Addenbrooke's...no flowers please
I hope this isn't tempting fate, but I havent had much to do with hospitals lately. But my old Director of Studies is currently getting better in Addenbrooke's and I have been a (small) part of the visiting team. So I now realise how out of touch with the style of a 21st century hospital I have become.
On the day of my first visit, I realised that I had forgotten to get any flowers for the house. "It's OK," I said to the husband, "I'll get some at Addenbrooke's; they'll be pricey, but they are bound to sell them."
How wrong can you get? There were none on sale and Joyce's ward was clearly a flower-free zone. So what has happened. Are flowers supposed to spread germs? Are they a health and safety hazard (water and broken glass over the floor and very expensive equipment)? Or are they a waste of nurses' time, who have a lot more important things to do than being amateur florists?
There may be something in all this. I doubt that there is any clear evidence for your average bunch of friesias spreading MRSA, but -- yes -- I would prefer the nurses were saving my life, not primping my flowers. All the same, I smell a bit of a rat. If flowers are such spreaders of disease, then how come they are allowed (and even encouraged -- see bottom right of the link) in private hospitals? Is it because private hospitals are more laid back about infection, because patients are largely in private rooms? Or are they more committed to the idea of being ill having its compensations (at least some nice flowers...)?
Addenbrooke's, overall, does seem a bit dour. Sure, I realise that I am lucky to be living near one of the country's best hospitals (and if I am whisked in tomorrow, nurses and doctors please don't hold this blog against me). But does it really have to be so "lecturing" and downmarket. Do you have to be punished for being ill?
When I visited today, there were improving messages being broadcast over the tannoy as you walked in. Please don't visit if you have had diorrhoea recently; make sure you bin your snotty tissues etc. And almost every surface had been colonised by an improving notice. Never have I wanted a cigarette more than when confronted with this battalion of prohibitions. And there was not much sense of humour in evidence ("Operating on this site", above, didnt mean what you might think it would in a hospital).
And -- apart from a nice mural by Quentin Blake -- the "concourse" felt like a motorway service-station, with pretty seedy outlets. If this is meant to be a place where patients, who are well enough, can wander with their visitors -- why not have a nice place where they can sit down with waiter/waitress service, at a reasonable price. If it's all privatised, then why can't we get Jamie interested -- or Pizza Express. A bookshop even?
Please dont strike me down with awful illness for writing this. We have a wonderful hospital here in Cambridge, cant we give it a sense of pleasure too?