One of my favourite nurses was Angie and I’ll never forget her. It was an evening before the change of catheter where the clots were causing me grievous pain and she was sitting with me. I suddenly gripped her shoulder and she said ‘That’s right – hold on’. And then her shift ended and she went home. Twenty minutes later she rang the ward to see how I was. They were able to say that the clots had passed through and I was settled. I commented on that to a senior nurse later when I went round to the ward with a painted glass for Angie: ‘She should have been sitting with her feet up with a bottle of wine not ringing up about me!’ ‘Knowing Angie’, said the senior nurse, ‘she’d have been doing that anyway’. If ever one of my painted glasses was earned, hers was.
I was on this ward – 43 – Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Friday night I was reading myself to sleep when a nurse came up to me and said ‘I’ve got to move you to another ward’. I looked at the clock. ‘Good God’ I said, ‘it’s ten o’clock.’ ‘It wasn’t my decision’, she said. ‘Well’, I said ‘I’d like to have a chat with whoever gave this order’. ‘That’s not possible’, she said. It seemed to me a damn silly time to move an ailing patient with all their trammelling. The nurse explained that Ward 43 was usually closed for the weekend but that it was unusual for it to be done at 10.00 on a Friday. I left a critical report later.
The nurse kindly carried my bag and I shuffled along clutching my catheter and bag in one hand and the irrigation system in the other. When she showed me to my bed in Ward 42, I apologised to the bloke in the next bed: ‘Sorry I’m a bit late’. He kinda shrugged: ‘Everything’s late on this ward’. I didn’t like that. When, a couple of days later, a new patient arrived in the bed opposite me still doped from his op, I waited till he surfaced and then called across ‘You’re in a good ward where the nurses and doctors really know what they’re doing’. He immediately smiled and managed a thumbs up.