GOOD BYE 2020
Most people that know me and that either follow me on Facebook or oneoffifteen.com will be well aware that I was admitted to hospital twice in 2020. In March I was admitted to the Victoria Hospital Kirkcaldy (VHK), this was with pneumonia and I was in for a week. This was more or less a week into the first UK wide Covid-19 lockdown.
Then on the 14th April 2020 I was admitted back into the VHK, only to be transferred at high speed to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE). I spend just short of nine weeks on the cardiac/thoracic ward 102. During the first two weeks period in the RIE, I was seriously ill. I had no idea at first that I had sepsis then a rare chest infection.
Once again this was during lockdown. During my time in the RIE I had missed my little boy Nathan turning seven years old and my wife Kirsty’s birthday (not my place to say how young she is).
When I was finally discharged, it felt great to get back home to my family that I couldn’t see in the flesh as no visitors were allowed into the hospital, a ruling that is still in place to this very day.
Throughout the rest of the year, even though I have chronic pain due to all the numerous operations I have had, I felt better and stronger. I would get back to taking Nathan to school and walking back with him. Although, sometimes when I would be feeling too weak, our friend who’s daughter is in the same class as Nathan would sometimes take him, and back to school for me. Something I am really grateful for and appreciate.
I am not going to say that 2020 was all that bad as we had some good times throughout the year. Although like so many, I did miss getting on a plane and going on holiday, but hopefully I’ve plenty years in me for many more.
As Christmas was approaching I was starting to feel really unwell. It was gradually building up and I would feel it when I would be walking back from Nathan’s school with him.
A few days after Christmas I started to go downhill and feel really unwell. It was on the 29th of December that Kirsty had called my GP for a home visit. After the GP had checked me over, he told me that I had pneumonia and he prescribed an anti-biotic for me. My GP did say that I should consider going to the hospital, but with it being the festive period I didn’t want to go in.
Between myself, Kirsty and the GP we agreed to see what the anti-biotics would do.
My close friends and family would tell you that when it would come to Christmas and New Year, if you were to ask which one I would prefer then it would be New Year. That’s changed back to Christmas, thank’s to a certain wee boy and the big kid in me!
Since the first time I went ‘first footing’ in my teens in the 80’s, through my twenties, thirties and then up until I became ill, I loved Hogmanay and New Year’s Day.
Even though I very rarely drink alcohol these days, I still like to bring in the ‘bells’ with a beer or two. Hogmanay 2020 was really the first time that Nathan wanted to stay up for the ‘bells’. However, I had over ideas due to being ill and in agony.
Kirsty had to call the GP surgery again and at 5pm the same GP that saw me only two days earlier was back at the house to see me. After he checked me over, he had no option to arrange for me to have an ambulance pick me up and take me to the VHK. He was in the house for quite a while and he explained to me that due to the time of year and the Covid-19 pandemic that I would most likely have to wait. But he explained that if I got worse then we were to call 999.
As the hours from 6pm were counting down to the New Year, and while I was in bed in agony, Nathan would shout up how long we had left of 2020. It was a good distraction for me.
At around 9pm I had a phone call from a paramedic wanting to know how I was due to the ambulance shortages due to the high volume of calls. When I told him about the pain I was in, he said that he would put me “up the list”. However, if it got a lot worse, then I was to call 999. I didn’t see the point, I just carried on with the pain.
Then at 11.20pm (ish) came the knock on the door I had been expecting. When Kirsty answered the door, it was two lovely female paramedics to take me to the VHK. The paramedics were both lovely and really funny and they made our day when they said that they hoped that when it came to around the ‘bells’ that it “would be with lovely people, and you are”.
The paramedics had spent a wee while getting me ready to take me out to the ambulance. I can remember when it was finally midnight and then 2021, I could hear the fog horns from the River Forth and the sound of many fireworks going off when I was settled in the ambulance.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
We arrived at the VHK about 12.30am and I was greeted by the nurse that would be looking after me in the Medical Assessment Unit. I managed a laugh when she told me that I was the ‘first footer’ and we wished each other a Happy New Year.
Once settled I had a chest X-ray and then a CT scan. About an hour or so when a doctor told me the results that I had not only picked up pneumonia, I had picked up a series of infections in my chest and in the area that was ‘rebuilt’. So due to those results I was transferred to the RIE.
Once again the paramedics that transferred me to the RIE were both brilliant and we had a good blether. They told me that I was to go to Ward 112, the cardiac/thoracic High Dependency Ward (HDU). Once there, I managed to have a laugh to be greeted by the senior charge nurse for the ward who I have met before. I was greeted with “Happy New Year Kevin, so you’re back to see us again. We have got a lovely room for you”. The reason I was in a room was due to my infections in my chest and to keep me away from other patients.
After a few days in HDU, I was transferred to the main ward 102. This was my fourth time in both these wards over the years and I have got to know a lot of the staff.
Over the three weeks I spent in the RIE, I had nothing but a great service from all the staff that was directly in touch with me. It really does help that I have got to know them and they know my health condition.
I was finally discharged on 20th January 2021, even though I was still in a lot of pain. However, I am gradually getting better, building up my strength and stamina.
I have got nothing but the highest respect for the staff in the RIE, the VHK, The Western General Hospital Edinburgh and the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline. After all, I have lost count how many times that the NHS have saved my life now! Myself and Kirsty reckon at least between four and five times. Something that I will always appreciate and I will continue to tell those that are prepared to listen me.