First Do No Harm

Ah, the good old NHS can’t live with it, can’t get MRSA without it.

Actually I may have said this before, but I think the service we’ve had from the GP practice and hospital has been really very good. The medical staff have all been great at medical things, tho the organisation side can be a bit chaotic!

Two good examples of this came in the same week as my ear infection saga. Starting with our visit to the maternity facilities at the hospital. I think the idea of this was to reassure expectant mothers; it really didn’t work! First there was the long and complicated explanation of where to go when in labour, this went something along the lines of:
Midwife: So, if it is a Tuesday, Friday or bank holiday Monday, between the hours of 3pm and 11.57pm you should go to A unless there is an R in the month then you should go to B, unless it’s after 9pm, then you should just go to A&E, if it’s a Monday, Wednesday or the Queens official birthday…
Pregnant lady: Er, can you just tell us where to go when we’re in extreme pain please?

Then we had the tour of the facilities, to be fair these all seemed very good, clean and bright etc. The hospital has a midwife only unit next to the medical unit and all being well we hope to go there, the main benefit being that you and your partner get to stay in your own room together for up to 24 hours after the birth, at which point you can go straight home. No wards, no new Dads being kicked out. Problem is there are only 7 of these rooms:
Pregnant lady: So, does it ever get so busy that there isn’t a room available?
Midwife: Well yes! We’re very busy you know, we delivered 7000 babies last year (yada yada yada)
PL: Riiiiight, so would we be sent to another hospital then?
MW: Well yes! There are an awful lot of people having babies in London you know (yada yada yada)

At some point after this the MW spotted the look of panic on our faces as we all imagined long ambulance rides through London traffic (is there any room at the inn?). She then desperately backtracked, saying it was very rare not to have space etc. But I think the damage was done by then! All in all I felt less reassured after the visit than I did before (hence subsequent panic and much use of relaxation CD).

The second hospital visit was for an antenatal physiotherapy workshop, this was very helpful – when the poor physio could get a word in over all the pregnant ladies bouncing on giant gym balls discussing where to buy maternity bras (amazing what happens when you put a group of pregnant, total strangers in a room together). We talked about looking after our backs, getting the baby into a good position for birth and (inevitably) the good ‘ole pelvic floor muscles (seems everyone wants to talk to you about that!). The only problem was I missed the first half hour of the class as I was sitting (as directed by the NHS text message reminder) in the physio unit reception. The mistake only came to light when the physio receptionist called her Mum, who was the antenatal receptionist, who told her the class was up there! Apparently everyone else had had paper letters, which said on them to go to the physio unit, but the physio in charge had crossed this out and written go to antenatal instead *rolls eyes* .

Hopefully only one more hospital visit now before the main event. In a couple for weeks I’m going to a talk on pain relief, I just hope I don’t need gas and air to get through that experience!


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