Saturday, 23 July 2011

So what exactly was it like?

Well, I was wheeled down to theatre at about 1pm on Wednesday. Something went into the cannula in my hand and I knew no more until I came round at about 6.30pm in a recovery room. There was no pain whatsoever. All pain management is done automatically via the epidural. From the recovery room, where I felt quite able to discuss with the porter my favourite holiday, I made my way - or rather the porter made my way - to the High Dependency Unit where I spent the night.

I was then transferred back to the ward but not into my private room. The days go by in a series of routines. I guess I’ll just about get the hang of them by the time I leave here! I’m surprised how much I manage to sleep both during the day and at night.

Running from my chest are two pipes which drain a thin red liquid from my lung. They are pretty disgusting to look at but they seem to be doing the job. Somewhere in my back is an epidural block which removes sensation from the area of surgery and also my boobs!

The annoying discomfort is the itching which is I understand a side effect of the epidural. I’ve declined something to stop this; I think with all the potions and pills which have been poured into me I don’t need any for more to remove the itching! Visits to the loo are interesting and require the assistance of a staff member to carry the two little chest drain buckets and the epidural pump.

Two things have been a problem. The first was very simple. Because the admissions clerk didn’t do her job properly, I started off without identity wrist bands. In fact she didn’t even let me into her office! So the ward printer being out of action someone had to write out manual bands for me. Theatre then removed one in order to install a wrist cannula. So I still have one handwritten ID band OK, but I’m sure not it's up to standard.

The second thing is the food. Twice because now my throat is swollen, I have eaten something which has failed to progress further than the top of my oesophagus. It’s a horrible feeling. Eventually I have managed to see a dietician who prescribed puréed food.

Of course it didn’t arrive last night but due to a spot visit of catering management (who got precise feedback on the food quality and cleanliness of cutlery) there is some hope it will be there for lunchtime and this evening. I don’t care what it looks or tastes like as long as it’s nutritious.

The one discomfort I have is in my stomach and comes as a result of daily injections of a blood thinning drug. One dose of this must have been given incorrectly and has caused a small bruise and some discomfort. It’s incredible when you think what has been done, that this is my only pain.

Had a shower this morning and all my dressings changed. That was fantastic – all the little itchy bits being seen to. Simple pleasures eh?

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