Day 26

Okay, so what is it like being in hospital in Geneva?

I feel incredibly well looked after – that is just a feeling, because I wouldn’t have a clue in practice. Still, I could enumerate the ways in which this is so. The doctors are not just thinking about me in here, but also when I get out. They have organised me a good physician close to where I live as I will have to make frequent visits there for a while. We talk about what things will be like now when I leave, given that this isn’t just something that one has and that’s that. Evidently I’m now at risk for life. Damn.

The doctors and nurses and other staff speak a smattering of English – much better than my almost non-existent French. I have the occasional concern that something important is being lost in interpretation, but all in all I feel like we know what we are talking about.

It was my birthday on Friday and I was given a cake – I don’t eat sugar, so I didn’t taste it, but if I had a clue how my phone camera works I would have taken a picture for the blog. It looked lovely. I hope the staff enjoyed it.

The food is a miracle. It is edible, the hot food comes piping hot, the poached eggs had a little runniness to them….all in all I’d say if you paid for this food in a restaurant you wouldn’t be unhappy. None of it is food I’d choose to eat, but that’s another matter. I wish the diet paid much more attention to constipation – which is, after all, the plague of all hospitals, and yet they do nothing about it except hand out savage laxatives if you are desperate. What’s that all about? In fact it is more forgiveable here than in Australia, since what we are getting here is absolutely typical Swiss diet. Eg every meal includes a bread roll and cheese. It’s not like it’s a conspiracy by hospitals with shares in laxative companies. But still. It is unfortunate to say the least.

I’m lucky I’ve had a friend bring me in fruit which makes the diet here much more balanced.

I’m in a ward of eight females and lucky to have a bed right next to the window, huge windows with panoramic views of the city and the mountains, views that are equally watchable at night as during the day.

The hours are European civilised. In Australia the nurses make you eat your dinner by about 4pm, you are expected to be asleep by about 6pm and then they get you up well before dawn. Here at 7.30am beds are made etc, then breakfast is served at 8.30am. Dinner is at 6.30pm, which suits me fine. The main lights are turned out about 9pm, though you have a good lamp to read etc by otherwise.

There is wireless hifi, free, which is why I am able to bring you this report hot from the scene of the action.

I’m getting out tomorrow or Tuesday, the day on which a friend is coming to stay for a week and help me out. I’m so looking forward to getting home!


2 thoughts on “Day 26

  1. My limited experiences with Australian hospitals suggest that no-one should ever be sick in Australia. You need to provide your own nursing, apart from anything else, and your own supervisor for any nursing staff provided by the hospital. My mother’s heart stopped beating in a hospital recently, and the nearest doctor I could find – no staff available to find a doctor – said my mother would have to get herself to the examination room. This was shortly before she spent 46 hours on a bed in casualty at a major public hospital. I could go on, but I won’t.

    Geneva sounds like paradise by comparison. Properly served food – it’s a miracle!

    I don’t know if this has passed through the forefront of any hospital administrator’s mind, but it’s easy to see that diarrhea is more of a management problem than the alternative. Another issue though, is that almost all pain killers are constipatory in effect, narcotics, in particular, beyond the power of diet to remedy.

    It will be good to get home though, I’m sure. I hope it goes smoothly for you.


  2. Ah, I like the idea they prefer you to be constipated, though, in fact, the pills they have to give you to counteract it do give you a severe opposite reaction!

    I made a comment there that it is odd we are woken up maybe 6am, in my case to have blood taken from me, but also for standard measurements, blood pressure etc and then it is at 7.30 that the real day starts. That’s an hour and a half you spend awake because of lousy timing. But I understand that it is to suit the doctors….it would probably be possible for the doctors to change their routine to fit in with letting patients sleep a little longer, but they don’t. I mention this because it is hard to get more than a few hours uninterrupted sleep in these wards and more than once I’ve been woken from a good, deep sleep, only to spend the next hour and a half awake and wishing I wasn’t.

    I hate your story about your mother, but at least you were in a public hospital. Private hospitals in Australia are far worse, they don’t have doctors in house all the time, with avoidable dire consequences.


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