"Primary Carer of severely disabled person taken to hospital"

About: East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust James Paget University Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

In the early hours of Thursday morning I woke up and was shocked to find that I had had a heamorrhage - there was a lot of blood in my bed and also on the floor next to the bed but I did not know where the blood had come from.

I am carer to a disabled person who cannot get out of bed without assistance but I needed to get to her room to get help. I passed out in the hall but eventually managed to get her to press her home alarm and ask for the ambulance. The ambulance came quite quickly although they were delayed by the town bascule bridge.

There were 3 ambulance staff - one assessed my situation which was that a vein had burst in my leg and took me into the ambulance and immediately put me on a drip. In the meantime, another of the paramedics stayed with my mother for several hours, I understand, until a carer was sent from Crossroads. I was amazed at this and apparently he was very thoughtful and helpful . The paramedic who attended me was amazing - he really was a great help.

When I arrived at the James Paget Hospital I was attended to very quickly and the doctor immediately stitched the wound and a nurse bandaged it. The doctor told me to go home and do nothing for a day or so and then see my doctor in a week's time to have the stitches removed. I had an involuntary shaking fit and my breathing was slightly affected.

I eventually felt better and the nurse said I could go home. I only had my nightdress and dressing gown with me, no shoes - and was expected to walk across the carpark in my bare feet to a taxi which I had asked her to call. The nurse gave me some blue elasticated plastic bags to put over my feet so that was a help.

When I arrived home I came in and paid the taxi driver (it was fortunate I had enough cash in the house!). He had been very considerate in the circumstances although I did feel embarrassed getting into a taxi with my nightclothes on with a total non-medical stranger in the middle of the night.

The Crossroads carer made me a cup of tea, at my request, and then left.

A social worker contacted me to see if I needed a carer for myself and my mother - I said I would cope if I could have a carer for my mother. No carers were apparently available.

I then had a visit from 2 Admission Prevention nurses who were very good, very helpful - I had not been able to get my mother up in the morning and she had tried to get out of bed and couldn't so was lying in an awkward position. They washed and dressed her and then said they could not attend her as she needed 2 carers and a hoist and sling. For Health and Safety reasons they were not allowed to use a hoist. Imagine how I felt having had a haemorrhage that same morning and having to cope on my own with a person who is dead weight - or am I feeling sorry for myself?

Later in the day a nurse turned up to see how I was and I also had an unexpected but appreciated call from my doctor's surgery. Apparently my doctor had been advised that I was taken to hospital and she had asked her receptionist to phone to see what the situation was with my mother's care and how I was if I was home. The receptionist kindly offered to get in touch with social services but I declined the offer as I did not want too many agencies involved as it felt that everyone seemed to know my situation - discussed it, and did very little.

At the end of the day I am the one still having to be the carer. I also had to change my mother's bedlinen, and clean up the mess made by the haemorrhage in the bedroom that I was sleeping in and make up my bed. I think the latter was the worst part!

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