I know, it’s a strange title to start off with, but you see it’s true and it’s something I’ve never really talked about. Well, alright, but because of certain restrictions put on my by the NHS I’ve never been able to tell the real truth and believe me I’ve been livid and still am to this day, so I’ll start at the start shall I?
Two months or so, before Covid broke in the UK I went on what was supposed to be my dream cruise with my family on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 down to the Caribbean. In New York, walking around on a shore excursion, I was taken ill and my husband had to dash off and get me a bottle of water, and after a while I felt OK ish and my son took me to Tiffany’s and bought me a gift and the standing joke was and still is that I did something that Eartha Kitt never managed in the song. Back on the ship, I still didn’t feel well. Was lethargic, everything was a nusiance but didn’t think much of it. Then a few days later, I told my son I thought I had a bit of a cold. Next morning my husband and son went on a shore excursion to the island of St. Thomas and I stayed in bed with this ‘blasted cold’ as I called it.
When they came back, my whole bed was wet with sweat, I didn’t know who they were hardly, what time it was, who I was even. First thing they did was get me to the Medical Centre on the ship. All I remembe was people shouting Get these lines into her now! Something was put up my nose and went down my throat. I remember Doctors, nurses, someone trying to get something else into me. cutting a vein by accident and blood everywhere. My son and husband being pushed aside although I don’t think it was on purpose. The main Doctor a lovely South African Doctor who asked me who I was, who the British Prime Minister was and who my Father was. The worst thing of all was that I have no memory of what was happening. My son very gently told me that when I tried to get to the toilet which was part of the ward I was so dis-orientated I just wet on the floor because I didn’t know I was supposed to use a toilet, and please, believe me that is not the person I am.
Another Doctor took over at night and kept on checking on me. Drip, after drip after drip. I’m a diabetic. No recollection of insulin being put into me. My memory had completely gone. I just remember he was Doctor Jerry and he sat on the bed and fed me chips by hand, and went one, two three. We can do this…..
The Doctor talked to me son because he and my husband took it in turns to sit with me and my son was 34. If they had got me there an hour later the first of my organs would have shut down. They let me out after a day or so and put me straight into isolation in the cabin. Everything had to be deep cleaned and my husband and son were also put on medication.
We got the final diagnosis from the Ship’s Doctor. The worst case of Flu he had ever seen on a Cruise ship, Sepsis and very small signs they thought could possibly have been Legionnaires Disease.
It wasn’t just me who caught that flu on that ship, endless people had it, but not as bad as me, but were certainly hospitalised. Someone put up on Facebook Did anyone else have this strange flu on the Queen Mary? That post suddenly disappeared. Cunard’s response? We’re sorry to hear passengers were ill and pleased our Medical Staff were able to held.
It didn’t stop there though. Ever since then I’ve not been able to breathe properly. I can’t go up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. To hear me you would thing I’m 90. I have tried endless times to talk to my GP about it and ask them to help me. Their answer is always the same and this is what really annoys me.
We can’t put it on your records Carol, because you were treated privately not by the NHS. I know I was treated privately. I’ve got the bill for over £5000 to prove it. So you would rather see me come within a hour of dying from my organs shutting down, a mysterious case of flu, two months before Covid broke, sepsis and possible slight Legionnaires disease, and not put a word of that on my medical records because I HAD to be treated privately because I happened to be on a cruise ship. Nice on NHS.
Well this time I’m going to call your bluff. I’m likely within the next few months to need – not want – need an operation using NHS resourses. I have met with a fabulous NHS surgeon but he has told me that he very concerned about my breathing problems. Anyway, I get my appointment for my operation – and where is it being done? Wait for it – at a Private Hospital ! Fine it’s being done for free – but this wonderful NHS who refuse to put anything about something that nearly killed me on my records because I was treated Privately are quite happy to send me to a Private hospital for an operation that should be carried out at an NHS hospital.
That, to me, is sheer hypocrasy.
In all fairness that the Surgeon doing the operation cancelled it for another three months, because you could hear that he wasn’t happy with this so called Private hospital, and wants to get back to his own National Health one where his words were I’ve got my own team around me who know how to deal with things.