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Four reassuring words every new patient should hear

“I LOVE my job,” said the handsomely bearded nurse to himself as he connected my wrist to a drip.

I had been admitted to a private hospital in Paphos and you can imagine just how reassuring those four words were for a new patient.

As it turned out I was to spend a month in that hospital and so had plenty of opportunity to see how well it was run. My wife, who spent hours with me every day, also had the chance to observe the routines. Trained at Guy’s hospital in London, and having a background of almost 40 years as a nursing sister, ten of them as a clinical tutor, she can spot a good or indifferent hospital environment at a hundred paces.

Now readers of the Paphos media are quick to criticise the medical services in Cyrus, and perhaps occasionally there is good reason. But generally speaking we are fortunate to have high levels of medical care and exceptionally well qualified practitioners. This was certainly my experience.

The hospital was kept wonderfully clean, and the atmosphere was calm, quiet and professional.

Indeed I was taken care of by two superb doctors, one an ex health minister no less, and the other a highly experienced general surgeon, who both made a call at least twice a day. This after what had been a somewhat traumatic double surgery within a few days, a bout of pneumonia, plus it taking several hours to get me round after the second anaesthetic. The follow up consultations after discharge were also thorough and faultless.

Patients should feel they are in a good and safe place where they will be well looked after, which in turn reduces worry and stress, and my experience provided that.

Still, no private hospital is a pound shop and the cost of a month’s stay will not be easily dismissed. While no hospital should be compared with the Ritz in terms of menus, when I graduated to standard fare after being fed via a drip, I found the offerings unimaginative and lacking in variety. Let’s put it this way, I doubt if the hospital’s accountant has to be overly concerned at the food budget.

My only other minor gripe was that the TV might have offered an English language channel bearing in mind the probable expat population coming through the hospital’s doors.

A real pleasure during my stay was walking down the adjacent corridor to see the newly arrived babies.

I gazed at a little boy and girl, just two hours old, in their cots in the nursery one day and wondered what their country would be like once they had lived the 30,300 days with which I had been blessed. What will presidents Christofias and Anastasiades and their successors have bequeathed them?

Over the years, and through several careers, including two separate and different military stints, I have been badly frightened a few times and I thought I would be stoic and brave during these disagreeable weeks. I was not quite what I hoped I would be.

There are all those unmentionable and indelicate procedures where men are perhaps not as accepting as women, and times when you have to be particularly patient as well as a patient.  You just have to remember that the doctors and nurses have seen it all before and nothing fazes or shocks them.

But the doctors said I had been a good patient, and uncomplaining. It seems many patients complain frequently which must be a bit depressing for the medical staff when they are being looked after as well as possible and procedures are for their own good.

I was not a complainer, but I did make clear to staff that while I didn’t mind what they did to me I wanted the procedures explained in detail. What were the drugs in the drip? Why another X-ray? What had they found? These questions are not unreasonable. They aid understanding and assist cooperation and reassurance.

Hospitals are full of wary and worried patients and few lay there unconcerned about what progress – or lack of it – they are making. Some patients are either too ill to care, or genuinely have no wish to be kept informed – but I am not among that number. I say be ready to ask questions and seek explanations

But my abiding memory of my month’s stay will be that male nurse’s quiet comment: “I love my job” and long may that be the ethos pervading any hospital.

 

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