The Buzz

A Cast During Covid-19 – my experience of hospital as a deaf young person

A few weeks ago, Ida broke her elbow and needed surgery. She’s shared what happened and what it was like to go to hospital during lockdown.

Life under lockdown, which had finally settled into a routine of sorts, was tipped upside down after I broke my elbow in May. Mum and I arrived in A&E at about 6pm, wearing homemade face masks. The staff were all wearing face masks too but, when I explained I was deaf, they were extremely understanding and talked slowly, making sure I understood everything. The doctor confirmed that my elbow was broken and made me an appointment at a specialist orthopaedic hospital.

Going to the specialist hospital

The next morning, mum drove me to the orthopaedic hospital. Security staff told us to call reception when we arrived. Mum did the talking. If I’d been on my own I would have found it difficult to hear. When we were allowed in we were given medical facemasks to wear instead of our homemade ones. The hospital was busy, with lots of background noise. My consultant was incredibly friendly and used the arm off a skeleton to show me what had happened. I was told I would need surgery on my elbow, so the next morning we went to yet another hospital!

I already knew the third hospital as it’s where I have my audiology and ENT appointments, which was reassuring. We had to use an intercom to enter the ward. The sound quality was awful so mum signed me in! Inside, the ward was quiet; all non-critical patients had been sent home so there was only me and a little boy with a dislocated arm. We met my nurse, who was friendly and chatty, and made sure I understood what she was saying at all times. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything, so we watched films to take my mind off eating!

Having my surgery

When it was time for my surgery, Mum was allowed to go with me, which helped a lot. It was my first operation so I was a bit nervous but also interested! Several doctors talked to us wearing PPE, which made it hard to hear, especially as I was nervous and it was busy. Then I was taken into the operating theatre. It was really cool to see the inside of the theatre.
When I woke up I felt sleepy and confused, but ate some chicken nuggets and drank lots of squash! I went home the next day.

Three hospitals and three days later, I had three screws in my right arm and a large scar across my elbow. Overall, my hospital experience was very deaf aware and welcoming. If you have to go to hospital during lockdown, tell the staff what you need to communicate. They will understand and support you. It made my surgery much more bearable.

Learn more about accessing health services as a deaf young person

There is lots of information and advice about going to hospital or the doctor as deaf young person on the Buzz. Check it out here.

You can also find out more about Coronavirus and life in lockdown here.

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National Deaf Children's Society

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