Six Months Away

I got a couple of pressure sores. Bad ones. One on my sacrum and one on my coccyx. Actually I got a couple of actual pains in the arse. And because of my reduced sensation I didn’t notice quite how bad they had got until suddenly, and despite having district nurses call on me regularly to dress them, they became really bad. The sores got all infected and I got all delirious and incapable and ended up in hospital having intravenous antibiotics. And what seemed like endless blood tests. I stayed in hospital for a month, bad food and all. I didn’t sleep much.

The hospital take pressure sores seriously. They take them seriously because the hospital get fined if patients develop sores on the wards. So I got lots of attention and met people from a department called Tissue Viability. The Tissue Viability people had the air of a crack team, an elite unit. They used fancy words like exudate and granulation. They used something clever called Flaminol and they used Manuca honey dressings which have miracle-working properties and they packed the sores with something even more clever than Flaminol and Manuca honey made from seaweed.

It all worked well enough for me to be declared medically fit and ready to leave. I was saved from becoming that modern pariah, the bed blocker.

But they wouldn’t let me go home. Instead I got farmed out to a nursing home for six months while the home’s pressure sore whisperers carried on the job of slowly and eventually getting rid of the sores. Now pressure sores are stubborn and don’t want to be got rid of. You have to stick with them because they definitely stick with you. The whisperers were stickers.

Six months is a long time, especially when you spend most of the time flat on your back in bed as I did. Not only flat out but being turned every three hours through the day and night. Propped up by a pillow under alternate buttocks.

The sleep deprivation wasn’t good but the food was better. Not great, but better. More like school dinner than hospital dinner. So lots of meat and two veg, and lots of puddings. Spotted dick, semolina, even tapioca. No gypsy tart though. Amazingly I did start to put on weight. The home was well run and the staff were professional, caring and friendly. It was alright. In fact it was so alright that I might have got a bit institutionalised.

I got used to being fed watered and toileted. Everything was done for me, and that was lovely. But after a while it felt just a bit too lovely. Not good to lose control like that.

I got bored. I watched too much bad tv, I looked aimlessly out of the window for too long. The pressure sore healing was taking too long. Everything was taking too long.

But at last the healing did work and the sores closed up. They let me out and I was home, with a new regime to cope with. Carers from a care agency and an overhead hoist to raise me in and out of bed. But best of all a different view from a different room.

Oh and I wrote some verse while I was away. Six months having nursing care and all I got was a lousy haiku triptych. Here it is,



driven to certainty

yet between the soft covers

a glimpse of sunset


a lot of padding

along the dark corridors

a simple bright word


superstition but

sometimes even augury birds

don’t leave their cages



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