At the end of May, my Dad suffered a huge heart attack at work, a few days later, wrote about it on here.
It was such an odd experience, Covid 19 meant that no one was able to go and visit him, I said at the time I knew it had happened but it didn’t feel real because I hadn’t seen how ill he was, I’d just been told enough to know how serious it was. I still don’t think it’ll ever feel real.
This week, after 5 long weeks, he finally came home.
It seems like it’s been much longer than five weeks, the majority of that saw my dad sat on a ward at Fairfield hospital waiting for a bed to become free at Wythenshaw. Those (and there are some) who think that the NHS isn’t still feeling the effects of coronavirus, I urge you to do some research into the backlog of procedures and waiting times, the health service is very much still under pressure, don’t add to it.
While my Dad waited for a valve replacement operation, the rest of us couldn’t really do anything apart from drop things off at hospital and ring him to see how was – bored and fed up is how he was.
Once a bed became available, things moved quickly. He was transferred on the Monday, tested for Covid, MRSA, C difficile, saw a dentist (apparently it’s to check for, and eliminate infection) and God knows what else before being pencilled in for surgery on the Thursday.
I’d spoken to him on Wednesday evening, I could hear the fear and apprehension in his voice, we’d spent the week telling him ‘they do this all the time’ and ‘they do these operations on people in their 80s”, but still it was there. We’d all be the same, I’d be terrified. I don’t think we ever get used to seeing or hearing our parents scared or upset.
Thursday meant going back to the same feeling of paralysis I had the day he had the heart attack. There was nothing we could do except sit, wait, talk on the phone. It would be the same without coronavirus, I guess people only sit outside operating theatres on TV, who knows?
We finally got word on Thursday evening, he was still sedated, he was doing well and, crucially, all had gone well. My Mum got a call off him at half one in the morning – my family really needs to start thinking about the timing of ringing people…anyone getting a call in the middle of the night would automatically think it was bad news. Turns out he just wanted to know what the Burnley score was and probably had no concept of time. Fortunately they’d won.
On Tuesday, after a few days on the ward, he was finally given the all clear to come home, complete with face covering. A relief for him and my family, a slight return to normal after a long and weird month.
So, for the first time since March, I finally got to see my Dad! He’s weary, sore, relatively well and in need of a haircut. There’s obviously still a way to go before he’s completely fit and well but this past week, things finally moved forward and that is good enough for me.
There are so many people I’d like to thank; the lads at his work who helped save his life and grabbed the defib, the paramedics who got him back, the health care assistants who sat with him in those early days, the nurses, doctors and surgeons who all got him to this point – I can’t thank you enough, just know we are eternally grateful.
The NHS often comes under fire, it’s the greatest asset this country has. We are so lucky to have health care, free at the point of access, we don’t have to worry about being hit with a huge bill after a heart attack, during cancer treatment or having given birth.
Millions of us have reasons to be grateful to the NHS and the staff who work tirelessly to care for others. It’s been highlighted more over the past few months as a result of the pandemic. It’s taught us to appreciate what we have, the need to protect it and fund it, properly.
I often wonder what makes someone go into the healthcare profession – I could not do it, far too impatient. One of my closest friends, Lindsay, is a nurse, I’ve known her since we were sixteen she’s looked after each and every one of our friendship group at some point or another, even in those days at college (usually on nights out). I’ve worried about her these past few months, asking if she’s got PPE and making sure she’s being careful. I asked her what makes her do it when there’s far easier ways to earn a living? This is what she told me:
“Ever since I could remember, it was always my dream to be a nurse, the reason why I did it was to make a difference to somebody when they feel most vulnerable, to always put them at ease. Always smile as life is too short, always make time for people”.
That’s what it’s all about.
At the beginning of lockdown, we stood on our doorsteps at 8pm every Thursday clapping the NHS and other key workers. This Sunday marks 72nd birthday of the NHS – founded by Aneurin Bevan at Park Hospital in Manchester (now known as Trafford General). The start of service designed to care for you from cradle to grave. It isn’t without problems, nothing is perfect, it’s the best we have and I’m proud of it.
We’re being encouraged mark Sunday’s anniversary and show our appreciation once again for the NHS. I’ll be on the doorstep at 5pm banging a pan, blowing a Kazoo (must find a kazoo) and making as much noise as possible, to say thank you. Thank you to those who saved my Dad’s life and thank you to people like Lindsay who do it because they care.
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