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Donna Gee - Spain's Grumpy Old Gran


Pain in Spain, Part 2: A night in the hospital of nursing nasties
25 September 2015 @ 14:06

THE elderly holidaymaker was clearly in need of of a nurse. “Senorita, por favor,” whined the old man from Madrid

in increasingly desperate cries to the night nurses. In the dark hours of a Saturday evening, I had joined the occupants of the thinly-populated observation ward at Torrevieja Hospital after throwing a wobbler in at a local bar near my Guardamar home.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a wobbler as a faint distraction from life. Apparently I passed out as we waited for the bar quiz to begin and was unconscious for five minutes. Don't worry folks, it was quite a while back and I am happy to say I am in the best of questionable health!

Amid fears that I’d had a stroke, the hospital medics decided to carry out a CT scan the following morning. By the time they did it, the ward staff had blown my brains out with their attitude to the poor Madrileno.

I have nothing but praise for the hospital doctors, who were all knowledgeable, friendly, polite and sympathetic. Exactly the opposite, in fact, to most of the nurses.

The three girls on night duty ignored the increasingly agitated calls of the Madrileno, burying their heads in paperwork for at least 10  minutes as if to say “WE are in charge – we’ll come when we have nothing better to do.”

It wasn’t as if the patient was an irritating whinger who’d been giving them unnecessary hassle. Until then, he hadn’t uttered a sound all night.

The trio seemed to have forgotten that nursing is about caring. They gave the impression that they had no interest whatsoever in the patients as people.

I was merely No.31, the number above my bed, as I was to discover several times during the 18 hours I spent on the ward. My first personal trauma came when I asked a passing nurse, who smelt even more of garlic than her colleagues, if I could go to the loo.

‘’No es posible,’’ spelt out Ali Oli Breath, producing a bedpan and thrusting it onto the sheet beneath me.

Pardon the toilet humour but any woman who has used a bedpan will know how difficult it is to do a water-tight job. Ali Oli Breath didn’t even check and moments after she disappeared with the used pan, I discovered that the sheet I was lying on now had  liquid assets. For 15 minutes I wriggled about trying to park my backside on a dry bit.

Ali Oli Breath eventually condescended to change my sheets – her accompanying ‘tut-tut’ hardening my resolve to let my bowels explode rather than attempt to make the other stuff hit the pan.

I’d already experienced an uncomfortable ride being wheeled to and from the X-ray department by a Morticia Addams lookalike, an expressionless zombie whose long black tresses I found both hairy and scary.

I never got close enough to establish whether she was a member of the Ali Oli family. But at least Thing kept his fingers out of it and didn’t pop in to lend her a hand.

The worst deprivation of all was being denied food for my entire stay.

I eventually became so hungry that I threatened to rip the cannula out of my arm and discharge myself unless I was given something to stop my  innards rumbling.

Just go and ask the doctor, PLEASE! ”, I barked at Ali Oli Breath (Day Staff) when she insisted I still remained on the No Food list.

Yet  I’d by now been told by the doc that I could go home once my BP dropped to an acceptable level. Why on earth would I be starved when I was due to be discharged within a hour or so?

There was no logic to Ali Oli Breath kicking up a stink. She was making her own rules….and sure enough, the duty doctor took my side.

If the tortilla hadn’t tasted so good, I swear it would have ended up adorning Ali Oli’s face.




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