Safety first..

25th November 2020. The Lister Hospital, Hertfordshire, England.

Day 2

I had a really good nights sleep. My blood pressure is back to normal, pulse and temperature are fine. The bright patches of cellulitis have all but subsided now and I feel good. I even managed a quick plank. This definitely feels better than the last time!

The nurses looking after me have been really kind, and really couldn’t do enough for me. Although one decided that I needed a COVID test at 7am, and that’s not the best way for anyone to wake up.

Here’s a fun fact for you. The COVID tests are biked up to Addenbrookes in Cambridge and the result comes back in under two hours. Here’s another fun fact for you; two hours in the NHS is not actually two hours.

Three urologists crashed in to see me at 10. The keen, young junior doctor and registrar from yesterday, and a dashing consultant named Ben. He’s much more of a cock man, not really interested in the balls at all.

He decided that he wants to keep me in for another night, as I’ve had a temperature spike in the last 24 hours. I did mention that nobody gave me any paracetamol between 9am and 5pm yesterday, but that, apparently, is my problem.

My observations keep improving, and by lunchtime I’m back to normal.

Speaking of lunch, what the hell is wrong with the food in hospitals? They’ve paid for the best kitchens, they have endless numbers of staff. They buy fresh ingredients, they have enormous buying power. And yet, everything that comes out of a hospital kitchen tastes like shit.

Quick (big) fixes

While I’m on the subject of things the NHS can do better… Patient records. Every time you go to a different provider, be that a GP, clinic or hospital, a new set of records is opened. Each provider keeps its own records, and nobody can access each others information. My GP has a set of records. My Private GP has a set, Sexual health, The Rivers, London Bridge Hospital, QE2, St Georges, St Anthony’s, Princess Alexandra, The Royal Marsden, and now – The Lister.

Why don’t I just have a set? I could keep them in a place called, perhaps NHS Data? Then, everyone who needs to see them could get them from there. If I want them to.

Why is this important? Well, to The Lister I am brand new. They know nothing of me, so in an emergency – My history is unknown. The hospital has to start from scratch. It’s not an issue unique to this hospital, it would happen anywhere.

Nobody here knows which drugs have the best proven effect on me. Doctors don’t know my other clinicians. Nobody knows what has happened before or how it was fixed, so I have to tell the story myself. They don’t know what’s normal for me.

Worst of all, doctors will just make a guess on the best treatment. It’s completely unnecessary.

This isn’t just about doctors though, it affects the pharmacists and phlebotomists, researchers and anyone else that has an interest in my care. Centralise my records, it’s not like we don’t all have a NHS number.

Inspiring, kind of.

I’m tucked away in one of the new buildings, and it’s really quiet here. Through my half frosted window, I can see a 10ft wall and the main hospital block in the distance. It’s pretty bleak, but so peaceful.

I have time to write and put my new ideas to paper. The trouble is; the more time I have to reflect, the more my to-do list grows with new projects. But this is a great time to start!

Jo pops over to bring me food, and a Starbucks. I’m so grateful to have some kind of normality whilst I’m stuck in fortress Stevenage. Edie wrote a Christmas song and sang it to her class today, I’m so proud of her.

Just got the COVID test results through from NHS test and trace. Negative, but I’d already guessed that…

My last shot of antibiotics is at midnight, so I’m staying up writing. Barring some kind of disaster, I’m going home in the morning.

With an enormous bill for using the car park.

View from a room at the AMU.  The Lister Hospital, Stevenage.
View from a room at the AMU. The Lister Hospital, Stevenage.