On 6th November 2020 I woke up feeling generally very unwell and with a protruding lump in my abdomen. I telephoned my GP surgery and subsequently spoke to a doctor. She arranged for me to attend Southend Hospital that afternoon.
I duly went to the hospital. The consultant there said they would have to operate on what was a strangulated hernia that night. I telephoned Gloria, my wife to tell her as due to Covid she had not been able to come into the hospital.
I remember nothing after that, not even being prepared for surgery. The operation itself was apparently a success as Gloria was informed at 5 o’clock the following morning, but subsequently I had a brain bleed, was in ICU for five days and was in an induced coma for a while. I remember nothing at all of November or of the first couple of weeks of December, and most of the rest of December is pretty hazy. I do remember having roast turkey in hospital on Christmas Day.
I think I was in Southend Hospital for about four weeks before being transferred to Broomfield Chelmsford.
Having been “critical” to start with, I was probably fortunate to survive, and it must have been dreadfully worrying for Gloria when I was so ill.
I was moved from Broomfield to Braintree Community Hospital on 27th December, and discharged from there on 15th January. I have been sent to a care home.
In Broomfield and Braintree I saw physiotherapists as having been laid up for so long I was virtually paralysed as my muscles had forgotten how to work. I can still barely stand and cannot walk, but I have been discharged by the hospital to a facility which has no physio support. After getting me over the main illness the NHS has left me high and dry.
I am trying to either get moved from what is an excellent care home to a more suitable facility, or to arrange for a physiotherapist to come in to visit and supply equipment. The care home is fine for the very elderly residents, but I was told by the physios in the hospital that I have every chance of getting back to normal, the state of health I had before November. Of course those physios assumed I would get ongoing therapy, which the hospitals have neglected to arrange now I am out.
I have only seen Gloria in the flesh once since I as taken ill, and that was presumably on compassionate grounds when my situation was still serious. I do not really remember much about her visit. It has been all very difficult for Gloria. She has been brilliant at supporting me and running the household, to which I so wish to return when I have some mobility. Fortunately we can have video chats several times a day so thank goodness for technology.
PS: I have arranged private physiotherapy to start on Monday 1st February, and also hope to hear from the community NHS physiotherapists. I should not have had to do this all myself, but at least I should make some progress.
Gloria came to see me yesterday and we conversed not at all privately through a perspex screen. Online video gives a better level of communication but it was great to see Gloria even if the meeting was unsatisfactory.