Onto the ankle story then! As you know, I sprained both my ankles running somehow – one wasn’t too bad, the other was pretty bad. Due to the fact that both were injured, I ended up going round in circles a little bit, trying to use one more than the other and hurting it more so swapping to the other. I ended up having to work at home for a while because I simply couldn’t use the clutch in the car – the first time I attempted it, I ended up stalling multiple times before I’d even left our lane because my ankle was so sore and weak. Anyway, one got better more quickly than the other, but I’ve still got a bit of pain and swelling in the left, even a month later. I sat around with my feet elevated, ice packs and tubigrips on for a long time. But finally I’m able to wear my heels again (even if they are only low heels!) as long as I’m not really moving anywhere, which is fine for a meal out! I had a pretty rubbish experience in A&E with my ankles – my doctor told me to get seen in the hospital to make sure there was no serious damage and to have an X ray just in case. I knew they weren’t broken as I could move, but there was a certain point of excruciating pain (which according the doctor was the point of the high ankle sprain), but they wanted me to go nevertheless.
So Ben and I went down after he got back from work one evening, and turned up to an empty waiting room. Considering the amount of hours I’ve spent sat in A&E before (for a variety of sprained ankles, broken bones and stomach pains – hi, Gallbladder!), we were pretty pleased. It took a while for the lady behind the desk to pay any attention to us, while I attempted to balance on my poorly ankles, but she finally signed us in and we sat down. We waited about half an hour before we were taken into the triage room where a rather sour faced nurse asked what I’d done. When I explained that I knew I’d hurt myself while running then my feet had gone numb, she demanded: “But what did you do? Was there an incident?”, to which I responded no, but I’d stumbled several times then continued running, clearly not realising there was an injury. She gave a shrug and told me to take my shoes off. She then felt down my leg over the lesser injured ankle, I pointed out where it hurt (pretty badly) when she pressed, then moved to the other leg, the more injured one, where she felt below my knee then touched my toes, asking if that hurt. I tried to explain that, no, it didn’t, because it’s my ankle that hurts. But she again shrugged and sent me out of the room. I had a quick X ray, oddly enough on the wrong side of both ankles (but then again, I’m not sure whether this is a normal thing), then was called back into the triage nurse’s office. I was surprised because in the past I’ve always been seen by a doctor or actual nurse rather than just the initial one. She literally waited for me to hobble in and sit in the chair before saying, “They’re not broken, must be a sprain, you can go now.” Ben even noticed that she had this awfully smug look on her face, and since I was so shocked with her manner, he had to ask a few questions for me including, “Can she drive then?” to which we got “No, of course she can’t”, “So should she put ice on them?”, “Yes, that’s what you do with a sprain”, “Elevate them?”, impatiently: “Yes, of course.” So we ended up having to draw any relevant information out of her before I was sent out of the room.
There were a few things that really bothered me about this hospital visit. I was only seen by a triage nurse who did nothing more than touch my leg, not even at the site of the injury, or even ask me to rotate the ankle (I’ve sprained my ankles several times, and have always had to do this for the diagnosis and to tell how bad they are – this time I was in far worse pain in one ankle than I ever had been with previous sprains and had pain in a different area, so wanted to know why). When I was led by her to the X ray room, she disappeared down the corridor, not waiting for me despite the fact I could barely walk. On this hobble, I passed a group of three doctors (nurses maybe? They were male and wearing medical uniforms at least) who turned to watch me walk by in silence – definitely felt very uncomfortable, and possibly felt some leering stares on my chest. Not being seen by a doctor or nurse after the X ray was also very strange, and I wasn’t even given any medical advice until we drew it out of her. And finally, not related to me, but the waiting room filled up as we waited, and I observed one poor woman come in sobbing having been bitten by dog, with blood dripping down her leg, who was left to wait while others were seen, not even offered any consolation for the traumatic experience – I think she should have been pushed to the front of the list, I wouldn’t have been bothered had she been seen before me as I wasn’t an emergency and she was. We also saw a girl waiting at the reception desk for more than 25 minutes to be signed in, literally just stood there in the doorway when the woman was inside, even though she’d rung the bell. It turned out she had hit her head badly and had concussion, but was left standing there all that time.
So, overall, not impressed. The NHS can be fantastic, and we’d actually had a positive experience at that hospital before, but this was a disaster. The woman who dealt with me was pretty rude and extremely smug, and I felt ridiculous for having gone. She did at one point question why I was there, despite the fact I’d been referred by my GP. None of my questions were answered about why this injury was different – I wanted to know about whether it was the way I’d run to do something to my ankles, but all I got was an uncaring woman who didn’t explain anything to me or even examine me correctly. I got better answers from my GP over the phone than I did from her, so ended up leaving very upset, and in pain at being rushed out without any consideration for the injuries I had. So, rant over, but sometimes the NHS can be so disappointing.
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