If the Staff at Sligo General Hospital Ran the World, Life Would Be Like a Great Big Music Festival.

Too Many Sick People, Not Enough Beds

I arrived at the A&E ward of Sligo General Hospital (my local hospital in the west of Ireland) last Monday morning after a weekend of stomach pain and no idea what was wrong with me. I remained in A&E for over 36 hours, propped up on a makeshift trolley bed in a brightly-lit, loud and frenzied hallway packed full of sick and suffering people. I was awake all night, and in quite a lot of pain. I was told by nurses that they had 24 people waiting for beds at the time. Poor bastards. (The nurses, as well as the patients.)

My Super-Comfy Hallway Bed

I was finally given a bed in the surgical ward on Tuesday around midnight after the doctors diagnosed me with a perforated colon. (Shit happens I suppose.) (Unfortunately, in my case it wasn’t happening quite as it was supposed to!) (I guess I was shit out of luck?) (But who gives a shit really?) (It’s all bullshit in the end.) (Everything comes down to poo.) (Okay, that’s enough!) (Enough of my shit!) (Right that’s it now.) (That’s shit now.) (haha).

I have been moved to three different rooms since then due to overwhelming patient overload and limited beds. (And once because they needed to check me for MRSA.) Due to cutbacks cutbacks cutbacks implemented over the last decade or so, this hospital, and the majority of Irish hospitals it would seem, really are not equipped with the necessary facilities to provide proper care for the growing number of patients admitted, and as most of the nurses have said; it is not even winter yet. Things will only get busier in the coming months.

The Staff here have Superpowers!

The genuine care, love, and warmth shown by the staff here spreads to the patients, and creates a wonderful atmosphere of ‘we’re all in this together’.

All of this really should make for a truly horrible experience for me. A hole in the colon and an overrun hospital doesn’t exactly sound like a winning combination, but honestly, I have found the whole experience to be quite lovely, and incredibly inspiring. When I said Irish hospitals aren’t equipped with the necessary facilities, I was not talking about the human facilities. The staff here are the very best of the best. Top-notch, dedicated, talented professionals, and top-notch down to earth human beings as well. You can tell that everyone really gives a shit, and all colon jokes aside, that’s not something you find everywhere. It’s not something you find most places.

The genuine care, love, and warmth shown by the staff here spreads to the patients, and creates a wonderful atmosphere of ‘we’re all in this together’. It feels like everyone is looking out for each other, everyone really cares for each other; nurses, cleaning dudes, patients, doctors, everyone. It’s really very uplifting, which I’m sure in itself helps with patient recovery, and it all stems from the incredible people who work here. I mean it’s not like their jobs are easy! I found it hard not to be miserable when I worked on the tills in SuperValu. These people are under constant stress and pressure, and they radiate love and togetherness. They are legends.

The staff at Sligo General Hospital

Feeling the Love

In hospital, life gets ramped up a bit. People are in serious situations, and it becomes clear as people interact how much they genuinely care for each other. The atmosphere in this place is so real, and so full of love and sincerity between strangers that it makes you feel like you’re at a music festival or something. Sligo General Hospital, it’s the new Body & Soul! 

Just like all the crazy beautiful characters you meet and instantly fall in love with at a music festival, the same is true at the hospital. Since I’ve been here I have met some really wonderful people. Nurses, cleaning dudes, restaurant staff, doctors, fellow patients, all sorts. Warm bonds have been instantly formed between people of all shapes, ages, sizes, and walks of life. You can really tell that everyone cares for each other. The patients as well as the staff. People in pain showing concern for others in pain. People in shit situations coming together to joke about it and make the most of it. Philosophical conversations with roommates about how we all take things for granted and collectively remembering how lucky we really are. 

Warm bonds have been instantly formed between people of all shapes, ages, sizes, and walks of life. You can really tell that everyone cares for each other. The patients as well as the staff.

The Best of the Best

Every staff member I have so far come into contact with is a legend.

And my goodness we are so lucky, certainly those of us living in Ireland and in need of medical assistance anyway. People complain about the makeshift beds in the hallway (and to be honest the government can and should flipping do something about that, it’s really not fair on the staff, or the patients), but with regard to the quality of person that works in Irish hospitals, we are second to none in the universe. And that’s quality of wholesomeness, as well as expertise.

Every staff member I have so far come into contact with is a legend. A big wholesome beautiful legend with kindness in their heart and a passion for what they do. And that goes for the nurses, the doctors, the cleaning staff, the restaurant staff, everyone. They are all so very kind. They are doing a colossal job with limited resources and managing to care for far far far more patients than the hospital is really equipped to deal with. These people are at the very top of their professions, the work they do is ridiculously difficult in so many ways, and they deserve much, much better. 

If the staff at Sligo General were a footballer, they would be this man, Lionel Messi; the very best in the world.

The staff here manage to create an atmosphere of love and kindness that rubs off on the patients, and it transforms what should be a poopy poopy experience (I just can’t stop with the poo jokes!), into an inspirational, truly heartwarming one. I’ve met some great people here, and have actually made some fond memories. If the staff weren’t so superhumanly uplifting, everyone here would be miserable, and I probably wouldn’t have the will to be writing anything right now. Yet I’m sat here, buzzing.

I thank the staff wholeheartedly for doing what they do. I’m lucky in that my condition isn’t serious, but for the unfortunate souls in here who do have serious conditions, I wish them a full and speedy recovery, and I know the staff will make that as likely as possible. They inspire a tremendous amount of hope.

These People are the Best, and They Deserve the Best

If the staff at Sligo General Hospital ran the world, life would be like a great big music festival. There would be love all around us, people would feel uplifted, people would feel inspired, people would genuinely care for each other and want to help each other. There would be joking, laughter, philosophical conversations about the meaning of life and death. There would be pain and sickness but people would be nursed back to health by those around them. There would be realness. There would be life. There would be connection.

The people here, and most likely the people in the majority of Irish hospitals and medical facilities, are brilliant at what they do. So how about giving these inspirational people the appreciation they deserve, financial compensation that mirrors the deep technical and emotional work required of them, and the facilities they need to really work their magic and take care of everyone properly?

It wouldn’t be the worst idea on earth. My goodness, they certainly deserve it.

(The non-stop supply of Tay and Toasht makes all the difference as well. You’d know you’re in the weshht.)

About the Author

Adam Millett is a freelance writer for hire with an affinity for dressing up as Spiderman and writing about saving the planet. He likes to climb trees and stare at the stars in his spare time and likes to help businesses tell their sustainability stories while he’s working. Visit his website at wordchameleon.com if you want to tell the world yours.

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