My Dad’s aGoldfish – Has he ever had gout – part two

cropped-goldfish-87-1254566814ncva1.jpgThe consultant who diagnosed gout told us they wouldn’t usually admit someone with gout. Unfortunately he couldn’t allow us to take the Goldfish home at that point as he was well through being processed into the system and, because it was Friday night he wouldn’t be discharged until Monday.

Our offer to come in to help the Goldfish eat his meals was accepted though they said not to bother coming in for breakfast as they had enough staff. The DH went in on the Saturday to help with lunch.

He returned, spitting nails. He’d arrived shortly before 11.30 and found the Goldfish in the ward we did not want him in. Not only that, he’d had no breakfast and nothing to drink. When the DH asked a nurse about his medication she’d smiled, saying: “Oh, he was sleeping so peacefully. Thought it best just to let him sleep.” He succeeded in getting the Goldfish transferred to another ward – though his lunch disappeared during the move.

We kept thinking about the wonderful nurse who had spent so much time gathering information on how we deal with the Goldfish when he’s in one of his ‘sleep-mode’ days, ensuring he gets his meds and food. The poor woman could have knocked off work at her usual time because everything she recorded was ignored.

I recorded in my diary that evening: “I’m on a downer about everything right now: the Goldfish being in hospital, not doing any writing, our lives being totally disrupted. Everything sucks right now.”

The staff on the new ward started the medication for the gout and when I went in next day the Goldfish was sitting up, wide awake and very alert. Yay for steroids! The pain was greatly reduced. We looked at magazines while waiting for his lunch to arrive. It was lovely to see him smiling. He ate well – mince and potatoes followed by apple tart and custard. He was still on excellent form and with a good appetite in the evening.

Diary entry: “The Goldfish is bright and cheerful and should be home tomorrow. Not a bad day all round.”


I only just found this photo, which has nothing to do with the post about gout. It’s  from two months earlier when the Goldfish celebrated his birthday in hospital.


My Dad’s A Goldfish – It’s not just me!


The Goldfish in his chair enjoying a visit from a neighbour’s cat.

I’m interrupting the chronology of the Goldfish’s lengthy stay in hospital to share some words from the chief nursing officer in Scotland, Professor Fiona McQueen.

Often I feel I am a grumpy old woman, always complaining about nursing staff (and often some doctors and care agency staff) who don’t listen, are not professional and seem to have little or no understanding of patient care. I was delighted, therefore, to read first in the newspaper and then on her blog that it’s not just me. Someone a lot higher up the food chain has also noticed, publicly commented and expressed a desire to see things change.

In her New Year blog post Professor McQueen gives examples of the kind of bad practices she has witnessed during 2015 and writes: “I expect registered nurses to speak to all patients and their families with unconditional positive regard and never again will a registered nurse say to a patient, ‘if you wet the bed we’ll call you pishy-pants

“At all times I want nurses and midwives to put their patients first. No skipping off for a break when relatives need to speak to you or, worse, when patients should be having their meals served.”

As you might expect there has been a fair amount of outrage at her words from nursing staff and from their union. Gordon McKay, a registered nurse and chairman of Unison in NHS Ayrshire says: “My experience is that nurses work unpaid, way beyond their contracted hours to provide world-class care rather than ‘nipping off for breaks’ as is claimed, and that nurses speak to patients and relatives with the greatest of respect and kindness…”

Well, Mr McKay, threatening to call a patient pishy-pants is neither respectful nor kind.

The outraged ones don’t seem to have noticed Fiona McQueen also says: “I have met some outstanding nurses and midwives and hear of examples of care being delivered that is so good it’s breath taking.”

This is something many of us on this and other blogs have discussed and we’ve all said that there are nurses (and carers) who are wonderful and do a fantastic job – but they should not be the exception to the rule. I am sure many good nurses must be cheering (even if they have to cheer in private) with relief at Fiona McQueen’s words. How disheartening it must be to see colleagues bring your profession into disrepute.

Professor June Andrews, a registered nurse and director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at Stirling University has given her support to the chief nursing officer’s words. She says: “As a hard-working nurse, knowing that other nurses and midwives who, not for want of resources but because of attitude, bring down the profession, I would be glad to have them outed.”

The day after the story appeared in a national newspaper Fiona McQueen issued an apology saying she had not intended to offend hardworking nurses. I don’t think it IS the hardworking nurses who will be offended and I salute Professor McQueen for telling it as it is and for wanting all nursing staff to work together to eradicate bad practice.

You can read Fiona McQueen’s blog post here.