Ward Two

You may have already read of my admiration for the Waitakere Hospital. If you missed it here is the link. http://www.swimwatch.net/2018/05/waitakere-hospital.html In fact I get a bit annoyed at some who insist on calling Waitakere, a hospital. A health spa, I’m prepared to accept. A health resort is preferred.

But I have spent this week in a new medical location – Ward Two. Of course I shouldn’t need to tell you where Ward Two is located. To live in New Zealand means you will know that already. But for new arrivals reading this as they jet into the country Ward Two is in the North Shore Hospital. And I tell you what – Ward Two is very good. Is it as good as or better than Waitakere? That’s hard to say. Let me explain why.

North Shore Hospital is huge. The internet tells me there are 600 beds. I was ordered to report to Ward Two at 10.30am on Monday morning. I arrived far too early at 9.30am. As I walked up to the reception the head nurse for the ward, a chap called Jason, smiled and warmly exclaimed, “Hello, you are Mr. Wright, aren’t you? Welcome to Ward Two.” An hour early, in a 600 bed hospital and the guy knew my name – unbelievable. I know $600 a night hotels that can’t match that standard of service. You can’t help but think this might not be so bad after all.

By 10.30am, my due arrival time remember, I had been admitted, provided with a cup of tea and an efficient doctor had my lungs connected to a plastic pipe that was draining three liters of unwanted fluid from my left lung. I recently read a report from the United States that offered their opinion of a national health service such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The table below shows part of the report.

Last week, the most senior Republican on the Senate finance committee, Chuck Grassley, took NHS-baiting to a newly emotive level by claiming that his ailing Democratic colleague, Edward Kennedy, would be left to die untreated from a brain tumour in Britain on the grounds that he would be considered too old to deserve treatment.

“I don’t know for sure,” said Grassley. “But I’ve heard several senators say that Ted Kennedy with a brain tumour, being 77 years old as opposed to being 37 years old, if he were in England, would not be treated for his disease, because end of life – when you get to be 77, your life is considered less valuable under those systems.”

I don’t know what Chuck Grassley knows that I don’t. But I do know that at the time I was due to arrive at Ward Two I had already been welcomed and treated and was beginning my recovery. And Grassley’s comments about age are rubbish as well. This morning the same doctor that connected my lung to a plastic pipe was removing the connection. She wanted me to begin taking some blood thinning medication. As part of her explanation she said, “You are still very young and we want to make sure you don’t have a stroke.” My wrist band tells me I am 70 years and 3 months. Not quite sure how all that fits with Grassley’s Ted Kennedy story. Oh that’s right it doesn’t.

This morning after being freed from the plumbing I was feeling sufficiently better that I began exploring the ward. To add more steps I left the ward to walk to some comfortable couches that are in a sun-trap in the corridor. I’d only been there five minutes when my nurse, her name is Vanessa, trundles up with her blood pressure machine. She says, “Thought you could hide from us didn’t you.” My God I thought, not only do they welcome you, they’re on the alert in case you try and escape as well.

There is one other chap I should mention, Dr Janak De Zoysa. He has been supervising my care and is brilliant. Whether it’s good news or bad he quietly explains what’s happening in a measured tone that gives the impression he has all the time in the world just for you. I remember when I was learning aerobatics my instructor quietly said, as we spun towards the sea, “David it is time to recover this airplane.” Some professionals inspire confidence – Dr. De Zoysa is one of those.

I have to get this posted and prepare myself for lunch. I’m looking forward to that. Today is bacon and egg savory pie, some jelly and ice-cream, orange juice and a cup of tea. Sounds good and it usually is.

You have probably guessed I’m a bit of a Ward Two fan. If you break a leg skiing in Queenstown this winter or are having a baby in the Chatham Islands get yourself into Ward Two of North Shore Hospital. It is a renal ward but I’m picking they can probably do good legs and babies as well. Ward Two, you can’t beat it any day. They will know you are coming.

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