Have wheels will travel

by Brian Pemberton [email protected]

British resident Brian Pemberton from Alcantarilha spent three weeks at Portimão Hospital to undergo treatment for ulcerative colitis, a disease of the large intestine. He felt it important to publicly thank the staff and doctors who saved his life.

It started off with a metal pole attached to a five-star wheeled base with four arms at the top of the pole to hold the various drips.

Then I began to lose even more weight – I had been 62.5 kilos at the beginning of my illness but now I had gone down to 51 kilos. So this is where Wonky came into play.

My original ‘pole’ on wheels was great, I could have used it as a skateboard from my bed to the loo, it ran that easily. But Wonky was another thing entirely. This pole had a tray fixed to it to hold a small pumping machine to force feed food into me via two tubes in my neck.

No matter how hard I tried to push Wonky in a straight line it went all over the place, a bit like the TV ad where all the supermarket trollies take the micky out of the one with the wonky wheel.

I think a drop of WD40 would have worked wonders but I didn’t have any at my bedside. I was fighting for my life and a set of wheels not going in a straight line was the least of my troubles.

My problem had progressed over a two-and-a-half month span but all the blood tests the hospital did showed no problems. In the end, the doctor in my village sent me to Faro Hospital, where the doctor there sent me back to Portimão Hospital for admission. Thank goodness he did or I would not be here writing this item for the paper.

I had got to a stage where I could not eat or drink anything, if I did it came out either one end of me or the other, mainly the lower other. I have never stood and messed myself, but they say that diarrhoea is the fastest thing on Earth and I can testify to that.

I had just used the loo, got back into bed and suddenly thought, “I need to go again”. Before I could unplug the machine (it went everywhere with me), it happened, the cold wet sensation of standing there unable to stop myself from messing my pyjamas and the floor.

The nurse was great, she told me to go and shower, gave me clean pyjama bottoms and by the time I got back to my bed the mess had been cleaned up.

All the staff in Portimão Hospital are wonderful, never once did I see any nastiness towards any of the patients.

The staff could not do enough for me; I was there for three weeks and without a doubt they saved my life.

The place is spotless and, although it is not the Ritz, the food was pretty good, and I even had a choice of menu after the first week.

They have treated my illness with medication which I might have to take for the rest of my life, but what the heck, being alive is better than pushing up daisies. I am on their out-patients list so my problem is not quite over, yet.

I am proud to say a big thank you to all the staff and doctors at Portimão Hospital because without them there would be fewer people walking around, including me.

I would like to put other Brits’ minds at rest that England is not the be-all end-all for hospital treatment. Portugal has some of the best doctors in the world. All private treatment is expensive (wherever) and to have my three conditions treated would have cost over 30 grand.

If you are a resident, get a medical card for this country, the drugs will then cost a fraction of the price, without it you only get the EU discount.

One of the senior nurses told me that all the staff could go anywhere in the world and get a job with far more money but, as he said, he doesn’t want to lose what he has. Personally I don’t want to lose what I have found.