Escape from Northampton NHS

Good evening everyone. Here’s what’s making news tonight:

The chances of a patient dying while in a NHS hospital or soon after vary hugely according to where they are treated, and I was in one of the worst.

I’m going to get a T-shirt made:

I had surgery in one of the worst NHS hospitals for survival – and LIVED!


You had your chance Northampton General Hospital – I LIVED!

It’s still in the design phase.

Meanwhile, let me tell you how I got out of the hospital:

The surgeon arrived about eight in the morning accompanied by a squad of assorted people in blue scrubs. He looked at his handiwork on my neck and pronounced me well enough to go home. That was easy. I swung my leg across to get out of bed when he stopped me: They’ll have process your discharge first he told me.

I should have known there was a test – I had to prove I wouldn’t walk into walls – health and safety you know.

So they called Miss Trunchbull, the obese physical rehabilitation person in charge of fitness, who ordered

a metallic cane for the walking test and adjusted it to just the right height.

Now this reminded me of the horror of my first time in the hospital – when I had the stroke a year and a half ago. I fought to get out of the hospital with this same test. I failed then, and it was only through sheer cantankerousness I managed to get out. Now, faced with the same situation, I was at a crossroads: I could throw a wobbly and scream and scream and scream (much like the pirate tried), or I could acquiesce and play their silly self-important games. I chose the latter. If I failed I could just walk out – slavery has been outlawed you know, and kidnapping, and fat people masquerading as fitness experts running my life. The last part isn’t really a law, but it should be.

So with Miss Trunchbull on one side, and her 25-ish man-boy on the other, I proceeded with the at each elbow, cane in hand. I walked out of Willow Ward, turned right to a massive corridor of the hospital, the M1 or Interstate highway.

Here I was confronted with oncoming traffic; gurneys whisking semi-conscious people, carts filled with cleaning supplies, carts filled with medical equipment, floral-clasping visitors and form-clasping hospital workers. And the same thing was the traffic going my way.

(If this motorway was a metaphor, I hoped my refreshed carotid artery was clearer that this)

I entered the flow of traffic, maintained my speed, avoided the gawkers, but overtook no one. I was directed into a stairwell and sent off to go up one flight on my own using the handrail. I returned to Earth safely.

I passed! Cancel that exclamation point – passing didn’t matter, because I was going anyway.

From eight o’clock until 9:20 when Amoret came around the corner to retrieve me, I was ready.

I got the OK from the surgeon, took the ambulatory test, the nurse changed the dressing on my wound, I threw my notebooks in my bag, got dressed and Miss Trunchbull gave me a custom-cut cane. It now sits in the corner, unused, because I said I could do it.

The next day I was out walking with the dogs, although Amoret wouldn’t let me throw the ball for them.

I listen to her. She’s fit.


One response to “Escape from Northampton NHS

  1. My equivalent of Mrs Trunchbull was my pisspoor occupational therapist who I couldn’t stand. She used to turn up to my OT sessions and say ‘What do you want to do today?’ I only just avoided saying ‘you to f*ck off’. She was awful – a proper jobsworth, I remember her going on and on about her needing funding from the primary care trust to pay for her to survey my flat I didn’t say ‘I’m sure I can scrape a few coppers together’ After she eventually did the visit, she revelled in the power she had as not being able to recccommend I could safely live there. Sherlock

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