12 April 2012 19:48

 By Adrianne Philippou
It’s not every day life jolts you into taking stock of what really matters.
So much of our daily routine is literally going through the motions, the odd highlight or lowlight to make us reconsider some course of action, reflect on a decision taken, to be taken… we’re all pretty much just doing the best we can under our own set of personal circumstances and getting on with ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ happens to be. At least, that’s how I believe most of us view life, most of the time.
Then something does come along that really jolts you. And there it is, the reality check.
My Dad was ambulanced to hospital on Friday afternoon; we thought he was having a stroke. As it turned out it was a series of other serious medical complications that led to his stroke like symptoms, all of which, thankfully, have been assessed and he is now being treated under supervision, in Limassol General Hospital. (And with a bit of luck, by the time you read this he will probably be causing bedlam for my poor mum because all being well, he’ll be home by then!)
But seriously, watching someone you love being carted off for emergency medical treatment in an ambulance, out of the blue, is a nasty wake up call. I was shocked when neither mum, my sister nor I were allowed to travel with dad in the ambulance. Under such circumstances, shouldn’t your nearest and dearest be with you?
Asking for an explanation it appears recent abusive family interference on other occasions has caused so much trouble for the medical services (not to mention endangering the patient’s life), that accompanying the patient is no longer permitted. (Will we ever learn?) So, trusting dad would be ok with the professionals, alone, we followed him on to the hospital.
I want to state publicly through my column that my Dad’s treatment throughout this last week has been given by a dedicated, professional, hardworking and seriously under-valued team of medical practitioners.
Yes, the hospital infrastructure is looking run down. Yes, resources are severely stretched. Yes, emotions run high on wards where morale and motivation are tested every minute of every day. Yes, there are so many ways that the experience of being hospitalised could be improved, for the patient, carer, visitor, doctor, nurse, ancilliary staff…there is an endless list of what could, should, be done and if we lived in an ideal world I’m sure aesthetics, comfort, refreshments, ambience would be considerably different. However, we don’t live in an ideal world, so simple appreciation and a heartfelt thank you will have to suffice.
In particular to Staff Nurse Stella. Forget medication, IV drips and dressings. She strode in like a breath of fresh air, singing, serenading, joking, gently teasing, always smiling, always respectful, always caring. She filled the ward with such warmth that my dad and his co-patient felt uplifted; it was visible in the way they responded to her, a real tonic.
Who needs drugs when simple humanity and compassion, mixed with professional and dedicated expertise can work such wonders? I was so touched by her approach. If only the senior member of staff who’d shown disapproval of her ‘style’ understood the benefits to patients who thrive on such interaction. Perhaps less time spent paper pushing, nit-picking and de-motivating staff and more time spent on real human contact would help give patients the boost so desperately needed.
Being hospitalised is a frightening enough experience as it is, why not encourage a more humane approach?