2020 - a year I won't forget!
For me, 2020 has been a year it will be hard to forget! My birthday this year will also stick in my memory. On 17 September I was having an early birthday dinner in a local restaurant with Derek. Mum was in the care of my brother Alistair, who was spending all of September with us whilst visiting from Vancouver. Alistair and mum had gone out for a drive as it was a lovely evening. Derek and I had just started on our desserts as the phone rang. It was Alistair. He was in Tesco, Dunfermline with mum who was just about to be loaded into an ambulance! Somehow, mum had banged into him with her walking aid and then fallen. I asked him if they thought she had sustained any injuries. He then told me they thought she had broken her hip. We agreed that Alistair would follow the ambulance to the main hospital in Kirkcaldy, as only one family member could accompany mum due to the Covid 19 rules. Needless to say the desserts were left uneaten, and we raced home praying the paramedics were mistaken.
At the hospital
I was the only family member allowed to visit for a pre arranged hour each day and only because mum has Alzheimers. Alistair could visit mum too as a special dispensation as he was due to fly home within a few days. The whole team, from the doctors, nursing staff, physios and occupational therapists were all extremely well informed about delirium and how it can affect people. They were kind, patient, warm and caring and there was always someone sitting with mum in case she tried to get up and had a fall. Her rehabilitation started the day after her surgery. I even got a call from an occupational therapist at home on a weekend to ask how mum had been coping at home and what extra help she might need. The nursing staff were so supportive to me as I often got quite upset and emotional. It is a very different experience being on the other side, but they always had time for me and involved me in mum's care.
Anyway, Pat Barrett (aka mum) is an incredibly resilient woman and has made amazing progress. She was discharged after 3 weeks and is now home and continues to improve every day. The delirium is still lingering but as we have had previous experience of this, we know it will gradually diminish. How different things are from my early days in the NHS. Delirium is a well recognised complication of treatment and the whole care team understood it for the serious condition it is.
"I couldn't have asked for better care and treatment for mum and me. Our NHS is something we should value and celebrate. We certainly told the staff we thought they were wonderful!"