Don’t get me wrong, I’m not begging for sympathy; I’m more than happy to do this if it means my poor old femur is going to knit back together and enable me to walk again. In fact, I’ll stick it out for longer if that’s what it takes. However, I’m not sure that will be possible if the evil bed manager gets his way and decides to move me to a ward.
So far this year I’ve spent about 14 weeks as a guest of the NHS. Most of that time has been spent on wards rather than in a single room. I’m extremely grateful for some excellent medical treatment but there’s one thing I need now more than anything else… privacy.
For starters, and not to put to fine a point on it, when in traction one must take care of one’s personal comfort and hygiene needs. I have absolutely no wish to take these tasks to the level of a spectator sport, especially when other patients are having visits from their loved ones.
And visitors are another bone of contention. The visiting hours here are generous; patients can have their friends and families gassing away at their bedsides throughout the day. As most of my friends and family live a good 8o miles away, the chances of aunty Flo popping in to see me en route to her belly dancing class are pretty slim. Instead I must enjoy other patients’ visitors by proxy. It’s fun ear wigging for the first couple of times but it does become tedious after a while.
Then there’s the television. I’m not a snob (often) but so far this year I’ve had to sit through more episodes of Corrie, EastEnders and Britain’s Got Talent than I care to admit. As far as I’m concerned this comes close to a breach of the Human Rights Act under the heading Freedom from Torture.
Sharing a ward also entails having to answer your fellow patients’ questions about how you ended up being trussed up like a chicken with your leg in the air. Since most patients rarely stay more than a few days, this could entail me being forced to repeat my entire medical history hundreds of times, unless of course I produce a small leaflet or handout to give to all new arrivals on the ward.
Finally, I’m an insomniac. How on earth can I fire up a computer or read a book at 3am when I’m sharing a room with five hairy-nosed old men who are happily sawing logs off in the adjacent beds?
For these reasons (and many more) I’m desperately clinging on to my side room. Every knock on the door causes my heart skip a beat as I imagine the bed manager’s eviction notice being handed down as both my belongings and I are shunted off into a public ward.
Does anyone know how to fake MRSA?