Bristol Royal Infirmary
[Last year Roger developed angina, and, after tests in Cheltenham, was put on the waiting list for heart surgery in Bristol.† This is an account of how he got on.]
27 June 2002.† Roger was notified of arrangements for his planned coronary bypass operation, for which he had been waiting for ten months:† it was to be on 25 July 2002 at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
23 July 2002.† Helen came home to help, so there would be four of to make the journey to Bristol, but only three to come back.† Roger packed the recommended items into a single holdall.
24 July 2002.† We had been asked to arrive at the hospital by 11 am, which meant catching the 9.15 am train to Bristol from Cheltenham.† We left the house at 8.15 am, and rang the hospital on the way to the station to check that the bed was still available:† it was.† Tension rose.
Roger parked at the station and dealt with the pay and display.† Jay had a bout of nervous sickness behind the car.† The Virgin train left Cheltenham promptly, but the stop in Gloucester started to become suspiciously long.† An announcement confirmed our fears:† there was a fault with the Ďpower unití (= engine, I believe).† This meant that the train would have to be turned round, so that it could leave the station in the opposite direction.† (No Ė we didnít quite understand it at the time either.)† All the passengers had to alight and wait on the platform while this manoeuvre took place.† On re-boarding, much shuffling of Hewitts was necessary in order to accommodate the various preferences of those who could only sit next to the window, could only go forward, could not sit next to or opposite somebody etc.
The delay made us an hour late, so we phoned the hospital to warn of our impending late arrival. †At Bristol, we soon found the free shuttle bus between the station and the hospital.
We reported about half an hour late, but the bed was not immediately available, so having checked in, so to speak, we went to the WRVS snack bar and had some lunch.† Rogerís first tasks were to visit the X-ray and ECG departments and take the results back to the ward.† We decided to make our fond farewells before all this.
Teresa, Helen and Jay made their way back home.† Believe it or not, they had yet another hourís delay at Bristol station, as both the northbound trains they might have caught were running late.† What should have been a 3 Ė 4 hour round trip, at the most, had extended to nearly seven hours.
Meanwhile, Roger had obtained his X-ray and ECG and returned to the ward.† Still without his bed, he waited in a small visitors room, where he was visited in turn by the surgical team, the anaesthetist, and a former patient, all explaining what was in store for him.†
Teresa, with the help of the girls, managed at home for the next ten days, ringing the hospital frequently for progress reports on the operation.† At the same time, calls from Breadstone House warned that her mother was in decline, and Hazel died on 27 July, just two days before Rogerís operation.† In the circumstances, Breadstone House were asked to† engage local undertakers for Hazelís funeral and she was cremated in Gloucester on 15 August.† So, a difficult time at Old Forge House, but no more so than Roger faced in Bristol.† Here is his account of the experience.