Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hospital Watch

A very warm welcome to this first blog of 2014, I hope that you have all enjoyed the festivities to the fullest. As some of you might remember just before Christmas we had a phone call from a friend who didn't feel well at all, and could we possibly run them into hospital? Now those in the UK might query why we didn't call for an ambulance. There are two main reasons, the first being our geographical location. Maybe you have wondered why the blog is linked to the back of beyond? Well we are rather remote up here, and it takes a good half an hour to get anywhere close to civilisation. So to call an ambulance out will often take longer than getting cars out and doing the run ourselves. In a real emergency we would go and batter the door down to the doctor who lives in Strelets. Another reason for not calling an ambulance is that they have next to nothing in them. The good news is that they now have a fishing tackle box of emergency supplies, and there are meant to be newer, better equipped ambulances in VT. Which is why everyone tried doing their little bit with BinkyAid the other year.

The weather was atrocious with thick freezing fog, which could have caused even more of a delay. So it was decided that it was going to be best if we made the trip. So the patient was given an aspirin, calmed down and made comfortable in the car and off we set. Previously when we have had thick fog like this it clears as we get further down off of the ridge. This time the fog stayed with us all of the way to the hospital. We could have seen the doctor in Strelets but things seemed to have quietened down, so we decided to press on. Anyway to cut a long story short we made it all the way to the hospital with only seeing one other vehicle. So it isn't only the midday sun that attracts mad dogs and Englishmen.

Without having to face any major problems we made it to the hospital in Gorna, as it is the closest one that I know with an A&E section.. I only know of one way to get to the department and that involves ignoring a No Entry sign. So with no other vehicles about, or police we made our way up there. I dropped them off and went to park up in what is probably the doctor's executive car park. Anyway I followed them into the department and straight away they were receiving attention, not like the hanging around amongst the drunks in a UK waiting room. It was quite fortunate really as there was only a wooden bench to sit on. They were being vey thorough with the tests, and twenty minutes later I was starting to regret that final mug of coffee. As there were two of us waiting we could take turns just in case either of us was needed for something.

Now one of the problems with an older hospital is that it has the original plumbing. This is what I commonly refer to as a "Pharoah's Head". Try not to breathe too deeply if you are sitting close to the screen. Now most of the time these aren't too much of a problem for us men, but for the ladies strong thigh muscles are required. Once I had finished what I needed to do I used the flush, which is when I discovered the first problem. The water pipe had corroded at floor level, which caused a Tsunami across the floor and me to try tap dancing backwards to avoid soggy shoes. I then had to tell Net to leave it for 5 minutes to let the floor dry a bit. I rather gallantly suggested that I looked after her long coat while she attended to business. A further ten minutes and it was decided that the patient was going to be kept in for another couple of days so that more tests could be carried out. We were then asked by the doctor if we could return to the village and get a few bits and pieces, and bring them in. So that would have been an hour back to the village, then an hour back and then an hour back home again in thick freezing fog. Trade might have been slow for them that night but I didn't fancy being another couple of customers for them. Fortunately the patient said that tomorrow would be fine, and explained where all of the bits and pieces could be found.

Sure enough everything was found and packed for a couple of days stay. This included such vital things as clean clothes, wash gear, toothbrush, bottled water and loo roll. The cats were fed and watered, and we were off again. First stop Gorna to get something edible. Now although you do get fed in hospital, it is not overly brilliant or appetising. Perhaps it's the equivalent of compo rations which had the effect of bunging you up. Even on the ward once we found it, the Pharoah's heads were still about. I did wonder how I would have coped if I had my gall bladder removed here and not back in the UK just before we moved out. The service mentality brought to mind how we overcame such things when we were out in Brunei, although someone did have to sacrifice a patio chair. Maybe western thigh muscles are just not as strong.

The hot water also seemed to be at a bit of a premium, as apparently it was very intermittent to say the least, so anyone looking at a stay in hospital is advised to take wet wipes and hand gel. For those who are ex-military I would suggest treat it like going on exercise. Although I'm not certain that they would take very kindly to people brewing up over a hexy burner between the beds.

So if you do have to go into hospital you will probably have to rely on outside help. Even for something as simple as a drink there is no tea trolley, but there are plenty of vending machines about. The hospital itself might look a bit tired and old, but then again so do I at times. The attention and the treatment seems that much better than that in the UK. There also seem to be plenty of people pushing brooms and mops about. One thing I did notice is that although there was no smoking in the building, you do have to run the smoke gauntlet just to get through the main  doors and into the hospital, as it is like a smoker's scrum.


  1. A new follower to the blog, and a very warm welcome to you marsiankata. Thank you for taking the time to read them :o)

  2. Thank you for taking the time to read the blog Nicky, and for also deciding to follow it too

  3. A very warm welcome to Nelly who has just started to follow the blog too.

  4. Just in case people were wondering the patient is now back at home with so many tablets that they rattle when they jump :o)