Lifelong Learning Programme

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Training > Experiences

Personal Experience

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Language: English
Country: Slovakia
Typology: patients and relatives
1.1 Description of the client by herself Henrieta was 36 years old sportswoman. A young woman who could not have kids despite her good shape. She tried for it in two relationships which end up with friendship. During the last three years she was in a relationship with her best friend and she has never felt so happy in her life. Six month ago she started to have problems with coordination of movements and she started to see badly. When the diagnosis was set, there could not be done anything else – metastases were so spread that there was no possible treatment. Race with the death started which ended at one department at a hospital in the capital city. 1.2 Experience of the client with the service In this case there is no need to contact the Bureau of Health Surveillance. I do not doubt that the diagnosis was set correctly and quickly. I do not doubt that the treatment could not be better. So is everything alright? Not at all. The conditions in which people are dying in Slovak hospitals are not alright. That nihilism of the staff, the unnecessary obstacles in relieving the last moments of life. Coming with acute, but not that serious problem with a girlfriend can be just the starting point of fatal difficulties and after a week the final diagnosis is set. It is needed to transport the patient at the adequate department of the hospital. „The doctor was dealing with it for three days." Hospitalization is successful. But it is that last thing that was successful. It is accompanied with a lot of events which people who are paid for it call care for ill. You are not strong enough anymore and sometimes you want to watch a film on a notebook. Notebook and films are brought by relatives. It is put on the chair near to the bed. In the first hospital it was not a problem. But in the second one it was an enormous problem. I agree it is needed to clean up but to take it from a person who cannot get up without a help and tell him that he had to take it from a cupboard every day? One of my girlfriends warned me not to complain. When her mother was in a hospital they complained and then her mother begged her not to do it anymore because she suffered for it. I can see what is happening there, it is desperate. I try to control myself and I do not know how I could change the habit of yelling at the department from 5 am. Resolution not to complain found its boundaries when we find out that the helper hurt my girlfriend’s shoulder the night before by carelessness and he did not tell anybody about that. We found out the doctor will investigate it whether it happens often. From this time I was watching the helper in every occasion. He often took sitting patients out of their seats by pulling them by one hand. It takes two years to study to become a helper so practically everybody can do it. You cannot even have a single room, because it does not exist. So the dying person has to have as a roommate some woman from Hungary who yells all the time and has a lot of visits during weekends when everybody yells and smells. During the week she is alone and asks milk from the nurse. They do not have it, so I go to the shop and buy it for her. When her family comes they try to give me one euro for it, they appreciate my action. The second roommate looks quite cultured until she said she voted for Jan Slota. “Because of you,” she says and points her finger at the Hungarian girl. We looked at each other in disbelief and then in disgust. In a few days she was so hungry that she asked me to buy her something in a buffet. Lunch was non-edible as usual. Day meal costs an insurance company 8 Euros. I would like to know where are these money spent because meals I saw there were worth maximally 50 cents. I knew something is happening. I had a strange experience in the morning which I later ironically called devil visit and it looked like I almost fainted. I started to call the department nurses. Fundamentally the phone was answered and they told me that nothing was happening. It was not true. The end started. And what is the reaction of the staff to the patient who hyperventilates, screams from pain and it is visible that he suffers? Tie her arms to the bed sides and let go. I run through the corridor and ring at doctors’ room. I asked them whether there is anything so premium that I have to buy it to force them to do it or should I go to the streets and buy heroin for the patient? “Of course we will give her morphine, no problem.” I ask what would happen if a relative did not came, but I know the answer – a patient would be screaming in agony until 5 pm when they would put dinner next to her. “So from now on we are going to administer the morphine.” You knew it. You knew that morphine is needed and you did not give it to her before. Agony is lowering, but still continues. I called relatives an hour ago but I am still alone here. „I cannot breathe! Breathe for me! Breathe for me!” The Slotas’s girl starts to laugh. She really laughed. “Shut up!” I leaned to her as close as possible and told her “or I will kill you!” I really told her that. She fearfully trailed off. I untied Henrieta’s arms. A nurse came and protested, reportedly to prevent Henrieta from taking her oxygen mask down. Nothing like that is happening and we are here. We are here day by day – for the last six weeks. At 5 pm they came and put dinner next to her. That is how last 24 hours of dying person goes. You cannot prevent this, you cannot choose. At Klenová you can sleep next to your dying relative, here you cannot. The smoothness with which they send away relatives is striking. Mainly for someone who screams from 5 in the morning, who yells at patients and who make all of this so stressful that it is difficult to heal from cold. You cannot take your relative home because he is not in such state that it would be possible. You cannot buy a single room because it does not exist. You can just share a room with a person with whom you would not even share a table in coffee shop and let the staff to expel you because you would disturb others by quiet sitting. Later I found two messages in the inherited phone which I sent the evening day before the agony. Unread. You knew it. You knew it the night before that her state is getting worse and you did not let us know even when we repeatedly asked for it. I do not doubt that there exists also good and careful staff. Even there was one good and very careful helper. The important fact is that such dying in Slovak hospitals seems to be a routine. The funeral is as dignified as you make it, dying is not.

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