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Barmy Blue's Bland Blog

The Hospital Stay

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So I might have worried you when I mentioned stroke at the end of the previous entry. As I said then. Don't panic.
It's a "mini stroke"/TIA/transient ischemic attack.

So. To the beginning. Well. Actually a bit before that for further clarity. Then to this beginning.

Last year my mum was diagnosed with a heart condition. AF/Atrial fibrillation/one valve in the heart doesn't beat in time with the rest so the rest have to work a bit harder. She didn't know until the GP sent her to A&E for a swollen leg they wanted to be sure wasn't blood clots. Basic tests were done. Freaking craxy heart beat was discovered (she was asked several times 'can't you feel how fast your heart is beating?' no. If she could she would've come in much sooner. I've tried to feel her pulse. I can't. I can feel mine clear as day. Hers is kind of muddled somehow. I can't make out a strong beat it's kind of all muddled with background noise, kind of like trying to hear in running water as opposed to still water). She's on betablockers to regulate the heart beat and blood thinners (thankfully not warfarin that one has issues we're told, one of her colleagues is on it) for life.

Now then. This year.
She has an annoying spot on the side of her head. It hurts a bit. Not really sure what it is. Maybe from wearing face masks. Maybe it's her glasses. Maybe a spot. There is a little lump there but it doesn't look like a regular spot. It's pale like the rest of her skin. Just looks like a little lump to me. My money is on it being a skin tag. She has a few. I had one too under my arm. Just a small one until I nicked it with a razor. No more skin tag. To be fair it was only hanging on by the barest little bit of skin to begin with. I'll probably get more, mum has a few underarm ones. Anyway.
The side of her head kept bugging her now and then (as a pesky spot does when it gets angry. But spots usually go away). It bugger her to the point that she made a GP appointment. It was only a phone appointment (because they're STILL doing that of course) and it was for 3 or so weeks time. It'll probably be gone by then. Spoiler it isn't but that wasn't the problem.
Between making that appointment and having the actual phone call she started to get what she called "dizzy spells" I never got an accurate picture of it myself but I know enough to know that she felt it worthy/odd enough to mention. Not like when you stand up too fast and have to sit down again (which is my only point of reference for something you might call a "dizzy spell") but "spinny" if that makes sense. (Oh. Spinning round fast and stopping is another reference I know but it's been a long time since I've done that so I didn't think to ask how that compared) And it wasn't a one off. I demanded she make notes every time. We didn't worry too much since she was due a call with the GP. Well at least she has a good reason to talk with the GP now if the head thing really is just a spot.
So the call happened last week. She described her symptoms as best she could. I don't think she had one of these spells while standing. I think it was usually sitting and they didn't last long.

I'd stayed up super late (by which I mean 10am ish) so I was there for the call but not after. She said she'd better come in. I went to bed as she took the dog out so I'd be asleep by the time she went to the GP. I guess she'll have a lot to tell me when I get up.
When I do get up (in the evening) she isn't here. Hhmmm. Okay. Probably out then. She left me a note, which I still have so I can quote directly; "Been sent to A+E see you when I see you xx"
Ah. Okay. This happened last time. You have to wait around a lot at A&E and they do a bunch of tests. This happened last time. Given that it's around 6-7pm she'll probably be home in an hour or so tired and possibly grumpy if she feels it was a waste of time. Okay I'll get on with what I do then.
It gets later.
Hmmm. Surely she should be home by now. They must be really busy.
Later still.
The phone rings.
Ah. At last. That's her calling to tell me she's about to leave because she does that. I've been paranoid about something happening before so she usually calls when she's late, even when I haven't noticed it's late.
'Hi they're keeping me in overnight. Apparently I've had a mini stroke but it's nothing to worry about. Also I forgot to bring my phone so I'm borrowing a hospital one' (and also she doesn't have any toiletries/change of clothes because she had no idea she'd be in overnight)
Better not chatter then. Just the essentials, 'Okay. So I guess I'm feeding the dog then. It's 2 joint pills isn't it? and still half the tiny throid ones?'
'Yes. Her small snack and then dinner.'
'Okay. I'll be doing your night/morning walk too.'
'I guess you won't be at work tomorrow too. Shall I call or something?'
'Oh yes. Text {phone contact}'
'Okay. Bye. Love you.'
'Bye. Love you. Bye.'
I text colleague from her phone but I don't know how much credit she has so I try to keep it brief. Well brief for me. I use full words and very polite speech with strangers. It goes along the lines of "hello. {person} won't be in tomorrow. Sorry to bother you"
I didn't want to text the words hospital/stroke for fear of causing panic/stress so i was hoping she'd call for details.
She texted "{person} are you okay?" (my text was entirely opposite so the kind of text mum would send)
and then she called (probably realizing that mum would take too long to text a reply)
She's never heard my voice and even my own relations assume I'm my mother when i answer the phone, mostly because it's her they expect to hear as the adult, since they knew me as a child and probably still see me that way.
So I take a moment to explain who I am (she knows mum has a daughter of course) and I explain to her the situation. She says okay and don't worry. Well to be honest I wasn't worried until she said that. Being told not to worry kind of makes you feel like they feel you should worry. But I have stuff to do. I'm thinning radishes. (Oh I forgot to mention radishes in my last post. They're in the kitchen so also growing slowly. They're supposed to grow super fast) and I have other stuff to be getting on with.
Okay then. Dog I'm in charge of you tonight so you'd better not mess me around. I get full control of the TV too. Okay then. It's a bit weird but I am a grown woman. I can look after myself for a night. So I do.
Next morning.
Wait up for mum. To be honest it's not that far from the times I'm going to bed at the moment. (At this point in time I'm getting over the disappointment of not being vaccinated. Long story short my age group were finally eligible for COVID vaccinations. I tried to book mine. I thought I had it. I went along and found out that I didn't. Later tried to book again. This time I called to check. No. But the guy on the phone helps me figure out the problem. They've changed the system since my parents were vaccinated. Now you have to book both vaccinations at the same time. The first one and the one 8-12 weeks later. Not easy since my nearest place is a pharmacy and their bookings come up on a day to day basis. I think it's because they're fully booked maybe. I've since got it sorted and my first vaccination is next week. I had to pick a different location for my second. At this point I'm done with the whole thing and just want it to be over. Being on the phone having the problem explained to me is why i was up late to be there for mum's GP call. I can't say I'd have gone to be THAT much earlier but it would have been a bit earlier at least)
So I settle in an arm chair for a sort of half nap while I wait because if mum doesn't come home or call by a certain point then I'll have to take the dog out for her morning walk.
I nap a little.
The phone rings.
Mum tells me they're going to keep her in over night again for observation. Okay. I'll take the dog out and let work know.
It's worth noting that she drove there and you have to pay for parking. It's actually pretty disgusting. Not for the regular people, although it is pretty extortionate. The hospital staff, NHS workers HAVE to PAY for parking. And given that hospital staff in particular are definitely over worked (you can't just clock off at your appointed time when an emergency comes in five minutes before your shift ends) and definitely underpaid especially for the level of work that they have to do (I read this is going to hurt and Twas the Nightshift before Christmas. It's horrifying and that was when things were somehow better in medicine. It's truly concerning). It's deeply concerning that the hospital staff have to pay for parking. And it's not a pittance that's for sure. I can't say whether it's very much but I think it's more than they should have to pay (even though I can't remember the amount I was told it is). Because the carpark is managed by company, of course. Those carparking bastards always screw you every time and every which way they can.

But I digress.
Thinking she'd be there a few hours of course she drove. Now she's in for 2 nights. So we were worried about the car. Surely you can't charge patients. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. These parking demons care nothing for your problems.
So we did worry about a parking fine/getting the car out. I can't drive and we don't have and friends and/or family close by. The only option is my dad. In case we do need his help and/or he gets a call from the hospital (he might still be listed ad next of kin even though it's supposed to have been changed to me. Admin is secondary to saving lives after all so things can fall through. It was supposed to be changed when she was dealing with the AF last year. Turns out he was still listed). So I let him know by text in case of problems. I text her colleague and walk the dog and go to bed.
My dad was at work so didn't get back to me until the evening when he checked his phone and had the time to process.
Her colleague the previous day had asked which hospital. I didn't know but guessed the main one. She had texted back okay to the second day off work and again asked which hospital. I replied the same as before but when mum called I checked which one. I was right. There was talk of trying to get parking fees waived in the circumstances. We still don't know if they were. I'm still waiting for a parking fine.
I had to go and get a refill of the dog's thyroid pills because mum hadn't checked them soon enough and left it late to get them. She'd planned to get them on Monday. Monday was the day of the GP call and her subsequent visit to hospital.
My Tuesday rolled into Wednesday and THAT is when I went to get the pills. It was hot, sunny and since I don't drive and didn't want to risk the bus at the moment (they can be worse than being outside on a hot day with the body heat of people, traffic and tiny windows that barely do anything when the bus is moving, let alone stuck in traffic and not moving) I walked. It is within a passable walking distance, even for me. But it was still more than I usually do. I had to wait for them to open. I'd planned to leave an hour before but that got screwed up and I had to get there before they closed and wouldn't be open again until evening. I got the pills no problem. Got home. Walked the dog and went to be around midday. I'd texted my dad information on mum's condition he had asked for and told him where I'd been and that I was going to bed now (so that he wouldn't worry when I didn't answer). He didn't call until Wednesday evening.
When he called on Tuesday to find out what was going on he'd looked stuff up and figured out what ward she was on (no idea how) got the number and told me to ring it. NOW. Before 10pm, which was fast approaching because he does not get off the phone quickly, even when he says he will. I did call but it just kept ringing with no answer and I didn't feel right bothering the staff. I looked it up in my own time and didn't trust the information he'd found so I found the general number for the hospital and resolved to call it when I got up.
So when I got up on Wednesday I called the hospital. Had to wait ages. Said I was inquiring about a patient. I gave the details (I got her birthday off by one day and corrected myself). Turns out my dad was right about the ward. I was put through. More waiting. they asked me to call back in 15 minutes because they were doing a shift change. I gave it half an hour. Called back. I got through. Got information, some of which I already knew but still nice to know. They told me she was waiting to be transferred to another ward. That worried me a little. They put me through to her nurse. that also worried me a bit. i didn't want to take up their valuable time. What if they were needed?
After that I let my dad know. I think he called me.
He'd tried to call but gave up. I told him you have to wait ages but someone does answer.
He had called and would have been put through to her nurse but she was on break at the time. I'm maybe a bit muddled on times. No wait he called later that was it, after 10 I think. And they put him through to mum at some point. She'd been due a liver ultrasound but had eaten shortly before they announced it so she'd have to wait until morning.
Anyway. I'm getting myself a bit confused on details.
He said that she'd said she thought she'd be out on Thursday. He very much doubted it. I was skeptical after how the week started. He also doubted she'd be able to drive.

Oh. I forgot something. It's pretty late now you see.
They don't think she just suddenly had this "mini stroke" (which if you look it up can be just as dangerous as a "full stroke") because I wondered how it could be when she's on blood thinners. It could be possible that it's an old mini stroke from before she was on blood thinners. We may never know. But after all the tests she seems to be well, well well enough to be discharged.
I took the dog out. I was staying uo to combine mum's night/morning walk with her morning/day walk. I word it like that because it varies depending on whether she's at work or not. That way I could actually get some sleep.
I had become incredibly paranoid about forgetting my keys and being locked out. None of our neighbors have our keys as far as I know so the only one with keys is my dad. i don't go out with my phone (don't want it being lost/stolen and I don't normally need it especially for dog walking). I figured out a clever way of alleviating my fear. All I needed to do was have his phone number. I didn't want to write it on paper in case it got lost and then some random person finds it and now has my dad's phone number. I struggle to remember numbers. I can only remember half of my NHS number and I've had to type it so many times in recent weeks. Similarly I can only remember half of my dad's number. If I can't contact him then I'm locked out for who knows how long. So to calm myself I happened upon a genius plan. I wrote his number on my arm and put a plaster over it to protect it. Maybe a bit extreme but it reassured me that if I needed to borrow someone's phone to call him I'd at least have the number. In the end I didn't need it.

When she came home needs to be a separate entry because of the character limit. Guess I rambled too much.