A couple of gallstones, which had been grumbling around inside my gallbladder for the past ten weeks, decided to make a bid of freedom at 5am last Tuesday. Unfortunately, they did not get far, and took up residence in my bile duct turning me an interesting shade of orange. Thankfully, they were removed on Friday and I was able to return home from hospital on Saturday evening in time to prepare for Millie's Christening the following morning.
The drama of the episode was not so much about what was happening to me, but how unprepared the hospital was. As a breastfeeding mother of a 13 week old baby, I needed to be accommodated in a family room. Which the hospital does not possess. I cannot believe that I am the first ever mother to be admitted in this condition, and yet we had every ward manager, bed manager, head of family and women's health and countless others running around in various states of panic trying to work out what to do with us. It came down to this:
- Hospital policy is to promote breastfeeding;
- Hospital policy would not allow any member of staff to help me with the baby at all, and it was strongly suggested that my husband should take her home;
- Hospital policy would not allow Millie to stay in an unlocked ward in case of abduction;
- The only locked ward that would accept me with Millie was the gynaecological ward;
- No men are allowed to stay on the gynaecological ward.
I was completely baffled that there were no provisions for this sort of circumstance, and that Millie had to sleep in a cot designed for a newborn, while my husband spent four nights in an upright chair (after 2 nights they gave him a blanket). I hope that this may lead to a change in policy somewhere, but I won't hold my breath. I'm due in again soon to have the offending gallbladder out, so watch this space...
Here's Millie, just fitting into the cot that they provided: