Posted by: ayrshirehealth | November 13, 2013

What’s it got to do with me? by @bmc875

I need to know why!

I am told that my first ever words were “How does that work?”

More likely it was either goo-goo or gaa-gaa, but it does sum me up nicely.

I need to know ‘why’.

For those who remember the last article I wrote for this blog, I am a retired Contracts Manager for large, mostly American, companies. In that blog, I discussed anxiety from several perspectives. As a volunteer Driver, as a Service User on a trip to Hospital, and my perception of Health professionals in the course of their duty. I concluded that Anxiety was a part of life and suggested some ideas on how to deal with it.

 As I age disgracefully (I am 68 going on 30), I find myself admitted to Hospital now and again. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Type 2 Diabetes.  AmbulanceAlso, last year I had a TURP (Transurethral Resection of the Prostate) in Ayr Hospital (great experience, huge relief and a full article on its own right) but most recently via a quick ‘birl’ in the Ambulance from West Kilbride to Kilmarnock Crosshouse Hospital. I had been in bed at home for 5 days, not eating and having some ‘funny turns’. My GP was taking no chances. Initially it was thought that I had suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA mini-stroke) but this was soon ruled out. It turned out that, due to my Diabetes, my autonomic system was having a funny turn and needed a few days R&R to recover.

 Whilst in Hospital, I spoke with everyone who tended to me: A&E Consultants, Doctors and Nurses; Ward Doctors and Nurses, ‘Rounds’ Doctor and Nurses – and anyone else who could add information as to why I was there. I even questioned, and survived, the ‘Newly Qualified Doctor on the Ward’ day!

That’s whit the doctors are for son!

I chatted with the five male patients sharing the Ward with me. It was a bit of a revelation. I learned some fine detail about football (and Religion); Data going back decades (We were all of an age). footballerWho played where and when, different ball construction ‘They auld baws wir made o leather and, when they goat wet, wir awfie heavy!’ Another was telling about his new car. ‘It’s got Sat Nav and its voice activated. Just tell it where you want to go to and the map comes up with full directions.”  And, ‘I’ve got a new Tablet Computer. It runs on Google Android version xyz’. And so it went on; each person was indeed ‘an expert’ in their own field until it came to the reason for their being in Hospital. Each had an idea but absolutely no one really seemed to care. ‘That’s whit the Doctors are for Son!’

Bed 1 had a pulmonary problem and quickly figured that his release home depended on his O2 Saturation figures. “Hud tae be 95!” he said. A fellow patient suggested he took some ‘extra big breaths’, discretely, as the Nurse came to take his (regular) readings. He was gasping for a fag!

jammie dodgerSeveral had Diabetes related problems – like me. One Guy, a big guy – I’ll call him Joe – (Not his real name), ate Jammy Dodgers all day. Literally. These were washed down with a large glass of a well-known Five-Star Glucose drink. When his Blood Glucose reading was taken later, he simply adjusted his Insulin injection to compensate. I will come back to him later.

Another had a similar approach, sweet and fatty snacks brought in by his, truly, caring family. Sugar laden drinks, compensated later with Insulin and so on. I must stress that he, and his visiting Family, showed genuine concern for his health but seemed oblivious to any contributing factors.

He trusted NHS Scotland to cure him!

But back to Joe. He was a lovely man – a good man who would, no doubt, give you his last penny if you needed it. Both his legs were discoloured from the knees down.

foot xray

An observant Nurse noticed his feet were in some distress and ‘suggested’ a visit from the Podiatrist. I will not go into any detail on the subsequent consultation (Nothing in a hospital is secret!) but it became more and more obvious that Joe felt he had no part to play in his treatment. Several toes on each foot were black. He had been aware of this for some time.

“I am making you an urgent referral to a Vascular Surgeon” said the Podiatrist. “Does he specialise in toes then?” said Joe. He had little knowledge of his disease and even less about its treatment and subsequent recovery. Even the huge clue ‘Surgeon’ seemed to have no effect. He trusted NHS Scotland to cure him!

Why? Why does someone with a serious, life threatening illness, decide that they have no part to play in their own treatment. Why do some people see deterioration in their health but decide to do nothing about it? Why do some people see it as a ‘bit of a game?’

Is it the inability to assimilate information, consider it carefully and make conclusions? The football and car stories seem to suggest otherwise.

Is it that they are ‘of an age’ where Doctors and Nurses were never spoken to by Patients? ‘Ye canny ask them that – they’re too busy!’ ‘Ye need to pay due respect.’  Possibly, but I always ask.

Is it that patients do not really care? I seriously doubt that.

Is it that they are really scared? I suspect that to be highly probable.

Come and get me NHS Scotland – I want to contribute

I honestly do not know though. Can anyone tell me? Have studies been carried out on Patient involvement in treatment and the subsequent benefits? (Come and get me NHS Scotland – I want to contribute!)NHS Scotland logo

And the Nursing Staff. How many times have they been ignored? How do they feel? How does it affect their performance?

What I do know is that the vast majority of Health professionals are caring, learned and very busy. Sometimes this may come across as ‘I don’t have time to chat’ but that never stopped me!

Finally, there was a ‘Nice wee wummin’ Nurse involved in my treatment who was nearing retirement age. She had been there, done that and wore the T-shirt with great pride. As she was tending to me (I do not tolerate cannulae well), I asked her about my illness, the treatment plan and my part in it. She suggested that it was too early to be sure but the “Doctors were looking after me well.” I persisted. “But why do I feel like this then?” She paused for several seconds before looking me straight in the eye and, in all seriousness, told me,

“Its yer no-weil-ness that’s dain it”.

 We looked at each other and, after a short pause, howled with laughter. She was right! My condition had been diagnosed, the treatment plan was truly implemented and was working well.

We helped each other over the next few days. Her down-to-earth honesty worked for me. I got better.

screen-capture-20Footnote. I was in University Hospital Crosshouse for five days. I experienced genuine care and concern. I was treated in the most Professional, and courteous, manner by all.

I continue to Volunteer in the Community that made me who I am today.

This week’s blogger @bmc875 is an Ayrshire Volunteer, among many other things


  1. […] What’s it got to do with me? by Brian McCulloch on the Ayrshirehealth blog. […]

  2. […] McCulloch’s post this week for Ayrshire Health was a very interesting read. In What’s it got to do with me? he revealed how patients can be reluctant to understand that they need to do something to improve […]

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