Anaesthetic! What operation!!

A Way to Scare Old People and Save Money

Anaesthetic! What operation!!
Anaesthetic! What operation!!

Got a letter from the Government the other day. A form letter as it goes. The kind of form letter that absolutely terrified my 80 year-old mother.

She’s an ex-Wren, ex-PA to Lord Mountbatten, now slightly demented due to a hospital trust that I won’t name that in my opinion mismanaged her discharges (yes, plural) following a kidney removal, aka her Nephrectomy

Mum lives on her own somewhere in Hampshire. Her husband, my step-father, died suddenly, in the kitchen one morning. I know where she lives, of course, because I am down looking after her for a while. I am down looking after for a while because the government hates old people.

The previous government loved hospitals and wanted all its pals in the “private sector” to love hospitals too. Hence, somewhere in Hampshire there is now a ‘Super Hospital’. This is ‘Super’ in the sense of “Oh my fuck, I am super angry at their utter disdain for old people!”

Mum’s operation was just before Xmas. I’m not going to go into the tale of how the Super Hospital tried to discharge her on Xmas Day – having said, on Xmas day, that it wasn’t going to. I am not going to go into that story yet.

I am going to make a note here about how the Hospital Trust sent a letter about a follow-up meeting from the department of Anaesthesia. To repeat, it’s a follow-up letter, sent to an old lady.

In part it reads:

Please be aware failure to attend may result in the cancellation of your surgery/procedure.

Now, one point that strikes me is that Mum doesn’t have a procedure/surgery to have cancelled. One thing she does have is bewilderment and possible vascular dementia – but certainly something that looks like major bewilderment caused by memory fragmentation – that has occurred after her surgery, the anaesthetic and of course, the Super Pain Killers afterwards.

She also has a deep, deep and abiding fear about going back and as she says, “Getting lost and forgotten in…” hospital.

She is a rule follower though. She believes (or believed) that a coherent and kind society does not exercise arbitrary power via arbitrary rules. It’s her age. She’s also the person in whose arms a young sailor died onboard a ship having been cut in two, she was visiting the vessel in her WReN years in the last century. She handled that situation. She’s served her country you see.

She also handled the deaths of two husbands – my dad did not die quickly, he took years – raising three kids and losing one, rally driving, being blown up in Hyde Park by the IRA… you know, a life lived.

So, she read the letter for the 100th time today with her appalling eyesight (we’re dealing with that after the broke her spectacles… due to not being entirely with it… due to poorly managed Super Discharges because, well, the current government hates old people who are not called Windsor) and the previous one worshipped cash… and she yelled at me.

“Tim! Tim! What operation am I having? I don’t want to go back to that place. I won’t go! I will not! Why the hell haven’t you told me! You are so useless, you really are, you always have been!! I wish Xnnn was here! Tim, don’t make me go back.”

She had no memory of being told about this operation, for one obvious reason.

Of course, she isn’t going back for an operation. There is no operation. This letter regards a follow-up. However, this penny-saving form letter came like a stealth bomber over a village of largely loveable but occasionally angry when panicked locals.

The thoughtless, penny pinching letter told her that, as far as she could tell, an operation that she obviously needed could be cancelled and it would be all her fault.

Seems a bit callous to me. Rather than having two electronic files: one marked, “Pre-Op Letter” and one marked, “Post-Op Follow-Up”.

But I don’t hate old people. Nor am I in government. Oh, in that Super Hospital on Xmas Day was a ward plan with closed beds shown… Someone had written, “Area Closed due to no funding”. More on Xmas Day later.

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