"Why did the staff in the falls department not detect the reason for my falls?"

About: Northern General Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

A recent communication from Patient Opinion through my GP invites me to 'make the wisdom of patients available to the NHS'.

Far be it for me to believe that I can teach the medics their professional skills, but I might perhaps offer some observations.

Some time before Christmas last I fell down stairs four times in two hours. I was admitted to NGH badly bruised and unable to walk without help. I was discharged in the New Year. Christmas was a non-event. I had stair rails fitted, without which I would have been seriously vulnerable to further falls.

After extensive tests, the medics conceded, reluctantly in my opinion, that they had been unable to identify the cause of the falls and I was discharged.

Months later, I remained effectively unable to ascend or descend concrete steps. I did fall once recently on a sloping concrete path, fortunately with little effect. I could not use the bath until a rail was recently fitted - five months after it was recommended. I have had to exercise extreme caution turning round on the spot.

Two days ago something totally unexpected happened.

I can now walk down stairs without the rail, though it will take time to acquire the confidence to do so. I can turn round without any feeling of imminent imbalance. I haven't tried the concrete steps yet, but I am ok with care on the path.

What happened to bring about this near miracle?

I bought a new pair of hearing aids to replace the ones which had gradually become ineffective! Not only am I beginning to hear the TV news again, but I can hold a conversation and can walk without shuffling. I am reminded of the observation that concert-goers often appear half asleep. It is all to do with computer power. Human computer.

The brain, like a computer, only has so much processing power available. It devotes a large portion of that power to maintaining the sense of sight. Close your eyes and the brain no longer needs that processing power. It can devote that power to appreciation of the music. My brain - the audio department - has for a long time struggled to maintain the sense of hearing - with little success. There was little processing power left for my ears to maintain the sense of balance, which I lost several times. Thanks to the hearing aids I can hear without struggling. I even have processing power to spare to help stay upright.

Do they know all this already in the Falls Clinic I wonder?

I submitted my comments to patient opinion some time ago. These mainly concerned unpleasant ward treatment. These comments were published on the site, but I have disappointingly received no comment from the hospital.

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