Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The patient's family's experience

I have been learning from my wife more about what I was like following a cycling accident last September.  

I had the accident on a Tuesday morning and have no memory of anything until the following afternoon.   I fell off my bike and banged my head (moral of that story: wear a helmet!!).

After being taken to hospital, but before that following afternoon, I had trouble remembering words (I called my wife my "partner", which apparently I don't usually do, as if I knew what sort of word I needed but could not remember exactly the right word).  I was asked to remember an address, and from time to time among other questions, was asked if I could remember it.  I "seemed not to be able to", and used that kind of phrase to say so.   I also did not stop talking (this, I fear, may sound familiar to students who I teach, but there we are).

I have no memory of any of this.   I think I assumed I was unconscious until that following afternoon, although I already know there are things my family remember about visiting me that I do not remember.     But I was conscious, and responding, but don't remember what happened.

I was watching 24 Hours in A and E earlier today, and one of the patients there was having to touch his nose with his finger, and then move it to touch a nurse's finger some centimetres distant, and then move it back to his nose.  Then he had to walk along a straight line.   These tests seemed familiar, and I gather I did have to do that sort of thing. So I sort of remember it, but not so strongly that I remembered it before seeing the programme. 

Of course, the patient experience in any healthcare encounter is important.  But this makes me realise that the patient's family's experience is too.  At no point in my hospital stay do I remember wondering "how did I end up here?", or wondering if I would be ok.   But I know my family knew how I had ended up there, and were certainly wondering if I would be ok.   Their experience was different from mine.  At some points they were having an experience when I was not, or having one that they would remember.  

No comments: