Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
4 May 2021
7:40 pm

Tales from a hospital bed: Learning to be my own nurse

Wesley Botton

It's been 12 days since sports writer Wesley Botton was admitted to hospital, and he's learned that sometimes you just have to take care of your own medical needs.

After 14 days in hospital, Wesley has become the independent man he always knew he could be. Picture: Wesley Botton

Wesley’s blog: Tuesday, 4 May

Day 12

Since I arrived I’ve met numerous people who have been at this hospital for three or four months.

The reality is that the staff are overwhelmed by the never-ending flow of patients, a lack of resources and an emergency list that is growing by the day. As patients, we are therefore left with frustrated nurses who must prioritise their limited time, and lots of things slip through the cracks.

ALSO READ: Tales from a hospital bed: Dreaming of Wayde, while stuck to a drip

Hundreds of people in this facility are relying on this broken system and the result is that many of them lie here suffering indefinitely. Some of them will leave with life-long disabilities which could have been avoided if the system worked.

And I realise the only way forward for me is to be more independent.

The vacuum which operates the drain in my cast was leaking. But in a place like this, it is simply not as much of a priority for the nurses as it is for me. So I made a plan, taking a lanyard from my bag and sealing the hole. And it worked!

After watching me celebrate my ingenuity, Frans showed me how to adjust the settings and now I operate the thing myself.

Yesterday I was supposed to go for x-rays, but I fell through a crack and the staff didn’t take me as planned.

So this morning I got a note from one of the doctors, found the x-ray room and got the x-rays. Tomorrow I will be ready for my assessment with the surgeon.

ALSO READ: Tales from a hospital bed: Why you shouldn’t go fishing

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.

I shouldn’t be fixing medical equipment using makeshift solutions and the staff are supposed to ensure my x-rays are ready when the surgeon arrives.

But if I lie here complaining about a broken system, I will end up having at least a part of my foot amputated.

And if I rely on our government to fix this problem by providing the resources the hospital needs, I could be waiting forever.

I’m not a priority for them, but I can make myself a priority to me.

That’s how you leave this place in one piece.