Well it had to happen one of those calls.
10.21pm. I’ve fell and hurt my leg can’t move at all.
On my way. Arrive at Dads. His emergency bracelet still in pristine condition on the windowsill. Why didn’t you just press your buzzer Dad?
The question didn’t warrant a reply the look said it all.
His knee was swollen but it was his thigh that was hurting. He was grey, slightly breathless and obviously in pain. Now it’s a bit difficult to say when Dad is in pain as he is a bit of a drama queen. One of the kids nips him and we get dramatics, traps a finger in the doorframe and he deserves a bafta. But real pain that you or I would experience and he will do his best award winning performance to avoid any fuss. But the signs were there. Big fat signs in the fact. He couldn’t stand up, weight bare and he was quiet, even quieter than normal. So executive decision made and we went to A&E. He didn’t object that much either so we knew he was worried too.
Manhandled him into mums wheelchair and started our journey. Every single set of traffic lights we had to stop at eventually arrived at hospital registered Dad and then the waiting began.
It turns out Dad’s knee had given way around 9.00pm and he had managed to pull himself up into his chair and sit there for over an hour before calling me. So almost 3 hours after he fell the triage nurse saw him. She said he looked poorly and I presume he is defined as high risk patient she put him straight on a trolley and into a bay.
Last time I was in A&E it was with mum she was very vocal, very vocal indeed not happy to be there and wanted to go home. She shouted at anyone and everyone who would walk past her and it was a tad embarrassing. So here we were with Dad who doesn’t speak much anyway and coupled with the pain he was in it and the fact that he was in hospital the atmosphere was less than jolly.
Nurse came did observations, said doctor would be there asap.
How to pass the time on when awaiting a doctor in A&E on an evening?
First of all there was a Vic Reeves club singing orderly who was very entertaining for a short while, but it was a fine line between no idea what song you are singing and if he was accidently throttled at least he is in the right place. I was just glad the visit was with Dad and not Mum as she may well have
A) joined in the sing song or
B) been the one doing the throttling.
We played Eye Spy. Now eye spy is the last resort but here we were using it first. Very sad indeed for two middle aged sleep deprived women but needs must. It all started well and ended with my sister saying W. W, I assure you there was nothing – nothing at all that started with W. So randomly I kept saying anything that I thought may be within the vicinity of the ward nope it wasn’t ward, it wasn’t whiskey which had obviously been consumed by the guy in the next cubicle and it wasn’t even wubber gloves. Even Dad raised the corner of his mouth to that answer and the game finished as neither of us could think of anything sensible after that.
The answer was wall. Strangely I had felt like banging my head against it for the last two hours but failed to realise that wall was the holy grail of eye spy.
Requiring some action I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Just like when you are waiting at traffic lights and holding the car on clutch control. Change to neutral and handbrake the lights change.
So I excused myself popped to the loo and the vending machine. I come back armed with choca mocca and a chocolate bar and like that green light the doctor had appeared to see Dad.
Now I say doctor, He was approximately 12and a half years old. I would have curled up and died if he had called me madam.
But he didn’t he was lovely with Dad and asked him lots of questions said he didn’t think it was broken but x-rays of hip, femur and knee would confirm.
He asked Dad are you in pain?
Dad replied with “well no not really”
Dad, your leg hurts doesn’t it? “Yes it does but he knows that”
On a scale of 1-10 what level is your pain? “I’m not sure I’m no good with numbers”
Fits of laughter from the naughty girls in the corner again.
So whilst I ate my vending machine treasure and drank the questionable chocca mocca, sis escorted Dad to x-ray.
On their return we waited, and we waited. There was some comings and goings, the doctor kept passing by our bay, glancing and smiling. We started to play Time O’clock Bingo. A game invented then and there in the holding ward of our local A&E. Nothing to do with Bingo but a catchy title you must agree. Feel free to play along at any times you feel that time is passing by slowly. You know that saying a watch kettle never boils? well a watched clock never moves. Time stood still and I witnessed it. Witnessed at 2.24 for what I am sure was so, so much longer than a mere 60seconds.
Rules for Time O’clock Bingo? Simply look at your mobile phone or watch and get the people in your company to guess the time. I assure you it is fun the sort of fun when you have nothing I repeat nothing left, no conversation, no letters left for eye spy and no chance of sleep … I am certain that that time from 2.02 to 2.38 was actually 4hours . It could even have been a decade or two because I witnessed the 12and a half year old doctor, grow a beard in those 36 minutes and age by at least a decade and a half.
So much so that he came back assured, steeled himself to talk to the crazy laughing old dears and their Dad. He said nothing was broken but Dad has basically no knee ligaments. And he has a very tired knee.
We know that it’s called Grandad knee and most of the family have it. Me my Grandad knees don’t like mornings, brothers are bad all the time, sisters are on an evening and nephews are after playing football. Niece had to have operation at a ridiculously young age to sort out her Grandad knee. We all know about Grandad Knee.
So they decided that because Dad lives on his own now. Yes we said it out loud and all looked forlornly at each other as we realised that mum was in the nursing home oblivious to Dads fall and his current state of agony.
Dad should stay in for observation. Doctor asked Dad if that was ok?
Dad gave him the look. Doctor waited for response….
Sis finally put him out of his misery by saying. “that’s his it will have to be ok face”
Sisters dissolve into fits of laughter that you only get after being sleep deprived; have an overload of sugar and hysteria has set in.
Doctor made a hasty retreat and said they would arrange transfer to a ward.
So we waited and we waited. Time O’clock Bingo made a reappearance and at 3.13am Dad was transferred to the frailty ward.
My big strong, hero of a dad was described as being frail. And he was, he looked it. He looked tiny in the bed, he looked even more distressed that when we brought him into the hospital, and he looked frail. Had we neglected Dad whilst looking after mum and dealing with all her issues? Yes probably. Dad was officially frail.
We left as the birds were chirping their morning song. We saw the sun rise as we drove home and it was light as we went to bed.