she be going home tomorrow. Well, 6:30 in the morning I was woken by her seemingly trying to beat the life out of one of the night staff, telling him to get out of her way you stupid man. Pass me my shoes. The poor love was determined to go home, wanted to find her son and was ready to leave.

The night staff member managed to calm her down and reassure her that was way too early for her to leave. The rest of the morning she kept trying to escape. God bless her, she had all her wits about her she just wanted to leave. When her son did come to collect her that afternoon I’ve never seen a smile so big. He said “Do you want to finish your sandwich mum?” She said “No, no, no. Let’s just go”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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