Nurses and Doctors Inspired me following a hospital admission

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the year of 2015, I was operating a Machining Centre in the northwest area of the UK.  As I was tightening one of the securing bolts, I suddenly felt a twinge in the back of my neck, which sent a very strong, sharp pain right at the top my left arm.  I thought that I had pulled a muscle.  That evening I took some pain relief and used Deep Heat rub trying to numb the pain in my neck and shoulder. Over the next couple of days, the pain worsened despite using off the counter pain relief

I consulted my general practitioner and I explained the incident to him in full and how it occurred.  My G.P. started to examine me and advised to used anti-inflammatory tablets and wrote out a prescription for me. The pain was not relieved therefore I was put on the waiting list (two months waiting) for an MRI scan at a northwest hospital.

The pain started radiating into my left arm, elbow and I also had a tingling sensation in the fingers.  My G.P. suspected that I had a trapped nerve and put me on stronger pain relief tablets while I was waiting for the MRI scan. This again did not control the pain so my G.P. changed my tablets. The pain was getting stronger and started affecting my neck when looking up or turning my head, this was constant and unbearable. I was therefore unable to continue working.

My G.P. received MRI scan results that showed that I had multi-level Cervical Spondylosis C4/C5, C5/C6 and C6/C7 with left-sided foraminal stenosis and ongoing left brachialgia in the left C5, C6 and C7 distribution.  I was then referred to a Neurosurgeon at a Hospital and reviewed. He put me on a waiting list for Epidural injection in my neck.

The pain was affecting my daily living activities such as driving, dressing, feeling breathless when going upstairs. I lost over three stones in weight, as I was unable to eat and had no appetite due to this pain. I continued taking strong pain killers while waiting for Epidural injection. Pain was not relieved by this.

I had an Epidural injection in my neck at a Hospital under local anaesthetic.  The pain subsided for about 7 to 8 days and gradually intensified again.  This was ongoing despite taking strong pain relief which I was advised to continue.

I had to wait for another review by the Neurosurgeon.  The Consultant informed me that if the Epidural injection is not successful the next option will be surgery in the neck.

Well, the day of my operation had finally arrived, making my way to the designated Hospital and then on to the surgical ward accompanied by my family who were concerned. Once at the ward and after handing over my admission letter, I was told to get changed into an operating theatre gown.

As I was laying on the theatre trolley waiting, a doctor came and was explaining the procedure of the operation to me. He then asked if he could answer questions that I may have. The only one that came to mind was, how long would this operation take? He replied: The surgery time is just over two hours.

The surgery I was having is called: Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion on C4/C5 and C5/C6.  This was all new to me as I had never been hospitalised and did not know what to expect.

The Consultant was going to operate in the front part of my neck and remove two bulging Disc’s in position C4/C5 and C5/C6 and insert the ones made from carbon fiber discs.

Next thing that I remember is being woken up in the recovery room and telling the staff that I am not able to move my left arm at all.  Later that day the Consultant with his team came to see me at my bedside. The Consultant told me that some nerve ending was trapped, but the good news is that in time your arm will make a complete recovery.  It is amazing to have competent and reassuring hospital staff who can allay our anxieties when we are under their care.  I was discharged home after a few days.

How right that Consultant was, because after a couple of months and some physiotherapy I was able to move my arm and kept exercising.  Guidance offered by the physiotherapist proved to be helpful.

I had the courage not to give up, so I used my own initiative to do a lot of house chores and keep moving my arm as best as I could.  I also returned to work part-time and challenged myself by using my arm more often to build the strength and speed up my recovery.  As I was using my arm subconsciously, I began to see a lot of improvement and good progress.  I then ended up working full time hours.

Nurses, doctors and physiotherapists really worked hard to help me recover despite their massive workload.  During my stay in the hospital, I witnessed how shortage of staff affected patient care especially when you are experiencing pain and want urgent attention.  Healthcare staff work long hours and really deserve appreciation.

Filling vacant positions in the NHS could make a massive difference in providing quality care.  My involvement in staff recruitment and helping hospitals in their search for candidates is a way of appreciation to our hardworking NHS staff.

We need to actively support the NHS staff in delivery of care by improving their working conditions and staffing levels.  Anyone who required nursing care in their life will understand that delayed response in care can lead to slow recovery or hospital discharges therefore causing extra strain to hospital bed occupancy.

When I experienced pain, I wanted the nurse to give me pain relief without any delay,  but when they were short staffed and juggling with all tasks to help all patients under their care, it became unrealistic to heighten my expectations.

About the author

Billy Cross

Managing Director and Co-Founder of

H.N.C. Degree in Engineering and worked in the industry for over 40 years.  My wife worked as a Senior Nurse in the NHS hospitals and other healthcare sectors for over 25 years.  My sister and daughter also worked for many years in the NHS hospitals, pharmacy departments.  I am really inspired by the dedication and passion shown by healthcare staff.

    • Florence Ashman
      Feb 08, 2020 08:53 am Reply

      Thank you so much again for sharing your experiences more especially recognising the impact of shortage of staff in the NHS but appreciating the efforts that the Health Care staff put in to offer the best care, albeit. Your determination to help do something about it by providing your input through your company: Medical Employment Solutions, is inspiring. Thank you.

      • Happy Cross
        Feb 08, 2020 09:50 am Reply

        Hi Florence
        Thank you for great and inspiring feedback. Very much appreciated

        • Billy Cross
          Feb 08, 2020 09:53 am Reply

          Hello Florence
          Thank you for taking your time and offering feedback.
          We really appreciate that.

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