Family misfortunes encore

Some of my reader might know that my mother has been in hospital. She was taken into Worcester Royal hospital on Friday 24 January due to severe abdominal pain, and had some procedures on Friday 31 January. These had to be delayed while various routine medications were still active. She was then transferred to the Alexandra hospital in Redditch. The Alex is the home of the specialist unit in Worcestershire that is best placed to handle my mother’s conditions.

I’ve been in Worcester since the afternoon of Monday 27 January. I’ve had to leave a lot of work in the very capable hands of colleagues at Napier, £eithChooses, Leith Central Community Council, Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council, New Town & Broughton Community Council and Community Councils Together on Trams. (I am doing some CC work remotely as I get snippets of time.) Huge thanks to all concerned!

Today has been a real mixed bag.

Firstly, I’d not brought enough insulin for an extended stay, so I had run out of fast-acting (NovoRapid) insulin, and was running low on slow-acting (Lantus) insulin. Worcester pharmacists could not act on my repeat-prescription form, and my GP could only post me another copy of that. A pharmacist also said that he couldn’t accept faxed prescriptions, but that my GP could contact him via NHS England’s secure document transfer system. However, my Edinburgh GP can’t access that system.

This morning, around 10am, my mother’s GP surgery told me I could register for emergency prescriptions. (It appeared to help that I was still on their system from when I last lived in Worcester – 35 years ago) So I was phoned around 1:30 by the surgery’s prescribing pharmacist asking me to come to her office. (It was about 10 metres from where I was waiting.)

After a fairly long chat with the caring and intelligent pharmacist, so she was sure I knew what to do with the insulin and how to deal with any issues, she wrote a prescription for a month’s worth each of Lantus and NovoRapid.

All fine now? No! The pharmacy at the surgery didn’t have either insulin in stock. Their other branch had sufficient Lantus but only a couple of NovoRapid cartridges. Two bus-journeys later, these were in my hands.

Elly then picked me up from this pharmacy and drove us and my sister to the Alex. (She arrived on Friday, and has been her usual fab self!) It appeared that my mum’s symptoms have decreased, but she is still very weak and frail. (She always will be frail, but she’s even more so just now.) However, now her hearing aids weren’t working, so conversations were in writing. My brother promised to bring new batteries for the aids later in the day.

Later, we were making good time on the homeward journey when due to incorrectly placed cones around roadworks, we hit some concrete, bursting both left tyres. The hire-car didn’t have a spare wheel – only one single-tyre bottle of sealant and a pump to get it and air into tyre wheel. That’s not much use when there are two flats.

Elly insisted I get a taxi to take me and my sister home, while she waited with the car for recovery services. (With hindsight, I should have put my sister in the taxi and stayed with Elly.) I’d texted my brother to let him know what was happening. At this point my phone was at 1% charge, so I was concerned that Elly wouldn’t be able to contact me if she needed.

My brother brought some life-saving coffee to Elly and waited with her until the AA arrived. The AA then took the car to a tyre-seller, where it was left with an explanatory note. My brother then brought Elly to my mum and sister’s house.

So tomorrow will include a trip to the tyre-seller to get tyres fitted, and a trip back to the second pharmacy to pick up the rest of the NovoRapid. Then we’ll go to Redditch to see my mum.

Morals, in no particular order:

  1. The separate NHS systems in England and Scotland don’t connect well, maybe not at all.
  2. Don’t trust road-cones!
  3. Always have at least two full back-up batteries for your phone.
  4. Carry a car cigarette-lighter to USB adaptor during any car journeys.
  5. My brother is great!

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