aneerood555's (dougie555 on UKA) UKArchive
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|My Nursing Experiences (posted on: 20-04-15) |
Been in nursing both in general and people with learning difficulties for forty five years. What an experience, and would like to share it, but would like you to know the background first that led me into the profession, so bear with me.
What a life back home in Mauritius, born in extreme poverty, we lived in a mud house, I really mean this because the house was just built with wooden poles and the roof and surrounding was covered with thatch. Not the expensive one as see some here but the thatch was sugar cane leaves dried in the sun just for that purpose.The floor and the inside was just mud and to create this my mother used to mix the soil with cow dung with her bare hands adding water to create a cement like consistency and plaster the mixture to the areas around and believe me the stench was awful but because it is so hot there sometimes in the thirties the mixture would dry within minutes and the stench of course would dissipate that is how we lived and our mattresses were stuffed with dried grass not with luxurious things we have here. I remember how we ate simple foods like just plain rice with Mauritian vegetables or pulses like lentils and chutneys, mango was my favourite as my mum used to make it very hot.Meat and chicken was out of range as we could not afford it, the most popular luxury was fish as we have plenty there and at that time was dead cheap, to entertain the guest the luxury food was a tin of pilchards curry what a dish it was so tasty with rice and the unavoidable chuppatis.I remember how one evening as I was sitting and doing my homework in the next room I heard my dad asking my mum what is for dinner and my mum replied 'Nothing but we do have a bowl of rice and a bowl of lentils'. and my dad said 'make a kitchri' which is a mixture of both ingredients with onions and spices, that was our meagre diet. [PAGEBREAK] After that day I was hell bent to study harder and harder just to get a job and better our lives as were a family of two brothers and five sisters and when I asked my parents why such a big family both said in those days god was giving and we were taking. My mum used to go with my dad cutting sugar cane in the hot sun and I followed them but I had to go to college and I was the only one sent to school as in those days my dad had to pay the school fees or no education, I remember my mum pawning all her jewelries she got for her wedding just to pay for my exam, we sat the exam there but the papers came to Cambridge to be corrected and after three months the result came and o god I passed in eight subjects, maths, English, French ,history ,health science, religious knowledge ,English literature and arts.
The grading I received was magic, I had a distinction in four subjects including English and the college I studied, the principal offered me a job in one of his college and at that time my monthly wage was one hundred and twenty five rupees,the current rate now back home is fifty rupees to a pound sterling,believe me, I was making that whole month wage in two minutes working as a nurse,so working for nearly two years as a teacher I came across a copy of the nursing times in the british council where I would spend about half a day reading about anything I could lay my hand on it was magic just sitting there and reading about anything . At that time we had to pay to borrow any material and as I could not afford it I had to stay there for hours reading, I remember the best book at that time I read was the conquest of Everest, and the other book I read was gone with the wind, o god, it took me such a long time, eight hundred pages and in French the title ' Autant en emporte le vent ' and I used to come home late but my parents knew where I was .when I came to England I was so lucky to watch the film in English , what a film it turned out to be so different from the book and nearly every Christmas the film was shown. [PAGEBREAK] In the nursing times there was an advertisement ,nurse training in the united kingdom by different hospitals both mental health and general so I wrote to one and within a week I received a letter and was accepted but though accepted by the hospital you have to go to all the red tapes in Mauritius. It was not easy at that time back home to get a job as we had just become independent and there were so many intellectuals and degree holders but if you were a relative of a member of parliament or his agent then you were sure to get a job in the police force or an office.so I had to go for an interview at the nurses training selection committee but I passed because I already had a letter of acceptance . So I was all excited to go to the united kingdom and all my dreams were in sight but there was also a tinge of sadness and that because we were such a close knit family not to forget the villagers where we knew each other. My father took a loan and bought me all the necessities and among all a thick grey jumper and a mohair suit which I always wanted but could not afford it, the last night we all sat and talked and my father cuddled me and said 'go my son and think of us and live like a king' my mum could not speak she was just crying. The next morning there was a coach and most of the villagers came to bid me farewell and it was really sad as everybody were in tears and the last person to kiss me was my mum and as I neared the plane I turned round and could see all of them waving and I entered the plane, sat down and looked through the glass and still saw them .The journey was a long one, just one stop in Africa and the next day the plane touched down at Gatwick airport and I took the train to Victoria . From Victoria station I went through the underground to king's cross and took the train to Scotland such a long journey as the train stopped at nearly all the major stations, and I was crying most of the time thinking about my family and looking outside as it was so fascinating and after a while I went to a lady and asked' are we near Scotland, ' no dear, we are still in England ,we traveled all night and at seven in the morning we were in Edinburgh , and I took another train to Larbert and got off. I started walking and tried to stop a taxi to take me to the hospital where I know the nursing officer was waiting for me and every car I stopped went passed me.
In Mauritius if a car number plate is white on a black background it is private and the black number plate on a white background is a taxi and every car that passed me never stopped, one slowed down had a look at me and drove up and that reminded me of my dad when he said to me,' watch because people are very racist too'. And I said to myself o god this must be a racist place I am going to .I kept walking and with all my gear and they were beginning to wear me down and at last I came to a pub and spoke to a lady and asked' may I get a taxi to the RSNH, royal Scottish national hospital,' and she said sure my son, but sit down you look tired, I will make you a drink and I started panicking and thought of the forty pounds pocket money my dad had given me was safe in my pocket . Anyway she phone for a taxi and within minutes a black cab pulled up and I looked and said to the lady 'so this is a taxi ?' and she said ' yes son this will take you there,' after thanking her I went in the taxi and the driver was very friendly too and only later I found out how friendly and warm hearted the scots are . He dropped me just outside the nurses home where Helen a caretaker was waiting. She said 'I will take you to your room' and I followed her. We went upstairs on the second floor and she opened the door and said, ' well this is your room and she gave me a big smile and said, ' I am always downstairs and if you need anything come down o.k, and do come soon as you must be hungry after your long journey so bye for now,' and she left. Wow what a room and I thought I was going to spend three years in this room on my own but believe me this was paradise compared to the place I had left back home . I felt sad because I had been crying all the way and I had never felt so lonely as I was used to be in a big family , I looked at my watch and it was three o'clock and I thought it must be seven o'clock, four hours ahead of Greenwich mean time. The room was spacious, there was a bed against the wall, a wardrobe, a desk, a chair and a sink just near the window with a long mirror and the floor was lavishly carpeted, the toilet was just in the corridor and the bathroom was on the first floor. In the corridor there was a big glass door and it was locked and I found out soon that separated the boys from the female nurses. [PAGEBREAK] The next morning I had to report to the Nursing officer who welcomed me with great affection and read all the activities and programmes I had to follow and after half an hour directed me to go into one of the wards just outside the office. I left and went to the ward and was greeted by the charge nurse with a very warm handshake and he introduced me to the team and we then went to the office where he described my role as a student nurse and also warned me of the clients who could be very violent, 'but do not worry as you will not be on your own, the trained members of staff will be there all the time. He then said 'now let us go and see them'. So we went straight in the hall where there were forty clients some sitting and some walking. I had never seen someone with learning difficulties before, back home the only person with physical disability I had seen was someone sitting in a wheelchair in the street corner begging. I was shocked to see so many clients, and at that time they were called mentally subnormal or handicap and as I was just thinking and being gob-smacked, one of the clients ran to me and lashed me with a towel and the charge nurse shouted at him as he angrily looked at me , he was salivating and the towel was covered with his dribbles, ' what a welcome',i thought to myself. The charge nurse looked at me and apologized,' sorry I was looking somewhere,' and I said to him, 'that is ok,'. They were all looking at me and some looked really aggressive and unpredictable . There were about ten sitting in wheel chairs and they looked physically disable. After that the charge nurse showed me around the whole building. Some rooms were big and had five clients sleeping in the same area while some rooms had three or two. Those were the days when big hospitals were common , the royal Scottish national hospital was on two sites the other site was so big it was called, ' The colony housing about seven hundred clients. [PAGEBREAK] After the hospital tour we came back into his office and we had a cup of tea and he explained about my stay there and he said, ' you are here just for a week , then you go to the school of nursing for one month then you come back for three months then go again to the school, so in and out till you get your certificate, but today I am allocating you to a staff you just observe what he does' and while he was just saying this someone came in the office and he introduced me to him, he was a nice guy because for the time I was there he helped me a lot . Soon I was to see some of the most memorable things I had never seen before. He asked me,' have you seen a colostomy before', honestly I had never even heard the word, so we went to the hall and he wheeled one of the chap and went into the bathroom and against the wall there was a stretcher and he single handed lifted him and lay him there and looked at me and said , sorry but you might not like the look of it as he unbuttoned his trousers to expose his belly and it was covered by what looked like a large brown plaster and I was so eager to see what it was and he started peeling it and the smell was so bad as he lifted the colostomy bag I started to reach and really I felt sick and my eyes were all runny and he asked me to leave the room, I had to or else I was going to vomit in front of him, I went in the toilet and composed myself and wiped my eyes and said to myself,' you have to bear this and go in as you have come here to do nursing and this is part of it,' and I did go in and the chap was just cleaning the wound. A colostomy is an operation performed in the intestine or as we call it the gullet, when there is blockage and it is diseased so the infected area is severed and an opening is made just under the stomach and everything that passes into the stomach and goes the normal healthy way goes into the bag and the bag has to be emptied regularly. After showing me the procedure we wheeled the bloke back to the hall and he said ,'you follow me,' as he wheeled an old man and brought him to the same stretcher and started to unbutton his trousers and he was wearing a large nappy and he changed him just like he would a child, honestly that was not bad as what I had been when he was changing the bag, that was quick too as he had been doing that for a long time. The next thing he did was taking somebody in the bath and he thoroughly bathed him and dried him and dressed him. I was taking everything in, as soon I would have to do everything all by myself and believe me the next thing I saw was really sad as two nurses had to struggle to bring someone in the clinic room where all the surgical stuffs are kept, that bloke was playing up and screaming his head off and hitting anybody in sight so to calm him they were going to give him an injection of paraldehyde
That injection was so strong it had to be given in a big glass syringe and the needle was about three times the thickness than the finer ones we have nowadays, the drug was so potent that after the patient had it, yes in those days they were called patients, you could smell the dose in their breath and it did knock them for six, some clients would not get up till the next day, another injection was largactil a slow release one to last a month and the drug was released in the body daily.
One day some of the staff were in the office, as there were so many clients in the ward there was also a great number of staff on each shift, five to seven on each shift , but at night there were only two staff as the clients were asleep most of the time and not many were paying up if there were an emergency all we had to do is lift the phone and help was there from the nearest block. Each ward had a bird name like finch, swallow and magpie and so on.
I spent a whole week just learning the ropes and then the following week went to the school of nursing what an experience that was as most of the time I could not understand the Scottish accent as some tutors spoke through their noses and it took me a long time to understand what they were saying and most of the time I had to ask for help with some of the females nurses living next door as the males living on the floor I was were mostly mauritians and they were at a loss too. One of the tutor was German and I was so grateful she was there because one day I could not do my homework and she helped me by calling me to her office where I said I was thinking of giving up and she said , look at me I was like you so fly your flag and also think of your parents who sacrificed to send you here,' and I did listen to her and she was so clever that she would demonstrate by bringing her own collection of things from home, she compared the body as a house, how the drain heating and water works to have a happy home, she plucked a strip from her coat and showed what a ring worm looks like and the damage it causes to our system. Her pep talk worked as I started to concentrate more and had to complete the full three months before going to the ward and put everything to practice and not to forget the twenty five pounds reward if you pass. My weekly wage was eight pounds and in those days that was a lot of money because in my second year I bought a car for twenty five pounds, a ford Anglia and I still have a picture of it with my Scottish girlfriend sitting on the bonnet which I will talk later. The school days was fun too as the students were very funny and most of them lived in the same place as me and the mischief that went on nearly risk chucking me out of the nurses home. After nearly a year we all went to a party and on the way we came to a golf course and they were lots of posts with flags on and we picked some and planted them in front of the nursing officers gate and the next morning he came to summon us in his office and asked us to admit who was responsible for all that or we will have to vacate the home and of course we escaped with severe warning.
The real work started and now everything came for real, well the hardest one was restraining someone who was attacking you and going to cause you real damage . All I did was to observe and nothing else because I was not trained but soon I was sent on the course . After the training I had to restrain the really challenging clients. To restrain someone there must be a three member team, one to hold the left arm, the other to hold the right hand and the other team member to hold the head. I will never forget an incident when we were escorting a just restrained client to his bedroom he turned round and bit the finger off the staff holding his right arm. It was awful to see the finger on the floor . Of course the staff member was compensated about forty thousand pounds for industrial injury and when he left, I met him and he said the only problem is I have difficulty holding a pen as it was his middle finger. The second incident was while the father was taking his son for the weekend he bit his finger while he was driving and he had to wear a special metal glove every time he drove him home at weekends . On average some clients had to be restrained about five times daily. Apart from restraining there were clients who were self harming and they would bang their heads on the table or against the glass door, and one client was always ripping the toilet pan and at times he would use the toilet and after ripping the seat he would carry the pan and throw it in the lounge. It was very stressful at times . Most of the staff I worked with smoked heavily and smoking in my country and specially in front of the parents was a sin and you risked getting smacked and I will never forget one incident when I was at a friend's house and while we were just joking one of the friend shouted to his mum, saying look he is smoking and the mum ran and asked, ' where is he?' and of course she had a broom in her hand and that is how strict we were brought up, but here smoking was normal at work and it was a norm and after seeing everybody and being so stressed of course I joined in, we always had a quick break after restraining someone. Now, how can I put it after not smoking back home and after two years being here I asked the young nurse for a fag, hey 'but you do not smoke,' 'of course I do not ,' but let me have a fag and believe it or not I had my first fag and really I enjoyed it and there started a habit I now regret . Another incident I will never forget was, while we were doing the handover in the office one of the client put his fist through the glass partition and when he removed his hand he started bleeding profusely , I had never seen so much blood on the floor we all went in action the bandage was applied but the blood was seeping through it , the ambulance was called and he was rushed to the casualty and I escorted him. When he was rushed there you would think he would be seen and attended straightway but nothing like that, the ambulance staff explained to the sister what had happened and she asked us to sit with the rest of the people in the waiting room and what a long wait it was, I kept an eye on the bandage and blood was still seeping and several times I went to the sister and said ,' may we have another bandage?' The wound looked ghastly and I had to call another nurse to help me. This time the bleeding stopped. The client was an aggressive one to where I was working but at that moment he was so calm and I just thought when he went home at weekend his mum used to say he was naughty and he wrecked the sitting room, and of course I was wary but also felt so sorry for him, he was taken away soon for surgery and watching him under general anesthetic made me feel sad and the surgeon did his best but could not repair the damage as he had severed the main artery supplying blood to his fingers so he ended up losing the whole function of his right hand and that was the end of him being challenging and he was always in a smiling mood and being very passive in all aspect.
When I was a student I was allocated in various placements to gain experience in various fields like in the community, with a community nurse , I think that was an eye opener for me because when I was back home I used to read so many books and most of them had rich settings in the background and all those houses I used to dream and even when I came here I really did not know what was behind those doors as all houses looked posh to me and I always thought everyone is rich but soon I came to earth when the nurse I was allocated to said to me,' hey just to warn you, but be brave for what you are going to see ,' alright' and we went to that house as she had the key and when we went in there was an old man in his bed and honest the smell hit my nose as he was both incontinent of urine and faeces and we had to take him in the bath and after dressing him we sat on the sofa and gave him his breakfast . While he was eating we went to make his bed and the nurse said,' we have to use this,' as she drew a can and I saw the writing 'flea spray, 'but before applying it we both lifted the mattress and goodness there so many fleas I just could not believe it.
That was an experience, we also went to visit mothers who just had babies and show them how to bath them and breast feeding them. We also went to a rest home where there were veterans from war who had lost their limbs and gave them support.
The best part of that placement was the nurse was her own boss and did her job her own way and nobody was looking over her and she was very friendly and one day she said, today you go home early as I have to go shopping and also to the bank,'. She gave me a very glowing report after my placement with her.
Though I was based at the royal Scottish national hospital that housed all those clients with severe needs I had to go to another mental or psychiatric one for more experience so my next placement was in a psychiatric hospital , there were so many wards and so many clients , we call them clients now but in those days every type of names were given, people used to call them lunatics, subnormal, mentally retarded , mentally deficient, people with learning difficulties, demented, mongolism ,this term was used where someone who was born with an extra chromosome, a normal person has twenty six pair if genes namely XY but in mongolism an extra pair is present , hence the person when born has a mental deficiency and the learning process is halted that is why the person maybe a grown up adult but his ability is that of a five year old and is admitted to special schools, with special needs. Those were the days but soon the technology about birth took a new turn and now there are tests and scans and at an early stage where the parents are told if the newborn is going to be normal or have abnormal symptoms and of course the couple have to decide what they want to do. when I was in the ward there were so many stories where mothers gave birth to unnatural children , they were left at hospital gates and some clients had no visits from anybody. Some parents voluntarily came and handed the siblings to be cared in hospitals and came to visit and even took them home at weekends.
The ward I was allocated had thirty beds and half of the clients were bedridden and needed all nursing care just like growing up babies and it was sad to see six clients who were grown up and one was in his seventies but had not develop at all and they were confined in their cots. We had to bath them, shave them and attend to all their needs, they even had special nappies and they were spoon fed. They had no communication and most of the time just staring at the ceiling. There was one client who really made me think of how lucky we are in this world though we have our own personal problems to cope with and being a student I had already had my share of problems back home but in a different circumstance . This client was nineteen at that time when he was all fit and growing up all normal and it was his birthday and his parents as a surprise gave him a brand new bike, but same day his father asked him to go to the shop to buy some cigarettes and here he goes on his bike enjoying the thrill , halfway there was a parked car, and in front of him he saw a car coming and he thought the oncoming car would slow down for him, but it was the contrary and as he overtook the parked car there was a head on collision with the oncoming car , when he was rushed to the hospital he was so badly injured he was put on the life support machine and after a couple of days his condition deteriorated and the surgeon wanted the parents permission to turn the support machine off but the parents said no to that and he ended up in a wheelchair , half of his brain was taken off during surgery and his cranium the bony box that houses the brain had caved in, he had lost all his communication and every weekend his parents visited him and fed him and he would just stare at them, he was so young and attractive, what a life for him.
The daily routine for me varied and I had to stick to a named nurse who was my mentor and it was for her to guide me and we worked together and became very good friends too. She was the one to give me a good report after my placement in that particular ward. I was told to read as many files on each clients and mind you, some files were so thick loaded with pages and pages of incidents and reports relating to them.
While in training I had to read as many textbooks on all aspects of nursing and also nursing magazines, the nursing Times and the nursing mirror were the best ones . There were other textbooks like psychology for nurses, psychiatry, medicine,surgery, pharmacology, community , Anatomy and physiology . All those books had to be studied in details and the three hours examination at the end of the three years training were based on the two main subjects namely medical and surgical and an essay on community nursing . In between there were mock examinations and after two years there was a major mock examination to ensure that you were fit for the main examination and there was a financial prize of twenty five pounds at stake.
I had to study all types of mental illness , there are so many, and I would like to mention a few. schizophrenia, This is a chronic and severe brain disorder that affects one percent of both men and women worldwide . The ones affected can have hallucinations and delusions, that could be extremely frightening. Alcohol and drugs lead to extreme violence, sometimes directed at family members. In many cases there is a risk of suicide. The affected ones can also hear voices, some good ones and negative or demonic ones.
Dementia, This is a neurodegenerative condition of the brain in which there is a progressive and permanent loss of cognitive and mental performance . This includes loss of memory and impairment of brain function in areas as language, intellect, judgment and behavior.
Apart from the main mental illness there are other types that are so common that any of one of us can be victim and that afflicts our lives and the way we behave and react to other people.
The common ones are stress , depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorder ,addiction to certain food that causes weight increase, also known as eating disorder,mania, loneliness, paranoia ,post natal depression, self harm.
To understand all these afflictions it is worth noting the two terms psychology and psychiatry that mean so much to some .psychology is the scientific study of all forms of human and animal behavior and psychiatry is the scientific study of the human mind.
When someone is diagnosed with any type of mental illness there is always a possibility of a cure , but unfortunately in some cases there is no cure at times but different plans and programs are put in place thanks to the nurses in hospitals and the community.
One type of cure used a lot when I was in training was the worse one I have ever witnessed. It is called electro - convulsive therapy , ECT, , also known as electro shock and is most often used as a treatment for severe major depression which has not responded to other treatment and this method is also used in the treatment of mania, catatonia and schizophrenia. A course of six to twelve treatments administered two to three times weekly .After treatment, drug therapy follows. Some patients often do not respond and continuous ECT is administered which can cause memory loss, confusion and other side effects . The shock is enormous and uses 450 volts DC in pulsed square waves at a current of .9 Amps. A single ECT treatment is enough electricity passing through your brain to light an 84 Watts light bulb or a 500 Watt Halogen light. It was just traumatic for me to watch it.
I saw lots of clients with severe mental problems drug addicts,alcohol addicts and clients who were hallucinating, some even thought they were god, some constantly praying and looking at the sky and just lost in a world of their own and when they were approached they used to say do not talk to me i am meditating go away, some just laughed and some just cried.there so many who were constantly harming themselves like hitting the wall with their fists and one who constantly banged his head on the table and at times would choose to bang his head on the sharp end of the table and cause bleeding and also hit his head with his fist. He was the worse one as his face was covered in bruises and had swollen eyes. We had to apply bandages over his fist to act as a cushion. One guy used to bang his head against the glass door or window, of course the glass would break causing severe bleeding and many a time we had to restrain him.
I was coming to the end of my second year, one more year left and i was getting all excited at the prospect of becoming a qualified nurse with the dream of being a charge nurse and be the boss as i had been so frustrated at times not that i was not enjoying the training but in some placements specially the medical one, because as i finished the psychiatric one i had to go in a general hospital. I will be honest, the general training was the most difficult one as there were so much to learn both general and surgical. I had to learn pharmacology nearly all drugs under the sun their effects and side effects.I had to learn how to calculate the amount drawn and the most difficult one, how much to draw from the bottle, and the syringe was calibrated but you had to calculate the millilitres . In those days there were lots of glass syringes but now plastic syringes are the main ones used.i had to be exact how much to draw and the staff nurse had to correct me lots of time. Nowadays all those calculations are useless because life is so easy now with ready made pens like insulin pens where we just turn the top like a switch and the number appears like 10 20 30 and what is prescribed you just draw the dose you need.
Not only drugs but to learn all anatomy and physiology,and all bones of the body.All the organs and you had to label them. In some examinations say for example just the diagram of the heart or the liver or the leg and you had to label the different parts.One organ i enjoyed was how the heart works, four chambers in a heart, the lower two parts and upper two parts and how the heart pumps the blood through the ventricles like how the blood passes through them like in a little tube and when the tube is narrowed with cholesterol how you suffer from heart attack causing death. Also when pain is caused to the heart like in cases of angina. The pain is caused by lack of oxygen to the bottom part hence where they say you had to breathe deeper by allowing more oxygen to travel. There are drugs too when not enough blood reaches the lower part of the heart. So much to learn about all diseases that blight our lives. Though the training was tough i struggled because i wanted to succeed. At times i felt i was being victimized and i had to stand for myself , i remember a matron , o god even the word matron used to freak me out as i had heard so much from other nurses in the school of nursing. The matron in those days were really strict and they used to wear proper blue uniform with proper white hat. When i was allocated in a ward she used to call me and delegate me with different bits to do the main one was go and rub that old guy back and in those days you had to rub his back or other parts with soap and water to prevent pressure sores. At times there were so many patients and once you do a round it was time to start again and i went and said i have done it and she said now go and do the laundry because in those days the nurses had to do all even fold all the sheets and pillow cases and the draw sheets. Lunch was between twelve and one , but the break at ten was the long awaited one and i was gasping for a cup of tea so i went and said,' matron i have done it', and she said,' now go and do a bed round,' so here i go again and do another bed round and in between you hear the buzzer going and when you answer it the usual saying,' i want a bottle or the commode,' you go along with the routine. Anyway after i finished another round i went to the office and this time she asked me to go and tidy another linen cupboard and after that to go and mop the bathroom floor as all the patients had their daily bath, i do not why but i lost it and said, 'matron i have not had a break yet, i need a drink, and oh the look she gave me nearly made me cringe, 'so you are refusing to do what i say ?'she said, as she fumbled into a file.She looked at me menacingly and said, 'go for your break,' I had never been so quick to get out of that office. My time there was not a happy one but i had seen so many sick people there and gave me the satisfaction to learn that they came there ill but went home cured or happy and they always gave you a big thank you. in one of the ward i went i became friendly with a little boy who was involved in a car accident.They always said treat all patients equally and do not show emotion but in that job of nursing you have to give all your heart. The little boy said so many nice things about me and the day he was leaving the mother gave me an address and said,'if ever you are passing there pop for a cup of tea. Another patient was a magician and i was fascinated by what he used to say about his magic tricks and when he was leaving he asked me to come and see him and he would show me all the tricks of the trade.
The next placement was in the casualty department and believe me, that really showed me how much a human life is precious and how close we come to death and how life is saved and is worth living again.Every day you meet with something new and different and i was looking forward for that experience and what an experience it turned out to be, my first one was when the sister said be prepared for this as she ordered everyone to go and put their masks on and double aprons so we rushed and equipped ourselves...nobody knew what was coming and suddenly everybody started running towards the trolleys being brought by staff by three ambulances and there were seven people lying on them, there had been an explosion in a gas factory in the village and they were caught in it, they were barely alive and as we rushed them in the cubicle all the doctors rushed and started giving them first aid and the sister ordered,' start undressing them and put hospital gowns on them and as i undressed one, the smell of gas went right through to my nose and i felt like fainting that is how bad the smell was and i saw another nurse wiping her eyes and nose then i thought i was not the only one affected. After being attended they were all sent to different units for more care because the space in the casualty department, especially in the resuscitation areas are so badly needed all the time. i will be honest that really affected me mentally because i used to wake up by an alarm clock every morning and the next day i just could not wake up by it, i woke on my own , my instinct directed me. All the staff who were affected were asked if they would like counselling, i knew i needed it , but i wanted to cope with it myself.
The next traumatic accident was more drastic and disturbing. There was a farm just about half a mile facing the hospital and the farmer had invited most of the senior staff for a Christmas party but about eleven o'clock in the morning, there was a trolley being brought by the ambulance staff and , o my god, it was the farmer lying on it and he was lifeless and both his hands were dangling on each side, he was gored by a bull who he had reared since birth and the mobile X ray was wheeled in and the surgeon showed us the print, there was not one bone that was unbroken in his body, i looked at his face and i had never seen anything like it, even till now in my life, his face was changing color,from green to yellow , then blue and red and pink and going pure white at intervals and suddenly his wife, who had gone shopping rushed to the casualty department and the way she was crying and shouting resonated in the whole unit, poor woman she had lost her husband in such a drastic accident and i thought, ' what a way to die.
That night when i finished my shift , i was really shocked and i admit that i was frightened and before going to bed i shut all the windows because all i could see, was his face everywhere.
The next accident i saw was a man brought in who was in a road accident he was really
badly hurt and the thing that disturbed me was his whole scalp was so damaged that it had peeled back, exposing his cranium , that is the brain cage, he was resuscitated and he lived, then a lady was brought down who had taken one hundred paracetamols and the staff tried to pump all the content out of her stomach by the infamous tube, but she started bleeding profusely and never regained consciousness and died.Then there was that little boy who was knocked down by a car and his head started swelling so bad that the surgeon had to insert a long needle right in his head to drain the build up of fluid which was beginning to look like a balloon.
The next bad accident i saw was , two friends were going shooting and when they were in the wood there was a big tree fallen on the ground and they had to cross over and when the first one managed to cross, he stood there waiting for his friend and when he tried to cross over, the loaded gun he was carrying, went off and the bullet went right through to his friend's knee and he was brought to the casualty department and he was bleeding profusely he had to have priority attention and his friend was there too , he was in a state, after treatment he was admitted to the medical ward.
There were lots of drink and drive accidents especially as it was Christmas time.
My next placement was in the theater and that was another eye opener for me because i had heard about it and i had to be ready for it and i saw abortion and lots of amputations being carried out and i just had to observe and the main task was to take the used utensils especially the scalpels to the sterilization room, getting them ready for the next operation.One thing i noticed was how cool the surgeons were when carrying the task, they would sometimes crack a joke and make everything seem so normal. i used to cringe at times fearing the patient would feel that sharp scalpel and it would hurt and they would wake up, but there was no pain as the anesthetic was doing a good job.There were so many utensils, and so many of them were so sharp that there was a danger that you could cut yourself just by handling them.Watching an eye operation used to freak me out too, but i used to hide my fear just by wearing that mask.
After spending my time in the theater, the next placement was in the maternity unit what an experience that was because seeing a baby being born was such an emotional moment, all those pain going through the daunting labor, some mothers had to go nearly all day or night and finally the bundle of joy was there in the wide world. To my knowledge childbirth must be the happiest moment of one's life and the father who was there watching all the emotion.
The most memorable episode was of course when i had to deliver a baby and it was a seventeen year old who had given her permission and i was very nervous but the matron was there just in case i did it wrong and feeling the baby's head coming was magic and the joy that follows childbirth, has no word to describe it, one must be there to see the expression and the intense feeling that goes with it .And that is why the bond between a mum and child is so sacred and godly.
There were also some moments when a baby had the umbilical chord wrapped round the neck and the baby could not breathe and turning blue, but there was always medical help at hand and some babies had to be put in the incubator. Some babies had arrived prematurely , one was only four months and you could hold him in the palm of your hand. The cry of the baby is paramount as it shows that the baby is fine.
There was one case when a fourteen year old had traveled from England to have the baby and give her away for adoption,it was sad because once she saw her baby , a girl, she did not want to part with her, but it was too late as she had already signed all the papers and the new parents were waiting, she cried and it was heartrending to see someone suffering like that.
There was some funny side in that unit too as i had to take the mothers T.P.R., temperature, pulse and respiration and i remember there was a really pretty girl and when i did hers it was so high and i called the matron to double check it and she said 'what do you expect, you being like that, she is bound to be excited there is nothing abnormal'.So it was my presence that influenced all this.Apart from doing deliveries , i also had to teach the mothers how to feed and bath the babies.
After my spell in the maternity unit i had to spend time in a children unit where there were kids who were born with different defects such as autism, down syndrome and hyperactivity.Most of the time i had to look after them like they were babies bath them dress them and feed them. some were very disruptive at times and it was very difficult to calm them ,but it was not their faults.It was the symptoms and that is why i had to have knowledge of all the behaviors.
Finally i came to the end of my training and it was time for the examination which was three hours and i had to finish three long and arduous parts namely medical, surgical and community papers and i am glad to say the examination seemed easy to me as i had studied well and as i was so ambitious and always believed in the motto the sky is the limit, a man 's reach should exceed his grasp or what 's a heaven stands for and plan ahead, go ahead and get ahead and all the prayers of my parents, i sailed through the papers. One of the question was, a diagram of the heart, it was blank, and i had to label all the parts. The other one, namely the community paper,' how would you deliver a baby in a shopping center'.
After a month the result was announced, first came a letter ,then in the school of nursing it was officially put on the notice board and the feeling was so overwhelming that i sat and cried after opening the letter, then i telegram home, in those days there were no cell phones, i had to send it to the local police station and someone would go and fetch the parents and give the news.Then there was the presentation day, when i was dressed in a suit and photo of the event was published in the paper the Falkirk Herald and photos were bought which i sent home and one was put in the hall of the nursing school for posterity.
I automatically became a staff Nurse and started working as a qualified nurse in the same hospital i did my training and after working for two months i left to do my general training.Because i was already an R M N H ,registered mental nurse handicap, i only had to study for eighteen months to become an R G N , registered general nurse. Life had changed completely and after completing that i applied to become a deputy charge nurse and now it is called manager. That was in Cambridge.
Now that i have been successful i can talk about romance. I had kept to myself but while in training as student i was working with a girl Linda Steveley, what a beauty she was and she said to me one day ,' hey Dougie you are a hermit you leave the ward and go straight in your room then you come to work you never go out but tonight i am knocking at your door and taking you for a drink. i did not want to because in those days my other life was watching television specially top of the pops when pans people was my favorite and while engrossed in it there was a knock at the door and there she was, all dressed to kill, i had to go as i did not want to hurt her feeling. We went to a nearby pub , i had never been out like this, i really thought it was for the guy to ask her out. Anyway as we were having that drink i kept at looking at other female and the way they were dressed and she nudged me and said' hey you are with me and supposed to look at me and she held my hand , o that was soft and i just looked at her. How funny it is what a drink does to you it changes your perspective of life and the feeling is so emanating and you start seeing everything so rosy,her makeup was tantalizing, i had never seen beauty in such high definition, o god what is happening to me i thought. After a couple more drinks she said' i am coming to stay in the home with you,'.We arrived in my room and i had to hide her in the wardrobe when checking time came at midnight. As there was only one chair in my room, we both sat on the edge of the bed and we talked for only a few minutes when i remember kissing her and soon we were in bed and i leave this to the imagination. The next morning we sat at the edge of the and she said,' i need to talk to you, i badly need seven hundred pound and i am expecting,' That was a bombshell and i soon sobered up, and i said to her' Linda let me see you at work and we will talk. I went to work and while we were doing the handover the matron said,' i received a letter from Linda, she has resigned.' It made me think how you can come crashing to earth after euphoria. We never saw her again.
What a three years training it was and i started to feel relaxed and wanted to see more of Scotland and the day came when one of my friend who was Malaysian had a car,Volkswagen beetle and he said let us go and explore Scotland and we went up north in Aberdeen , what a city it is the buildings and even the road is made of marbles , buildings are in granite, hence Aberdeen is called the granite city.After staying in bed and breakfast for two nights we headed further north and believe me the place was breathtaking, the forest and the green grass was out of this world, the place was the Cairngorms we were told lots of tourists visit the place especially in winter to see the snow and indulge in skiing .Wherever we went we had special food like Chinese , Indian and we had some Scottish dishes like haggis and venison. After one week we came back as i had to work.
The shift i was doing was seven in the morning till two thirty, and the afternoon shift was two o'clock till nine.It was a great feeling to be in charge of the shift and and not work under a boss who was always behind you and tell you get a move on as they did not want you to be idle as they themselves were under supervision by the Nursing officers who made unexpected visits.The N H S was in crisis at that moment and they were told to cut down the cost. There was only a limited amount of money to go around. Anyway we will come back to that later.
The next romance was a turning point in my life as i got so involved with the best girl i had seen in all my life. There was nurse and she was Mrs Hay and she used to work on night ans we became very friendly. At that time i used to write articles in the Mauritius times and most of the things i used to write was about nurses lives, how they used to live here and sometimes never wrote back home telling about what they were doing so i spilled the beans and wrote all and each article ended by a cliff hanger, like ,'next week about their love' or' about their finances etc'. the series of articles i wrote was a sensation back home as many Mauritians had come here and never bothered to write back, i remember one guy who came from the same village had never been in touch for seventeen years and went back home with an English bride and you can imagine the shock as all parents at that time wanted a Mauritian bride. My sisters used to send me cuttings of the articles. I remember someone wrote to me once and said what the hell went into your head writing all those things.And i also remember one guy had written back home about English girls and he said it is so easy to find girls, it is like sitting on an apple tree and all those red apples. I used to write all just on A 4 paper as i did not have a typewriter and post it. So one day, as i was in the office, she saw me and asked,' what's all that writing and i told her and she said 'you should give that to me and i will ask my daughter to type it for you as she just left college and working as a secretary to a law firm. So i used to hand her the manuscripts and how neat it was when i got it back, i had never seen her before , but one day as her mum was off she came to give me the papers herself and she was so attractive and i said to myself, i must go out with her, but how ?' , i was in my twenties and she looked only seventeen. Mrs Hay always used to talk about her and one day she said,' Elizabeth has bought a black dress and it is her birthday but she has nowhere to go'. That went right to my head and i just plucked up the courage and said,' is that o.k with you if i take her for a social drink?'.I was gobsmacked when she agreed and i went to her house and we went to a pub, she only wanted orange juice, but i had a pint and we talked all about life back home and she told me about her school days. She was very tiny about five foot and skinny, she had red hair and green eyes and always had a smile. We spent about an hour then i escorted home as she was working the next day . I came back home and thought about her. I did not want to make hasty decision and deep inside i knew one day she will be my wife , you always get that gutsy feeling, when you really want something so badly and i had sacrificed myself all through the three solid years and i also knew my parents had dreams of me getting married to a local girl, my mother used to say ,'the girl i want for you must be slim , have brown eyes and long nose,'. What a pity she did not know that i was embarking on a different romantic path.
One day Mrs Hay asked me to come for a Sunday roast as she knew i did not go out a lot and i went and we all had a meal together except her dad as i was told he does not like colored people and that made me feel very uncomfortable, but Liz told me to ignore him which i did.The meal was really tasty as i never tasted food like this before, homemade, what a treat it was for me and not only that i felt good that i had been invited in an English home and i got first hand experience how people live in an English home and i felt emotional that people were accepting me though i was from a strange country.
Things were hotting up and i was getting more excited about Liz so one day i asked her that we go for another drink and of course her mum agreed again and we went for a drink and o yes i forgot to mention i bought a car, it was a ford Anglia and i remember, i saw the advertisement in the paper and i went there, a local garage and there was that old man in a suit and i said, ' i am a nurse and i do not earn a lot'. The car was for thirty pounds and i said, ' i will give you twenty eight pounds and he said, ' yes, but you are a hard man'.
So we went for a drink and it was so romantic as we listened to George Michael songs and after just a pint i drove her to the nurses home and she stayed with me and that when everything went to pieces as we made love and after a wild night i drove her just before her mum came home from the night shift, but o god, as i pulled the car in front of the house we both see her mum pulling the curtain back and Liz said, Dougie my mum is already there and as she saw the car she came running and came on my side and said, ' you, i swear i could kill you, i trusted you, god help you what have you done to my daughter keeping her all night, then as Liz opened the car door she ran after her and i saw her slapping her on the head, but i drove away. When i went in the home i sat on the bed and thought about everything. I did not see Liz for a week and i could not contact her either and i was missing her terribly. When i saw Mrs Hay at work she completely ignored me and that was painful as she was good to me and had even invited me for a meal and deep inside i felt i had done something terribly wrong, i felt a fool and the damage was definitely irreparable. Two weeks went by and no communication from Liz. I drove near her house a couple of times hoping to see her , but no joy. One day as i drove in the village i saw Liz coming out of the bus after her work so we met and she said,that i should keep away for a while till things settle down,but she would see me any time after work. And that the way we started meeting secretly and we used to go in a lane in the hospital ground and of course the normal love affair just blossomed and believe me the joy and happiness was just ecstatic and i lived to see her every time. And she was feeling the same because she said, she could not live without me and living at home was getting tougher and tougher for what she had done and especially her father was getting madder and madder calling her,' a prostitute going out with a nigger,' and that really upset me, honest, as i felt for her. I had ruined her life and it was my duty to do something now.
It was a Sunday and i was off so i drove near her house as i had nothing to do and her thoughts were playing on my mind and as i drove nearer , i saw Liz coming, she had a plastic carrier bag in her hand and i stopped the car, she stepped in and she started crying and sobbing her heart out, and she stopped and said, 'i just cannot live there any more things are so bad so i left home, i was coming in the nurses home. So we drove back to the home and i said to her that she should just stay with me in secret. It was so difficult as i was living in the nurses home and i was under scrutiny from all eyes. i had a Mauritian friend next to my room and i told him that Liz was staying with me. Liz went to work everyday. We lived together for nearly two weeks then one day, the chief nursing officer came in my room, she opened my wardrobe and saw Liz' belonging, her make up and her dress and she said to me,' you know you have taken advantage of the N H S so now you have to go, and i give you three days to leave. So someone must have seen us together going in the home.
I had another Mauritian friend and he had just finished his training and he had always told me that he would go back home and he had a two bedroom end of terrace house and he was selling it for seven hundred pounds and i asked him to sell it to me as i had saved money. So i bought the place and we moved down there luckily. We were very happy as the place was so nice and we bought the basic things.After three months i talked to Liz that i would have to go to Mauritius to see my parents as i had promised them that after my training i would come. She agreed as she knew all about my family because i used to show her most of my mail.She was pleased for me to go and that really made me happy as i felt i was betraying her leaving her all alone to cope as she had been through a lot in the past month. I booked the ticket and the thing was i was on the plane to Mauritius, what a joy it was going back home nearly five years away and on the plane i drank a lot of wine and whisky and even the stewardess said to me ,'drink this as British whisky is rare in Mauritius'. . When the plane was just landing i was overwhelmed as i could see the sugar cane plantation and the blue sea. After a short checking i came outside the airport and i could see all my relatives waving at me and they all came and hugged me and my parents were all crying and they had two coaches lined up an it seemed as if the whole village had turned up and i sat in the first seat of one of the coaches and they had brought food and drink for me and there were musicians and they started playing all my favorite songs and the atmosphere was electrifying and all the way, the music was blaring and i will admit, i thought of Liz, poor girl if only she was there she would see what a welcome , i also felt very emotional as we neared the village where i had spent my childhood. [PAGEBREAK] When we entered the house, i opened my suitcase and started giving the presents i had brought for them, i told them take whatever you want and i started throwing things at them , one by one. Most of the things i gave them were from charity shops, but they did not know that, some items had cost me five pence and twenty pence only, i had also bought lots of chocolates and sweets and toothpaste from Tesco value, but to them it was gold ,i had cameras, watches, handbags, perfumes,video cameras and shirts. The day ended with me having the best meal, Briani and lots of Mauritian drinks. We did not go to bed till late as we talked so much, that i could feel my mouth aching because they wanted to hear everything. The next day my parents took me to the capital where there is the famous market where everything is sold and we had the famous food and drinks which is never seen anywhere in the world, you got to be there to experience it. The next thing we did was going on a picnic on the beach and they had hired a coach for the day and all relatives were there and everybody had brought a different food and so many drinks. I went in the blue sea to have a swim and i remember when i was diving looking at the pure white sand below i thought about Liz, that was so unnatural and it showed that i loved her on the land and under the water, every breath i took reminded me of her and i vowed to be with her forever.
I had been there for nearly three weeks , there was only one week left and one morning my father said, ' we are not going anywhere today because someone is coming here to see you and it is a surprise you will like that, honest, and when i asked him again what it was about he refused to disclose it. So i waited in suspense.Then i saw an old man coming to the house, he had a plastic bag in his hand. He sat down and my father greeted him and then he introduced me to him, he had a good look at me which made me feel uncomfortable.Then my father said ,'this is your future father in law as he has a very pretty daughter who has just left school and as my father was still talking the old man reached into his pocket and took out a twenty rupee note and offered it to me, i gave it back to him,saying,'wait a minute and asked my father to come in the back room. He stood there annoyed saying, ' why did you do that?'. It was then that i said to him , 'father i am in love with a girl back in England and i am in love with her and i did not want to tell you till my last day here because i know you all would not be pleased to hear it and my mother came into the room and she was devastated, saying,' all my dreams about you is gone. I did not go back there , but i could see the old man going outside in the path. My father was gutted so was my mum , but i could not help it. only after an hour they both started talking to me again. The last week was nearly gone as i went to see all my friends.[PAGEBREAK]
The day came when they all came to the airport to wave me farewell to England and they were all crying and as i headed to the plane,i looked back and they were all still waving me goodbye. When i was in the plane i drank a lot and all along i was thinking about my parents and also of Liz.I was back home and the first thing i saw was Liz sitting in a corner, i really thought she would be elated to see me and hug me, but she gave me a funny look, i knew there was something wrong, she lifted her head and said,' you told me i wont be pregnant, but i am because i went to the doctor and it was confirmed. I went to her and held her. She had just started that secretarial job and wanted to be a carrier girl and i was not very happy either as i had long way to go in my job so we both decided to go and see the doctor the next day. Our relationship had frozen just like that.
We went to see the doctor and she gave me an icy look. we asked her about the abortion and
she categorically refused, she said she had far too gone, beside as she was so tiny there was a possibility that she could bleed to death. she looked at me and said,' you have to look after her, being a nurse you should have thought of all that. And that really cracked me ,i thought the doctors are nice and sympathetic. We came back home and that was it ,we were going to have a child. Liz worked till the last month, when finally a baby came. I was with her holding her hand all the way. It was a baby girl and she was very beautiful, she was not pure white, but slightly brown and she had lots of hair All jet black , Liz was very emotional when the baby was handed to her she held the bundle of joy in her hand and i could see her tears flowing copiously and it made me think what i have done and i was emotional deep inside , but i did not show my emotion to her.i never thought ,not in my wildest dream, that one day ,i would be a father because i had never showed my inner feelings to anyone, i used to bottle it all inside me , but deep, the pangs of love and emotion were running freely and that would, at times ,make me feel very sad.I know many people who are like that ,who cannot express their real deep feelings and most of the time some people think they are callous or have no feelings at all.
After spending two nights in the hospital i drove Liz and the baby home. I bought Liz fish and chips and i had a bottle of wine as a treat ,Liz did not want to drink as she was breast feeding.
The next day i went to work, the usual boring shift, but i had a great team and i used to delegate them, i used to give each staff five clients, three on wheel chairs and two who were were able to do things for themselves like washing and dressing and feeding on their own. I used to do the difficult ones because i wanted to ease the burden of the staff. There are two types of managers, one who was a laid back one and the other a very strict one who did not do much work and sit in the office and pretend to do all the paperwork and read the newspaper or be on the phone and they did not want to be disturbed either and you had to knock before entering.The daily routine of a shift was, wake the patients up give them a bath , dress them and put them in the lounge ,feed them and sit them on a comfortable seat put the television on then you go on a break normally fifteen minutes, then do all the laundry , then go and make their beds. One staff was was always in the lounge, keeping an eye in case someone goes into an epileptic fit or try to be aggressive. About one o'clock the lunch was served and feeding time again that usually could take another hour. Then all staff had to write a report in their file and i used to counter sign it as it was treated like a legal document. some files had to be very specific, specially if a patient had a fall and hurt himself or if the parents wanted to take things to court and that document was vital piece of evidence. All staff were sent on courses about report writing and communication. There was always ongoing training for staff and that was essential to deliver a good service. I was sent on a course, called ,'living with stress' as it was a challenging unit. that was the best course i had been as it shows you how to cope with stress, th
Mikeverdi on 20-04-2015
my nursing experiences
Hello Dougie, and welcome to UKA. I don't think I have read you're work before. This is an amazing story you are telling. I once had the pleasure of visiting your country as a tourist. I was well aware that we were not 'seeing' the true conditions for the locals, it's the same in the Caribbean. I have some suggestions as to the format for your story...they are only suggestions.
I would organise the lay out to allow for spaces between the paragraphs, maybe check the punctuation and spelling.
It's a great story and I hope you will not be offended by my advice.... and post more please.
thanks for the comments I really appreciate and thank you I hope today my mentor is going to correct the layout also is it possible for me to have your email ad and I will send you the link for the past things I have written please do have my email ad email@example.com., thanks for reading I am continuing the story bye now and god bless.
Andrea on 20-04-2015
my nursing experiences
Agree with Mike - fascinating stuff, but the punctuation and layout make it a bit hard to read.
Welcome to UKA!
deadpoet on 21-04-2015
my nursing experiences
Hi Dougie- I am sorry the layout here prevented me from reading. I hope it's not my screen- because the text was all over it! What happened?
I'd love to read it if you could correct the layout.
thanks for the comment , sorry for the layout was trying to modify it than suddenly it went like this I think I pressed the wrong key any way you can suggest how to correct it will be much obliged have contacted Andrea who is very helpful .thank you anyway.
Rab on 22-04-2015
my nursing experiences
Can only agree with the other comments. Your story has real life in it, and I'd love to read more. Hope you can get the layout sorted out!
thanks for the comment , was trying to modify it and suddenly the gap develop any suggestion how to set it right? I must have pressed the wrong key sorry trying to correct, thanks anyway bye.
deadpoet on 23-04-2015
my nursing experiences
Andrea will get back to you I know- as soon as she can. She'll help you.
|human achievement (posted on: 06-04-15) |
how human race is racing to get on top of each other
Buildings are growing taller and taller Humans are getting smaller and smaller Though so much is in progress yet there is regress in human life as the rich are enjoying the honey yet the poor has no money and struggle to see the next day why there is so much poverty and it is growing day by day what is the secret of getting rich and what is the recipe for success I know someone will say hard work but hard work is what we all do throughout our lives, surely there must be something else,somewhere....
Archived comments for human achievement
sweetwater on 06-04-2015
I absolutely agree with you, if anything I would say the poor work even harder than the wealthy for their money. A very good ' up to the minute ' write. Sue.
deadpoet on 07-04-2015
Yes a good write- the worlds banks are owned by only 65 extremely wealthy families and they don't give a hoot to how anybody else feels let alone if they starve! But your words can't be said often enough. One day good will prevail- one day.