Wow, how life has changed. This time last year we were all thinking this pandemic would be over in a blink of the eye and here we are a year later and we are still in the midst of it all. Yes, the UK is opening up a bit more in a staged approach to a return to a more "normal" life but I know I am not the only one who is a bit apprehensive as to what that will look like. I am desperate to see our family. It has been far too long and I feel this is the area of my life that is completely lacking.
I feel like every day new statistic come out as to the extent of this damage to the world and everyday life becomes a bit less normal. I want to talk to you about how you can face the new normal and tell you about my experience at the hospital last week. I posted about this on of my Instagram stories and I was shocked to find out how many of you are still really scared to go to your hospital or doctor appointments.
First what you can do to keep safe.
Get your vaccine
When it is offered to you. I am a huge advocator for medical science. We could not be getting the vaccine if it wasn't safe to do so. You might think oh but I am fit and healthy and covid won't affect me. Well unless you have a crystal ball you do not know this and getting the vaccine is not about just you. It is about protecting our most vulnerable members of society. I could write a whole post about this but just do the world a favour and get your jab.
If you have symptoms
Stay inside and self isolate and book at covid test. It is that simple. Do not go outside do not go to the shops do not go on your run because well you feel fine STAY AT HOME. It is so simple to book a covid test you just go online and order one. There are lots of places to get covid test kits from like Uk wholesales, who stock Lateral flow covid test kits these give results in 15 minutes and they are so affordable. So get peace of mind and book your test kit.
If you are told to self-isolate
This shouldn't need saying but STAY AT HOME and book your test. As above do not go outside.
Staying safe outside your home.
- Use a hand sanitiser. This is so easy to use and it comes in all shapes and sizes. This will help you stay safe and kill germs on your hands.
- Wear a facemask. It is a simple thing to so pop on your facemask when you are near other people in places like shops and pubs yes I said it pubs how exciting.
- Remember social distancing stay away from people when you are interacting with them. 2 meters is the recommended distance.
- Wash your hands just like hand sanitiser keeping clean and killing the germs is the best way forward.
- Check government guidelines and laws. It is always worth checking the latest update to make sure you are striking to the rules and playing by the book.
My hospital appointment
I have had sinus issues for over a year and last Monday I had my first appointment at the ENT department at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. For me this includes a 2.5/3 hour drive each way just to attend the appointment. I think living in the Highlands people don't realise the actual logistic of just attending hospital appointments.
Before the appointment
Before you attended your appointment you received a letter explaining all the details you need to know. This included where to check-in and that you are no longer allowed to attend early for your appointment.
Check-in and getting to the clinic
I arrived 10 minutes before my appointment. This would give me enough time to check-in. I placed my face mask on and headed to the covid friendly check-in desk. As I entered the hospital there were bottles of hand sanitiser. Which I didn't use but I did take my own out of my bag and used it then and there. If there is a bottle of sanitiser I use this as a reminder to use my own.
I checked in with the lovely receptionist Who asked me to read a sign on the desk which confirmed I had no symptoms or had been in contact with anyone with symptoms. She then gave me directions to my appointment. There was again hand sanitiser on offer here too. I always struggle in Raigmore as the hospital is massive so I wrote down her directions. She must have thought I was mad.
Walking to my appointment there were lots of hand sanitiser available. I was surprised at how quiet the hospital was. Raigmore is the main hospital in the Highland and covers an area the size of Belgium to put it in perspective. There are smaller hospitals thought out the Highlands. But Raigmore has most of the clinics, specialists doctors and equipment. So is our main hub. On the walk to the clinic, I noticed there are lots of signs to remind you of social distancing and one-way markers to help you stay away from people.
I had to check in on the ward. This was an easy process. There was a desk with a nurse behind a glass screen and a two-meter marker sticker on the floor as to where to stand. She confirmed my name and address and checked me in. She informed me where to wait. Again lots of sanitisers were available. The waiting room a handful of seats very spaced out. There was only one person waiting to be seen along with me. I was easily able to sit on the other side of the room. The windows were open in this room to allow airflow.
I sat in the waiting room for 2 minutes and I mean 2 minutes before my doctor came to collect me. He was wearing PPE and showed me into his examination room. He explained that they are booking 30-minute slots for patients at the moment to give them enough time to clean and disinfect the room and see the patient and allow for no overlaps in the waiting room. I felt really safe with my doctor. He explained everything to me including the covid rules and new procedures.
My appointment included an examination, history and nasal endoscopy. My doctor was not only professional but also so lovely and that makes all the difference. I actually have a bit of a fear of hospitals and especially needles. He also washed his hands on many occasions whilst I was in the room. You could really see how careful he was being to protect himself and me.
The Nasal endoscopy was not as bad as I was expecting and it only hurt on the left side. My problem side. After my doctor used any equipment it was then marked for disinfection. This included a huge bit of red tape being put on the endoscopy after it was used. I felt safe and in good hand through my appointment and I can see the extra effort that all the medical staff are going to. After the examination, it was determined I require a CT scan. This would be on another appointment. I would have to wait for a letter confirming a date.
Next, I had to have blood taken at the request of my GP this is not common and My ENT doctor asked one of the nurses to do this for my GP. I was moved to another room. This room like the first one it looked and smelled very clean and sterile. If you have been in a hospital you will know the smell. The rooms are sparser now as I am guessing all equipment has been moved away to keep the area clean and make recleaning easier. The nurse was in full PPE and washed her hands whilst I was with her.
My blood was taken by a lovely nurse. I am needle phobic and this can be very hard for me and I am known to faint. But this nurse was a superstar and I didn't even feel queasy.
That was the end of my appointment and I was on my way out the door within 20 minutes. There is a one-way system in place to exit and keep people distanced from each other in the hallway and on exit and entrance. Again the walk was very quiet and I saw two people as I was walking out.
One thing that my doctor did say is that they are getting a lot of cancelled appointments. I know people can cancel for many reasons but I am also aware that there is fear out there about hospital and covid. Please let me reassure you there is nothing to worry about. The hospital is doing an amazing job at keeping to the covid rules and I think they are going above and beyond to keep everyone safe.
I hope this has made you feel safer about attending your hospital appointments. If you have been given a hospital appointment this is a necessary and vital appointment. So please do keep them and do your bit whilst you are there to keep everyone else safe.