As healthcare professionals, none of us wish to be on the receiving end of a hospital stay, but I had that dubious pleasure in recent years. To be fair, it isn't easy for either party when a colleague is the patient.
My stay had its humorous moments. My favourite was the well-meaning but not entirely appropriate Health Care Assistant (HCA), who told me she was just back from 3 months sick leave herself, all about her own various ailments, about her niece with cancer; she even showed me the Facebook page with her Just Giving site.
She realised I was a doctor just as her needle was poised to take my bloods. Bad timing – she promptly declared herself to be nervous now and skewered my vein. Twice. Vein kebab. She then got the F1 (most junior doctor) who was trembling so much it’s a wonder she hit my arm at all, and after 3 failed attempts she decided to leave it for the SpR (stage before consultant). The SpR succeeded on her second go. Phew.
Next the HCA attempted to do an ECG (tracing of my heart). My usual morning post-shower ritual of anointing my arms and legs with baby oil ‘to seal in moisture’ (just like it says on the ad) had rendered my skin utterly repellent to the sticky pads for the ECG. There ensued a farcical period of the leads peeling off as quickly as she could stick them back on. Comedy gold. Several alcohol wipes later she just about persuaded the leads to stay in contact with skin as long as I didn’t breathe or move and successfully recorded an ECG. It’s worth a mention at this point she had undone my bra and shoved the heavily padded cups up under my chin, like some sort of misshapen choirboy ruff, leaving my woefully inadequate post-breastfeeding boobs exposed beneath. Very glamorous.
Triumphant, with ECG in hand, she said, “Don’t move, I just need to check the doctor is happy with this.” She went to the door of the assessment cubicle with its frosted window and blind that was not quite completely pulled down, paused to look at me in my recumbent exposed state, then exited hastily, allowing the door to autolock. Thirty seconds later, she reappeared at the window, giving it a tentative knock, peeping through the gap under the blind. She had locked herself out. I had to get up and limber across to the door half naked, leads peeling off everywhere and let her in. Turns out she had only gone to get a sheet to put over me to preserve my modesty while I waited....oh, the irony! It was a well-intentioned move - which I did appreciate - just executed Mr Bean style. Modesty, dignity....who needs these things anyway?! 🙄🤦😂