Seven days in an NHS hospital: Day 2 – “He got away with bloody murder!…”



For breakfast, there was a choice of cereals; I chose Corn Flakes. I could also have had bread. And fruit juices, tea and coffee.

There is now a nurse 100% of the time with Michael – to keep him as calm as possible.

But he is still mentally swirling: a new obsession every ten minutes and no memory of what he has said or what has been said to him.

He said he had lost his wallet so it must have been stolen. But his nurse finds it in the jacket in his wardrobe with £20 inside. He then says he has lost his mobile phone, but his nurse finds it in the wardrobe.

He chats to his nurse, a gentle young girl. She is a Buddhist. He was, he says, a Christian and wants to be a Christian again. They chat about religion.

The Calcium Man visits me with his two student doctors. He says today I will have three 6-hour drips – ie 18 hours of drips – with more to be decided after that.

Half an hour later, one of the Calcium Man’s junior doctors comes back to get more information from me and she spots a red circular mark on my right arm. I tell her it is a patch which was heavily sunburned a few weeks ago and, when the skin started to peel off a couple of days later, I foolishly ‘helped’ it by peeling the edges off.

She does not look convinced.

I am now wearing four socks – two tight, long green socks to try to avert deep vein thrombosis two short red slip-over non-slip socks.

The drip has been moved from my right to my left arm – it was leaking plus it is easier for me, as a right-handed man, to have it in my left arm. The trainee nurse had two attempts to inject me with a needle to get the plastic tube into my left arm and failed. So she gave up and got a more experienced nurse to needle it in.

Michael’s brother William phoned him. He said he is going to collect Michael at 1.00pm on Saturday to take him ‘home’… As far as I can gather, this actually means an old people’s care home. Michael does not really understand this and, as far as I can see, confused, he thinks he is being collected at 5.30pm tonight.

Around 6.00pm, I start watching the BBC News on my iPhone, with my earphones in. As a result of this, I don’t really hear the rumpus that is going on (I think) just outside the ward,

It seems that, at some point, the tall man from a small African country who only has one arm hit a nurse. Another nurse.

There are now two hospital security men at the door of the ward; one sitting inside the ward; and five in the outer area by Reception.

The tall man from a small African country who only has one arm and Michael both have beds on the other side of the ward.

Their verbal tiffs have been continuing throughout the day and I am amazed it was not Michael he hit.

Michael, still obsessed with his brother William not coming to collect him at 5.30pm, now also starts obsessing about the tall man from a small African country who only has one arm and who is called Davide.

“He’s got away with murder!” Michael says to the nurses about the tall man from a small African country, who is lying in his nearby bed. “You know he has. I saw it. Because he’s got half a million quid. That’s why you treat him different. He is always shouting.”

Trying to get out of the ward, he is physically restrained and brought back from the Reception area into the ward by two male nurses, a security man and a female nurse.

Michael tells a nurse (my iPhone is a good recording device): “I want to die. I do. I want to die. Why did you let him go? Get out of it! Get out of my way!… No. No! You let him get away with murder!”

He starts walking round the ward in an agitated, random way, never looking at the tall man from a small African country.

The nurse: “Michael, what’s wrong?”

Michael: “You let him get away with murder!”

The nurse: “No-one has been murdered…”

Michael: “There WAS money in the bag! There WAS! You know it. You knew it.”

The supervising nurse calls for more security to come up to the ward.

Michael: “He got away with it.”

The nurse: “Alright. Alright, Michael. (with concern in her voice) What’s upsetting you?

Michael: “That fellah got away with murder!”

The nurse: “Nobody got away with murder… It’s OK…”

Michael: “Get away!”

The nurse: “Michael, come and sit down. What’s wrong?”

Michael (SHOUTING): “I SAW THAT FELLER COME AND… COME AND… he was shouting all of the time and he… got away with… murder… didn’t he… You know he did!”

The nurse: “Nobody’s done an…”

Michael: “He done that. Security wise you know that.”

The nurse: “Please, you’re going to injure…”

Michael: “Get away, get away, get away… I see that feller get away with murder…”

The nurse: “Nobody’s got away with…”

Michael: “He got away with it… I see him”

The nurse: “OK… OK… What do you want? How can we help?”

Michael: “Well, I should have the same things.”

The nurse: “OK. Come and sit here and we’ll talk about it, OK?”

Michael: “No, I feel very upset about it.”

The nurse: “Do you want to sit here and we’ll talk about it?”

Michael: “No, no, no… He got AWAY WITH IT! He got away with it. I see him got away with it.”

The nurse: “Do you want a cup of tea, Michael?”

Michael: “He got away. He got away… with… No, he got away with bloody murder!”

The nurse: “Do you want to sit down and we can get you a cup of tea?”

Michael: “I saw it with my own eyes.”

The nurse: “Tell me. What did you see?”

Michael: “I’ve seen him… I see… I see him abusing a couple of women. I saw it happen. You know it happened.”

The nurse: “Do you want to come and sit beside me?”

Michael: “Why should I come and sit beside you?… No, no. You saw that happen, didn’t you! He got away with bloody murder!”

During all this, the tall man from a small African country just lies quietly in his bed.

Later, the tall man from a small African country is wheeled out of the ward on his bed. 

As he is taken out, he says to no-one in particular: “I am General Kofi Davide.” (I have changed all the names in this blog)

Later, Michael wanders round the ward and comes over to my bed, confused. He absentmindedly bends down to pick up my shoes.

“They’re my shoes, Michael,” I tell him gently.

“Davide was always shouting,” he says later.

“Why are you keeping me here?” Michael asks a nurse. “I’ve done nothing. You know I haven’t.”

He is genuinely frightened, but it also feels like maybe he gets a kick out of being noticed. He is 83 years old. He wanders round the ward absentmindedly, touching objects – the end of beds, walls, windows – as if making sure they are there.

He refuses to have a nurse put in the eye drops doctors have prescribed for him.

On a whim, I look up Kofi Davide online. (I have changed all names in this blog.)

He was a commander in the Liberation Front army during his country’s war of independence, later becoming a politician with roles in the new government but, eventually, he fell foul of the new leadership and, allegedly, has not been heard of for the last ten years, presumed to be in prison somewhere. His wife was also a freedom fighter during their war of liberation.

Around 8.00pm, Michael desperately tries to leave. He is pulled back by a male nurse, today’s current 1-to-1 care nurse and a security guard (who is now permanently in the ward and follows Michael wherever he goes). The security guard has Michael’s arm in a half-nelson.

Throughout the night, Michael lies on his bed, gets up, wanders around the ward, lies on his bed, gets up, wanders around the ward, lies on his bed, gets up, wanders around the ward, lies on his bed, gets up…

At one point, he bangs on the windows with his first.

“Why are you doing this?” the nurse asks.

“I want to smash the windows!” Michael replies. “I want justice done!”

“Look, Michael,” the nurse says, “the security guard is here.”

“No no,” Michael replies. “I see what happened then. What’s he doing now?”

“Davide is going away,” says the nurse. “He’s gone upstairs.”

Michael keeps pacing the ward all night, occasionally having verbal outbursts.

I get little sleep.



Filed under Medical, Psychology

2 responses to “Seven days in an NHS hospital: Day 2 – “He got away with bloody murder!…”

  1. I prefer to be in a public ward rather than a room on my own. There’s a lot of entertainment to be had from other patients (so long as you aren’t scared). Love those student nurses who can’t find a vein (not). But young student doctors can be very interesting. I had my fragile 6 month old bub in hospital for tests, many years ago, and her doctor was a Professor who came with an entourage of students. Each student had to attempt a diagnosis, and each was more frightening than those who went before, until the last fellow. He looked at my scrawny baby, who was energetically kicking and smiling the whole time, examined her carefully, and bravely announced: “I don’t think there’s much wrong with her, she has fat thighs”. At the end of a week, the Professor confirmed as much – give her lots of custard was the prescription.

  2. keith martin

    This must be played out in Corrieeeeeeeeeee or East Enderrrrrrrrrrrrs. Send this real life script! As the start of a stry line dear John. Real life out there! I could play the part of a patient – demanding a bottle!!

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