I’ve Got Hospitals Sussed


I’m becoming a bit of an expert on Auckland hospitals. I’ve done time in Auckland Hospital, North Shore Hospital, Waitakere Hospital and, as an outpatient only, Green Lane Hospital. And I think I’ve got the average hospital stay sussed. Each visit is divided into two portions. First there is the admittance and repair and second the consolidation and release.

To be fair the first portion is not all that pleasant. You’re usually not feeling the best and a hundred dedicated people are devoted to fixing whatever has gone wrong. Life is busier than Queens Street on Christmas Eve. Each day moves from breakfast, to blood test, to weight, to blood pressure, to sugar levels, to oxygen absorption, to morning tea, to ECG, to specialist rounds, to time for a wash, to blood pressure and sugar levels again, to lunch, to a visit to the surgical team, to can “I clean your room”, to another blood pressure and sugar test, to another visit from the consultant, to dinner, to a dressing on that wound and ends at 3.00am with the days final blood pressure and sugar test. The Longest Day movie has nothing on the first part of a hospital stay.

When you just want to do nothing the first portion of a hospital visit involves an activity level unmatched anywhere in the civilized world. It’s difficult but I don’t mind the organised chaos. I’m not well and an army of skilled and caring people are doing their friendly best to fix the problem. Occasionally I irrationally ask myself whether the cure is worse than the disease. But that disappears when another friendly nurse appears asking, “Hello Mr Wright, how are we feeling?”

You have to give credit to the army of people devoted to keeping you busy all day. Without exception they are positive, up-beat, caring and polite. Their days must be pretty busy too, looking after dozens of people like me. But it never shows. From surgeon to cleaner – training and skill are different but their generous concern is remarkably similar. I know I could not keep it up day after day, year after year. But these guys in Auckland hospitals are made of sterner stuff.

A remarkable example is the team that looks after vascular surgery at North Shore Hospital. If you ever need anyone to care for your pipes this group of plumbers are the people to contact. Good people doing skilled things is always a pleasure to observe. Whether it is Michael Phelps swimming a 400IM, or John Walker running 1500 meters or a North Shore vascular surgeon drilling out an artery there is a common quality. Some people, it seems, are born to do difficult stuff easily. Just visit the North Shore vascular surgery. You’ll see what I mean.

Eventually all the activity begins to work. You begin to get better. And so begins the second portion of your stay – consolidation and release. Now make the most of this period. It won’t last long. Veteran nurses like North Shore’s Margo, Kathryn, Hannah and Sarah know when you are ready to go. Getting back on the horse is important. And they are going to make sure that is what happens. But for a couple of days things are going to be good.

I’ve got used to the routine, I’m feeling better, the view out my window is stunning, I order breakfast, lunch and dinner and have it delivered. I’ve stayed at worse hotels that Auckland’s hospitals. For as long as you can get away with it, this part of the journey is like a well-run health spa. Some people say they hate being in hospital but for these few days there is no truth in that. Full service, twenty four hours a day, spectacular care, what is there not to like? And don’t believe the stories you hear about hospital food. Of course it’s basic – this is not Sails Restaurant, but it is good wholesome stuff.

And I always remember, these journeys are provided by my caring country free of charge. Compared to Donald Trump and his capitalist health care we are indeed in a fortunate place.

So thank you again – North Shore, Waitakere and Auckland – you have fixed me up again and I’m on my way, the better for it.

But before I go Nurse Margo tells me her son is interested in a career as a pilot. I wish him well. He may even learn at my old training airport, Palmerston North. Lifting an airplane off the ground and heading out over Auckland Harbour takes a pile of beating; even better perhaps than the last couple of days in his mum’s hospital.

0 responses. Leave a Reply

  1. Swimwatch


    Be the first to leave a comment!

Comments are closed.