June Chetwin celebrated the early hours of her 86th birthday face-down on the bathroom floor lying in her own blood.
She had collapsed and was unable to call for help.
Her husband Bob eventually found her and used their alert alarm system to call for help.
She was taken to hospital in what was the start of several days of health scares.
In a letter to the Marlborough Express this week, their daughter Sue Chetwin praises the public health system for the excellent care provided to her parents during that week.
My mother June Chetwin celebrated the early hours of her 86th birthday face-down on the floor in the bathroom gurgling in her own blood. My father Bob (also terribly unwell) used her Bupa alarm to get help.
I discovered this in an email from Dad.
''Don't ring for Mum's birthday,'' he said.
She had fallen, was in hospital, and they both had food poisoning.
I left my Wellington office and was in Blenheim by lunchtime.
This is all by way of saying a huge thank you to the wonderful people at Wairau Hospital, who last week stitched the mainstays of our family back together.
We took Mum home on her birthday. She had stitches to her face, hands, arm and legs. But she was taking it in her wobbly stride.
By early afternoon I was back at the hospital with Dad. He was weak, dehydrated and his stomach hurt. The emergency staff fed him intravenously and that evening I took him home. He didn't get any better.
It was back to hospital. A scan showed a slight blockage in his bowel. He stayed overnight.
Thursday morning Mum and I were early to receive the surgeon's verdict. He was better, but would stay another night.
Then the drama really started. Mum, sitting at Dad's bedside, looked like she had passed away. I shouted ''Mum''. She stared, blinked and did not move. I shouted for the nurse. Eight arrived with four doctors. They revived her.
I left Dad to rush off to the emergency department with Mum. By lunchtime she was cleared for home (she had simply fainted) and Dad was cleared the next day.
I can only imagine the resource that went into keeping my parents on the road last week. Our family is incredibly grateful for a public health system that works.
- The Marlborough Express
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