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Interview 10

Age at interview: 76
Brief Outline: Was diagnosed with pancreatitis in 2004. Spent over a week in intensive care and 1 week in a general ward.
Background: Occupation: retired civil servant. Marital status: divorced. Number of children: 1. Ethnic background: White British.

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She was disappointed when she didn't receive some of the things she'd asked for or was expecting.

She was disappointed when she didn't receive some of the things she'd asked for or was expecting.

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But once I went back in that ward, I felt myself going downhill - the depression started. Because I wasn't getting that, well they can't get individual with everybody. There was a lot of people in there. But I think there's a lot of things that they can keep a watch on, if someone's distressed, you know. And then you didn't get your night drink, which upset me. In the first ward you were getting a night drink. They'd bring the trolley round. You could have tea or coffee or Ovaltine, or chocolate or Horlicks, and I have Horlicks every night. The second ward I'm lying there waiting for my night drink. No night drink. Cut backs. I mean it's silly. A warm drink, last thing at night is, you know it sort of relaxes you, makes you feel that bit better. I felt that I'd been deprived of everything.  

And how often did the doctors come round in intensive care?

Oh, every day, the doctors came round. They were very good. Yeah, I've got no compunctions - you know, at all about - I'd give them all good credit. It was the nursing, I think that - I mean one sister, she came to do something, and I hadn't had a cup of tea. I think the trolley had been and gone or something, while they were seeing to me - and I said to the sister, "Oh I could really drink a nice cup of tea". She said, "I don't do tea". And that put me in my place. 

Where was this, in the general ward?

Yeah. You didn't get a lot of - I mean how long did it take to make a cup of tea? And they said, "Try a bit of toast", and the toast never came. They went away and did something else. You know, they're not - their minds are elsewhere,

 

Some of the nurses couldn't understand what she was saying because English was their second...

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Some of the nurses couldn't understand what she was saying because English was their second...

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Some of the nurses were okay, but the foreign nurses - one Portuguese nurse - she couldn't understand me and I couldn't understand her, which I find is distressing because English isn't their language, and you're trying to tell them that you've got this problem, and apologising, and then they go away and leave you. Or they bring the commode with no pan in the bottom. That happened two or three times in the night. 

How can you sit on the commode with the diarrhoea and no pan in the bottom? My daughter-in-law brought my own toilet rolls. They went missing, and then they didn't bring any toilet rolls. It was a bit of a distressing experience. I don't think I want to go through it again. Intensive care was wonderful - but not back in the ward. Didn't like it. Very upsetting. I was glad to get home, although really I could have done with a few more days, though once I came home, I still had the diarrhoea - severely - my daughter-in-law, she stayed with me.

But these foreign nurses, to my mind they're not proper, they're not nurses. They do a job. Let's be fair. They're doing their best, but they can't understand you. They don't know what you are speaking about. It's a shame. It is a shame. So I hope I don't have to go back anymore [laughs]. Please God, I don't go back anymore.  

 

She was glad to get back home because she found the noise from other patients, their visitors and...

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She was glad to get back home because she found the noise from other patients, their visitors and...

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But you see it's, I say this over and over again. It's people, dear. You're mixed with all sorts of people, and some people just don't care about anybody else. They're very selfish. You know they clatter about. They talk loud on the phone. They, at night, they've got their TVs on late at night. I didn't have that. I couldn't be bothered with TVs. I was too ill. But you could hear them laughing at something, and then their visitors stayed until late at night, and I don't agree with that. The visitors, five and six people round the bed, and there are supposed to be two. And they're all round the bed until late at night. And little children. It's out of order. No-one - there's no discipline. Nobody puts their foot down and says, you must go home. They don't. You go next to - all day and all night they were coming in, bringing their families in. All round the bed, kids were sitting on the bed. That's where the germs come from. 

And the night staff - they start laughing and talking, noisy, at 11 o'clock at night, which I think is not on.

And the light's still on in the ward at 11 o'clock at night - well that's - silly things like that but it makes all the difference. Nurses come on, and they're all laughing, talking. People want to go to sleep. I was so glad to get into my bed and have a proper sleep. You don't get sleep in the ward - it's a well known fact. Someone's always poorly. I was poorly. My light was going on at one and two in the morning. I was apologising to everybody all the time. I'm sorry, I was upset. I didn't want to upset anyone. I never had a phone, or a TV. Girls were on the phone at 12 o'clock at night, on their phone. You can hear every word they say. Things like that can disturb you. So I was glad to get home, I really was.

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