"Contributing to our own care"

About: Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske) / General surgery

(as the patient),

Last summer I suddenly suffered severe abdominal pain and was rushed to Treliske and underwent Laparotomy and Hartmann's Procedure which resulted in having a colostomy bag attached. In the early days it was a bit of a horrendous experience but not because of my treatment there.

I was there also for some time and am moved to praise the nursing and other specialist and support staff for my care. I would criticise only one nurse who was a lot of talk but not a lot of support and very defensive when I (politely) raised a couple of points.

I would not point the finger at the nursing staff especially given the number of patients they have to look after and the hours worked. I am old enough to remember when nurses worked 3 x 8 hour shifts, not the 12/13 hour shifts these days with 24 or more patients to look after. Yes, there may be delays in responding to patient bell calls but I think this is down to budget cuts, not lack of care and professionalism by nursing staff.

My main problem was the frequent need to urinate, especially in the night, but I solved this by getting the staff to give me one bottle to use and two to keep by my bed thus reducing the need to use the bell frequently. (I was bedridden for some days and needed to resolve this problem).

I think if we all try to be as positive as possible in difficult personal circumstances and try to contribute to our own care we can help to minimise some of the pressures placed on staff who work long hours meeting our care needs with not exactly great pay but with, I hope, satiisfaction at a job well done in trying circumstances.

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