In the course of recent blogs, I have been recounting my adventures in the Manor Hospital in Oxford, where I had surgery to replace my replacement hip and remove a shattered femur which had failed to heal after an earlier operation.
When I was discharged from the Manor, I was told that I would be given an appointment two weeks after the operation to come back to have my dressings checked.
A couple of days before this appointment was due, I received a voicemail telling me that this would be a telephone consultation and not to come in to the hospital. This seemed a bit odd to me, so I rang them. I was once again told not to come in and that a doctor would call me.
On the appointed day I waited and I waited. No one rang.
The next day, I rang the Manor Hospital to find out what was going on. The person answering my call could find no note on their system to indicate what should have happened with my case the previous day. For that matter, there was no note on the system to indicate that the surgeon had seen my previous message enquiring what was going on.
At around 5 pm, one of the surgeons called. He didn’t know how the mix-up had happened but he assured me that they had definitely been expecting me to come in for a face-to-face consultation the day before.
What’s more, I would have seen a physio.
The surgeon ended our conversation by asking me to contact my GP and get a district nurse to check the dressing. So that’s what I did.
My GP was less than impressed. The hospital hadn’t given them any information about the surgery.
I pointed out that I had got a friend to deliver a letter to my GP that I was given on discharge from hospital. The GP told me, however, that this had turned out simply to be a list of medications.
I then tried to explain as best I could what the operation was that I had had. My GP listened in growing dismay.
I have to say that at this point the Community Health Team suddenly whirred into action. A district nurse came and removed the dressing on my leg which, by that time, had been in place for some time. The nurse assured me the wound was looking good.
Then another positive thing happened. An occupational therapist from the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre phoned to ask if there was anything I needed. I asked if they could refer me to a physio at my local hospital, the Great Western in Swindon. Such a reference would not only involve crossing the boundary between one Area Health Authority and another, but also between the private health sector and the NHS. I wasn’t at all sure that anything would actually happen!
Despite my misgivings, though, lo and behold, a physio from the Community Health Team duly contacted me.
At the time of writing, they have already been to visit me twice. This is so much better than after my operation last summer, when I was left to rehabilitate myself. The physio has given me exercises to do and organised for me to receive a perching stool to go in the kitchen, and for my sofa to be raised to a better level. It is so much easier to get in and out of the sofa now that I think I will keep it at this level.
The physio is due to come back next week and I hope he will be able to help me with other practical living and mobility issues.