"It's not my fault I'm ill"

About: St Mary's Hospital (London)

I had a laparoscopy to investigate possible endometriosis. Waiting (over an hour) for the procedure I was cold and asked for a blanket - the nurse I spoke to told me she was the wrong kind of nurse to get me a blanket and I should ask someone else. How was I supposed to know who to ask and how was it my fault that I didn't know? Already distressed about the operation I was made to feel stupid, which didn't help and it was pretty difficult to attract anyone's attention. When I came round after the operation I was in a lot of pain - 8 out of 10. I was given morphine which brought it down to 6 out of 10 and had to ask for more - I was in a lot of pain and distress. Maybe because of the morphine or the pain I didn't seem to recover as quickly as other patients who'd had the same procedure. It was very difficult to attract a nurse's attention - as soon as I'd spoken to one person they'd be called away to do something else and I'd have to wait what felt like a long time before another nurse got close enough for me to attract their attention. Then they'd be called away and it all happened again. I was made to feel that I was a nuisance to them and they really wished I'd go away. It was getting close to the time when the unit was due to close and they wanted me to leave but I was still in a lot of pain, faint and feeling sick, and in floods of tears. I made myself leave but I needed an injection to stop me being sick in the taxi home and they made me feel it was completely my fault that I needed it and I should just pull myself together and stop being ill. Other people felt well enough to leave quickly after a laparoscopy - why couldn't I? I felt totally inadequate and given that it was surgery about a female reproductive problem I was feeling quite inadequate enough as a woman already. I was deeply distressed about the whole thing and in a lot of pain for almost a month and even now thinking back to it my eyes are filling with tears. Telling patients that they shouldn't feel pain or nausea and implying that they should be able to pull themselves together and go home quicker really doesn't help. Surely nurses must know that, however stressed, overworked or understaffed they are?

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››

Updates, changes and questions related to this story