7 October 2020

A hospital visit in time of COVID-19!

Two weeks ago now our BBF had a show his face visit to our GP and he just mentioned in passing that his gallbladder had been giving him grief! Dr Aretz did an ultrasound scan and said it was time to remove it. Now you have to know that Dr Richard Aretz is also a sailor and has his own boat, so we get on well. He now rang a friend who just happened to be the Chief Surgeon in a hospital who was also a sailor! After a little discussion Dr Maciey agreed to see Alan that day! So off we went to the St Irmgadis Hospital in Süchteln, some 30 mins away by car. 

Alan was seen immediately and as sailors do they talked about sailing. After another ultrasound scan Dr Maciey confirmed that the gallbladder should be removed! How soon was the next question and our BBF answered as soon as you like would tomorrow be ok! Covid-19 reared it’s head now and Dr Maciey said a test had first to be done and so arrangements were made to have this and the pre-op check up and chat to be done on Friday 2 October! 

One is obliged to wear a mask and to disinfect one’s hands when entering the hospital and all staff moving about also wear masks! On 2 October Alan arrived early to first report to reception and get all the Medical Insurance stuff out of the way. Then after a bit of a wait Alan was seen by a surgeon called Mohammed, a Kurd from Iraq who discussed the detail and risks of the operation to remove the gallbladder. He took blood and took the throat and nose swabs for the Covid-19 test! Papers were signed and then Alan was passed over to a Polish anaesthetist who’s name we can’t spell who  discussed that side of the OP. Thereafter we were free to go.  

The OP was scheduled for Tuesday 7 October. Sigrid, Vincent’s grandma kindly agreed to take us to the hospital! Alan was told to ring up at 15:30hrs on Monday to find out the time to be in the hospital! He entered the details into his diary on the iPhone so that he would get reminded. On the day and time in question the clot was so busy ironing and watching TV that he forgot and didn’t make the call until 16:05hrs!! Now there was no answer, the secretarial staff had all gone home! After getting the number off the hospital’s internet webpage he rang the hospital switch board, who after a bit of faffing about connected him with the ward in which we would lie! Come at 07:00hrs, no better arrive at 06:45hrs! Memories of Army life flooded back where each person in the chain of command would subtract a minimum of 15mins from the true time to be on parade meaning you were woken at Sparrow fart for an 08:00hrs parade! 

Sigrid bless her didn’t bat an eye when told that we needed to leave at 06:15hrs, she promptly said she’d pick us up at 06:00hrs! Had she served too we wondered! 

We were all keyed up if not quite with bright eyes and bushy tails on the morning in question! Our gallant BBF promptly forgot something when he was about to get in the car so rushed back to get it. He gave Sigrid a half loaf of his recently baked loaf of sourdough bread. It would be a shame to waste it while he was three days away in hospital! The humans both wore masks for the journey, though we do think it illegal for drivers to wear masks while driving because the police want to catch your smile on the speed camera.
Now Autumn is here it was our first early morning out in the dark and rain. The journey was uneventful, though both humans expressed surprise at the level of traffic out and about so early. 

It was as we thought a hurry up and wait morning. We were shown to a bed in a room with a patient who would be discharged later that morning! We never found out the name of the nice young man who was leaving! He had been operated on his left leg and had to wear a brace on it as if it was broken! The two humans discussed football as the nameless patient was a keen almost professional fan of Borussia Mönchengladbach! He then kindly gave Alan a set of earphones with which to watch and hear TV! 

Our human now had to don hospital attire. A cold gown which ties at the back, a pair of net mesh underpants, a green hair covering and a cool pair of white stockings with a hole in each toe! A pretty nurse then came and shaved Alan’s tummy! She also put an armband round his right wrist telling him it was an “all inclusive “ armband! A first for us for we have never traveled all inclusive! 

Shortly after 10:00hrs they came for Alan and wheeled him off to the operating theatre. Outside his room he was, as all other staff moving about, required to wear a mask! Up in a lift and down a short corridor we stopped by a large serving hatch. It was our human that was to be served through the hatch! The bed was hoisted up to its full height and a conveyor belt came out and slid him through the hatch and onto the operating table! Here he was met by a nice friendly chap, we think was called Dr Winter! He was wheeled into a room to wait some more! 

Lying flat on his back looking up at the ceiling a pretty face with dark eyes and large spectacles filled his vision and promptly pulled down his mask and with the most beautiful of smiles said I’m Dr Henn and shall be putting you to sleep! 

Shortly thereafter she disappeared and he was wheeled into the operating theatre where they spread out his arms and promptly stuck needles into him. He said that it felt a little like being placed into a medieval torture chamber. The lovely Dr Henn then said he would begin to feel drowsy and that Alan should think of something nice. He replied that he would like to wake up again beside her in bed! A little nonplussed she said it would cost extra. As the oxygen and other gasses mask was placed gently over his mouth and nose Dr Henn gently stroked his face until he was well under. Now after the event Alan realises how much he has missed the TLC of physical contact with another human! 

Our BBF eventually woke up in the recovery room where Dr Winter and a Dr Achmed from Aleppo watched over one. Even in his slightly befuddled and dreamy self Alan discussed Syria and how much he liked it and how heart broken he was at the destruction! 

With Dr Winter he discussed caravanning as Dr Winter had just bought an English one and was well into travels with his van. Sadly he had noted that the increase in motor homes  had greatly reduced the space for campers and that the Covid-19 pandemic had made matters worse! 

Alan was later collected and taken back to his Ward. On the way the Nurse Thorsten said that if he wanted they could put him in a room with an en-suite bathroom as the old room only had a wash basin! Needless to say Alan thanked him and said yes please. He then had to explain to Thorsten where the key to the safe was kept. Alan had given it to Jamie to look after and it was wrapped into his Pilgrim neckachief! 

Once the move had been completed and Thorsten had helped Alan put on his pyjamas our BBF dozed the afternoon away as the effects of the anaesthetic gradually diminished. Someone said at some stage that there would be nothing to eat today but that the next day would be soup only. Then a Dr must have taken pity on him as Thorsten came with a cup of peppermint tea, (something Alan always associates with being old or ill in Germany) and one slice of white bread, butter and cheese. 

Much to our pleasure we held a Whatsapp video call with our Worms Family, and then we slept some more! Shortly after our video call Thorsten came and hooked Alan up to a drip. This was a pain killer he was told. As it was only a small drip it was removed later in the evening! 

We watched TV now until about 22:00hrs when we turned the lights out and went to sleep! 
 Our second day in hospital was uneventful! The morning circus of nurses and doctors coming in and taking, blood, temperature etc started at around 07:30hrs followed by a light breakfast! 

Alan had a bit of a strip down flannel wash and then sat and read, while we Bears attempted to write it all down. Petra and Vincent had a short video call to make sure all was well, which was doubly nice. Alan used SMS to chat to the other half of his patchwork family during the day. Christopher has cocked up his iPhone by changing the password which he did not write down, or tell his mum what it was, and after three attempts can’t get in anymore! So no more whatsapp chats with him! Moni has not yet taken her iPhone into use and still uses a steam driven mobile! Hence SMS is the method of maintaining contact! 

Our human when he got bored with reading, paced up and down the room like a caged lion. He told us it was an attempt at keeping a modicum of fitness. He did this a few times during the day. He complained though that his stomach muscles ached and moving around in bed was not so easy anymore and he felt like he was now an ancient geriatric! We kept quite and didn’t remind him that he is already a 74 year old geriatric, as he might have thrown us teddies in the corner and sulked! 

The staff are kindness and patience itself. They came a  number of times during the day to ensure our human had all he needed. He was allowed lunch, which included soup, but also rice and meatballs! 

So the forewarned soup only diet was a myth of someone’s imagination! A lady came later in the afternoon to ask what Alan wanted to eat the next day and this confirmed that he would be eating what they call a light diet but included solid food and coffee for breakfast! Coffee though can only be had during the day, Germans just insist on pepper mint tea for old folks in the evening. Alan remarked to us, go with the flow don’t buck the system! 

In the afternoon after watching a cooking program we slept some until the evening meal was served. Then we watched TV for the rest of the evening. The events in America are alarming. If the whole of the administration come down with COVID-19 who is going to run the country! 

Just before turning the lights out we watch the Lanz talk show on ZDF and they had an American woman supporter of the Republican Party and Donald Trump who was floundering, but attempting to justify Trump and hi policies. She really floundered when she tried to explain that Trump saying that he could just kiss and grab women by their pussy,  was just locker room talk and meant nothing. The other all German panel members looked incredulously. We couldn’t take her poor attempt at argument and switched the TV off and went sleep! 

We were rudely awoken at 06:30hrs when a nurse came in with a new patient to occupy the next bed to ours. A Herr Zimmermann. Our human rolled over and did his best to ignore them. By 07:30hrs it was all over trying to feign sleep as the No 2 Surgeon came on his rounds. He explained that the muscle ache our human was feeling was normal. They after all pumped up his tummy with gas which stretched it wide. Some patients complained of shoulder ache as well. Alan replied that he had neck ache too, which he had attributed to the hard pillows! All normal the surgeon replied. He also confirmed that we would be released tomorrow morning after breakfast, providing the liver values were ok. More blood would be taken today to test that it was. Certain values were a little high, though he didn’t say which and departed before we could ask! 

After the Drs circus had left Herr Zimmermann was wheeled away for his op and we were served breakfast!

Ibuprofen was given to help with the pain and to reduce inflammation, four times a day! 

After our breakfast our human had the three S’s as one would say in the Army! The plasters all had to be replaced after that and so he was able to get dressed and escaped outside for an hours walk round the town. 

When he returned Herr Zimmermann was back from his op, but clearly befuddled still, so we left him alone. Mind you the nurses didn’t, they came to test his blood sugar etc. He is a little hard of hearing, so all discussion takes place in a high volume setting. 

Lunch was served! 

And eaten! 

Now it is a question of reading and waiting until tomorrow when we hope to be let out! 

We were rudely awoken at 06:20hrs on our last day by a cheery nurse wanting to measure our blood pressure and to take our temperature. Then came the first Dr, Mohammed, who took the sexy white stockings off of Alan and Herr Zimmermann amongst other things that Drs do to patients so early in the morning. He mentioned that Alan’s liver values were all ok and that we could leave after breakfast! 

At 07:30hrs Dr Querling came and did his rounds and confirmed that we could leave the hospital today. Alan’s GP would take the stitches out and he was not to do any heavy lifting for at least 10 days, but yes he is allowed to ride his bike! 

Sigrid was early and kindly gave our BBF a lovely bunch of flowers to welcome him home and wish him a speedy recovery! 

In his letter box he found a surprise gift from Anna and Oliver! 

Life is good when you have such good friends!  Stay negative folks. 
Jamie and Hanna Bear! 

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