Thursday, 15 May 2014

Give Me A Soldier Any Day

Today, I noticed with some astonishment that Hippo ( http://hippo-on-the-lawn.blogspot.co.uk)
has now bluffed his poor Filipino nurses into allowing him to change his own vacuum thigh dressings. I may be astonished, but I can't say that I was surprised. I have nursed ex service men before, so I know only too well just how " gung ho", and humorously brave they can be.
If a rule does not make sense to them, it is there to be broken
Simples
Soldiers can be exasperating and they can be challenging ( the constraints of nhs protocols can drive them batty) but in general they are a dream to work with in a rehabilitation setting, as most are disciplined, focused, adaptable and in the officers cases, generally bright.
Soldiers also employ and enjoy " gallows" humour at every difficult turn and as we all know nurses love black humour
Especially in rehabilitation settings
I am reminded of one such officer / patient called Neil. He had suffered catastrophic injuries following a motorbike accident and was admitted to us for specialist treatment before he was due to be transferred to the army rehab facility at  Headley Court in Surrey.
He was confined to bed rest for over five months as I recall, and suffered set back after set back before starting to mobilise in a wheelchair for a frugal one hour, twice a day.
After so long , what did he do when he got up?
Did he wheel himself to the physiotherapy gym perhaps? Or Did he go out on the ward veranda for a ciggie and a moment in the sun? Well in the end he did both, but not before taking himself off to another ward bay to " have a chat " with a young man, who was also on bed rest.
I asked another nurse what was the brief meeting was all about
And I caught her laughing
Apparently many weeks before Neil had overheard the young man racially berating  one of the African nurses on duty and he wheeled himself up " to have a quiet word about it "so to speak.
No shouting.
No fuss
No " feeling sorry for himself" even though he was obviously in a great deal of pain after 20 weeks flat on his back
Just a word in the " shell like"
Yes, I'd nurse a soldier any day  of the week.
Sheffield's Spinal Injury Unit

35 comments:

  1. And good medical personnel are worth their weight in gold; I'm thankful for each one who have made a difference in the quality of my life....even the sadistic therapists. =)

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    1. Ah I remember those physiotherrorists

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  2. I live just outside of Aldershot, so our local hospital, Frimley Park, has a number of army medical staff and patients. I see a rheumatologist there - a Lt. Col who also works at Headley Court.....and VERY dishy he is too. Almost worth a trip to Headley Court to recuperate for!

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    1. Ah ,...a man in uniform!

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  3. Of course, John, you have overlooked one other endearing attribute of soldiers... They stand to attention on demand. (Ooh, get you! Stop it!)

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  4. I'm sure that 'other ranks' would be equally forthright about racism.

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    1. Very true... I can't remember his rank now...cro.....it's bugging me

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    2. Good to hear from Hippo; n'est pas?

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    3. I spoke to him a day or so ago.... He sounds just as he writes......bright, optimistic and at times filthy

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  5. thanks for sharing that john it start the day feeling good

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  6. Glad he had a chat with the young man about his foolishness.

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    1. As I recall he also smacked another patient for bad behaviour later on in rehab

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  7. Hey, we sailors aren't too bad either!
    Jane x

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  8. Remind me to enlist before I become one of your patients, dear John.

    Fact is there is such a thing as false bravura. To me it smells of despair. If something hurts it hurts. Cry. Swear. Whatever. Keep shtumm. Sure, even make jokes. But no one plays the tough guy with me. And I say this as a pretty tough guyess, not least helped by a high pain threshold. Examples on request. Except I've never made a performance out of it.

    What touches me is that you, John, are a very kind man who will shine a glowing torch on any old dried up turd and turn it into human gold. For which I truly love you, and dearly hope you'll never have the misfortune of being taken in.

    Please do direct brief hiss at Albert to keep him on his paws.

    Hug,

    U

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    1. I agree with your first statement Ursula
      But sometimes the need to be brave out weighs the cathartic journey to let it out

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    2. Well put.
      It's only when people get stuck in bravura and the people around them don't allow them to break out of it, then it gets sad. Brave men and women cry when they need to, and make fun and mayhem the rest of the time.

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  9. My direct experience with soldiers was decades ago, but yeah, they were what we tend to call 'good patients'. Rehab is my personal weakness....I broke my ankle badly 10 years before I retired, compound fx, 6 torn ligaments, surgery, recovery, then supposed rehab. I neglected the rehab, busy at work, etc. The result is walking over a mile is difficult now.
    Cheers

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    1. Rehab in spinal injuries is vital.......without it............patients cannot function on the most basic of levels

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  10. John,

    Great job my friend!!!
    God Bless our Soldiers.

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  11. Soldiers AND sailors.... all our service men and women have brilliant attitudes to life.

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    1. Don't forget the airmen!

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    2. Or the people that stay at home and do their best to keep civility going!

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  12. Yep. In general the military are a different breed, so to speak. Well, they used to be, anyway.
    Have a great afternoon, John!

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  13. That just brought a tear to my eye John........don't know exactly why....nothing on hippos blog has made me teary...and yet I am full of admiration for him and his stubborn ways...and I love the fact that you are a tough old boot with a very soft way..x

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    1. I admire soldiers for the fortitude I have seen them display in rehab
      I also admire tom for his stubborn ability not to die

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  14. I think it takes a different type of person to be a soldier. I wish you were still up here in Sheffield. Our walking group is coming to Wales in September. We are attempting to climb Snowdon!! or you could just come and meet me in Caenarvon and give me an excuse not to do the walk!! I'll buy the cake! xxxx

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  15. Great post. I love military men. I agree that nurses love black humor. I have started watching Nurse Jackie. It's so real that it's hilarious.

    Love,
    Janie

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  16. Just thought you might like to know that I, aged 17, was the first civilian female to be a patient at Headley Court. The treatment and ethos of the place was amazing. In the space of 9 months they cajoled my knee into some sort of working order! I was teased unmercifully by my other inmates but I gave as good as I got!!!!

    Love
    Lindsay from Rural Villager away on "Lord of The Glens"

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  17. Interesting that soldiers make such ideal patients. And yes, some of it may be stiff-upper-lip bravura, but I guess resilience is more helpful in a recovery situation than shouting and screaming and self-pity.

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