The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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My Saturday as a patient in the Acute Medical Unit at Southend Hospital

with 9 comments

Well Saturday didn’t go quite as planned. I was woken up at around 4:45 by my body coughing and eventually I was able to hack out a blood-ball from my throat. Not pretty in prose let alone in reality. I have been battling what I thought was a throat infection for weeks, I first suffered it over Christmas but it cleared up but around three weeks ago it seemingly came back. This time I lost my voice and my throat was much more raw. Being a typical bloke though I ignored it all but the presence of coughing up blood for several weeks finally made me drag myself to the drop-in clinic at St. Luke’s on Saturday morning.

I’m not one for going to the doctors. Since leaving home I’ve been twice. Once was because I had blurred vision in one of my eyes and then on Saturday. I always think I’m just wasting people’s time. So anyway I get into see the doctor and after saying ‘I’ve been coughing up blood for weeks’ she was pretty much straight on to the phone to the hospital. She wanted me to have chest x-rays. Naively I thought I’d pop along, have a chest x-ray and be home in time for Liverpool v Arsenal. I got into hospital and found myself admitted on to the Acute Medical Unit. Guessing the doctor at the clinic was really quite concerned.

I sat around bored (my iPod battery had died earlier in the day and I decided not to wait to charge it back up – y’know the whole in/out thing I had planned meant I didn’t worry about it). The staff nurse did all the vitals, temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, all of which I aced. Go me. However the blood sugar test sent my body into shock. It always does when I have needles stuck into me. So about two minutes later there was literally a pool of sweat on the floor under the chair. Lovely.

An hour or so later I saw a doctor. He had a good look around my throat but he was happy with all my answers to his questions. He decided a blood test and chest x-ray just to be on the safe side but he thought it was probably complications from Tonsillitis or Laryngitis but he didn’t want to take any chances. So he went and took my blood. Cue more epic sweating and I went off for an x-ray. I felt perfectly healthy the whole time and looking around I really felt as though I was wasting people’s time. The doctor came past to see another patient and gave me the thumbs up and said I’d probably be going home but he had to refer something past a senior doctor. Guessing there was a small issue with either my lungs or my blood.

Doctor and senior doctor came down around 5 o’clock and said I was an extremely healthy young man. The key thing was my lungs looked in perfect shape and the issue was with my blood. However it wasn’t an issue that concerned them too much, not enough to keep me in anyway. Basically they think my body is still battling whatever infection it started fighting three weeks ago but the body is still fighting it. They recommended I talk as little as possible until I stop coughing up any phlegm or blood. Apart from that they were happy to see me be on my way. They said they could prescribe antibiotics but the blood work looked like my body was still fighting so didn’t want to add antibiotics to the mixture.

They did say though that I was right to see a doctor and that she was right to refer me straight to hospital, which made me feel a little bit better. I did have some of the main symptoms of either a blood clot or lung cancer, both quite clearly very nasty diseases. As is stands though I probably just have a secondary infection or something either in my throat or in the vocal chords. I should get better in time but if it doesn’t clear up totally within a few weeks I need more thorough tests.

So all in all extremely good news. I have been battling this for a while and apart from a few days and certainly morning’s when my throat was extremely painful, I’ve been in no pain whatsoever. It has just lingered and if it wasn’t for the constant throwing up of blood I wouldn’t have troubled anyone.

One other thing I want to write about though is the staff. I have been involved in Hospital Radio for several years, so I see a window into what the staff have to deal with but on Saturday I was a patient and saw first hand for several hours everything thrown at them. I was treated thoroughly and both the doctor and the senior doctor were truly first rate. The nurse who admitted me and did all my initial tests was great as well and I didn’t really have any dealings with any other staff. However I did watch the HCA’s closely as they get a lot of stick in the press for not being nurse’s and this one young HCA didn’t sit down between the time I was admitted at around 11:45 to the time she went for her lunch at around 2ish. She genuinely did not sit down once, not even for a few seconds.

I was extremely impressed by her considering the job she was doing was certainly not glamorous in any way shape or form. It included helping people to pee and poo as well as then clean them up. I didn’t see her roll her eyes once. I thought that was a miracle in itself. I know if I had to face some of the issues she faced in those five or so hours that I watched then I’d not be able to take it at all. So for all those rubbishing HCA’s for not being nurses then I think they should go and watch an HCA for a shift and I firmly believe their opinions will change mightily quickly.

As for me, I’ll live. I’ll heed the advice to basically only do essential talking until I have been cough and phlegm free for a good week or so. This of course means going on hiatus from radio presenting but I think it is the right thing to do. I have noticed that over the past three weeks my throat was at its worse following commentating on Southend v Hull and the two Wednesday night radio shows, so clearly whatever I have is effected by overuse of my vocal chords. So basically I am shut down from any significant social interaction for a while, luckily I’m used to that!

I’m sure within two or three weeks I’ll be able to talk for an hour or so without feeling razor blades in my throat and turning my sink a nasty scarlet red colour. Graphic to the end. Thank you to all those who have sent along their best wishes. I’m fine and it seemingly isn’t any of the real nasty things it could easily have been. I did think the treatment and performance of the staff at Southend Hospital was truly exemplary, not only towards me but what I saw and heard with my own eyes and ears.

I didn’t even tell you about the girl who had dislocated her knee whilst taking her rollerblades off, yes not whilst rollerblading, but whilst taking them off. She said everyone laughed when she told them, even the doctor. Internally I was laughing but did well to keep a cool exterior. That was an amusing wait for the x-ray.

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Written by neilmonnery

February 10th, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Personal

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9 Responses to 'My Saturday as a patient in the Acute Medical Unit at Southend Hospital'

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  1. […] Lib Dem Neil Monnery had to visit the Acute Medical Unit at Southend Hospital on […]

  2. Glad you’re ok. Cannot believe you posted this at 8am!

    Please keep quiet unless you have to talk.

    Cheers,

    Bob Howes

    Robert Howes

    10 Feb 14 at 9:19 am

  3. ‘An extremely healthy young man’ ? Despite the unhealthy diet you have admitted to?!

    A

    10 Feb 14 at 12:05 pm

  4. Bob: I wrote it late on Sunday night but set it to upload this morning.

    Andrew: I passed all their physical tests with flying colours, the doctors thought I was in fine shape (bar the weird virus I have obviously…)

    neilmonnery

    10 Feb 14 at 12:07 pm

  5. Glad to hear you’re ok Neil. I’m exactly like you – hate going to the doctor, and largely because I always assume I’m wasting their time.

    Mike Robb

    10 Feb 14 at 1:46 pm

  6. I’m no lover of doctor’s check-ups either, so I can relate.

    Glad you’re ok and ace-ing it!

    Take care,

    Pete

    Pete S

    11 Feb 14 at 6:39 am

  7. Mole & Pete: Exactly. I genuinely felt like I was wasting everyone’s time. I prefer to suffer in silence. So when I was admitted into hospital and looked around the ward t people who were clearly seriously unwell, I felt very out of place.

    neilmonnery

    11 Feb 14 at 4:26 pm

  8. Good article Neil. I couldn’t agree with you more re HCAs. When I was in the Royal Free for over 2 weeks it was the HCAs who did the majority of the routine nursing. The operative word is ‘CARE’ and they really did. The interesting thing was that all of the HCAs were not English. They came from Eastern European countries, Somalia, Iran, Pakistan as did the ancilliary staff but they were great. A lesson for all who would curb immigration!! If all the non UK nationals were to leave this country the NHS would collapse.

    Sue Manning

    11 Feb 14 at 5:01 pm

  9. […] My Saturday as a patient in the acute medical unit of Southend hospital¬†by Neil Monnery on The Rambles of Neil Monnery. A tough day for […]

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