Now that the pain and nausea are somewhat subsiding, I’m beginning to note all of the interesting ins-and-outs of being “in hospital” in the UK. I’ve been here for 5 days now and will probably be here a few more, so I’ve been able to really soak it all in. Now, up until this point, I’ve never really been admitted to a hospital for an extended period of time, so if I point something out as being unique but it happens whenever you go to the hospital, well, that’s okay. 🙂
First of all, I’m staying at a hospital that is specialized for the surgery I had but that also operates on private patients and NHS patients. From what I’ve heard, NHS-only hospitals here can leave a bit to be desired as they’re stripped down a bit, but I can’t say that’s been the case here. I have a private room with a lovely wooded view, a clean bathroom, a desk, high back chair, and a nightstand, in addition to the medical bed (duh). It has cable television (“90 channels of rubbish” as the lady who welcomed us mentioned) and after a few days we finally asked and got the password for the secured wi-fi. Free newspapers (The Daily Telegraph) are brought around daily, and tea/coffee is offered anywhere from 4-6 times a day.
As far as food goes, they bring me a menu daily where I can select my choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each meal has a starter and a dessert. The food isn’t anything to call home about but it’s fine. The nurses and housekeeping staff here are so obliging though… If I don’t eat what is given to me they offer me whatever else they can find to get me full. “Would you like lemonade? Fizzy water? Ice cream? Tea and biscuits?” For one meal I checked the “fresh fruit” box and expected to get the equivalent of a restaurant side dish, but nope, I was brought a banana, an apple, an orange and a pear. With a container of fruit yogurt thrown in for good measure. Not too shabby.
The language difference between my ‘Merican English and their English English hasn’t been too difficult to overcome, but a few things are different or humorous at least. For example, they come every few hours to bring me my “tablets,” (medicine). The nurses had a good chuckle when they came to change my “plasters” and I told them we called those bandages or Band-Aids. Several times I have heard the oh-so-British “Ta!” which is a casual way to say “thanks.” And one of my nurses would say “Oh bless yahh…” whenever I asked for more medicine or complained of anything. Thanks to the drugs I’ve been on, there hasn’t been a lot of… uh… well, bowel activity, but the Brit nurses check by asking if my bowels have “opened.” I may just be immature, but that seems like a really gross way to ask that question. And their British (or British mix with another background) accents make it sound so proper and therefore funnier. I’ve also been called Love, Lovey, Duck, Dear, and a fine young lady on a few occasions by the nurses and doctors too. Ha! I think just about every nurse and doctor has asked me where I’m from in the states, recognizing my accent wasn’t English, but one nurse did say that she knew Sam was American but couldn’t tell by my accent. I considered that a small victory. 🙂
Overall, this hasn’t been what I’d call fun or enjoyable, but I will say it could have been far worse. Every person looking after me has been calm, compassionate, well trained, and generally pleasant. I don’t feel Iike a nuisance by any means. Though it’s been a painful and woozy last few days, I’ve been in great hands and I’ve been able to see evidence of God’s care around me. He has painted a beautiful autumnal scene right outside my window. Sam was able to take off as much work as needed. Toby was taken care off and was out of sight and mind for the last week (and according to the kennel worker, Toby “couldn’t give two shits” about us leaving him there. He made friends easily. Ha!). Nurse after nurse reassured me that my surgeon was really the best one for this procedure, a fact that I had discovered from my own research before. And not once did I pass out or get sick because of having to get a shot or get blood drawn. These things aren’t coincidences. God is at work, not just on the big days or in the important life events, but at all times. I’m so thankful for that!