Hospital 2010!!

This is going to be a long post, so grab a cuppa and some choc biscuits and settle in for the long haul.  I’ve left bits out coz I got sick of writing about it and some parts made me feel ill again!  But it’s still long, so enjoy (is that the right word!!!)

I was booked into the Medi Hotel for 2pm on Thursday.  The Medi Hotel is a wing of St Vincent’s Hospital, kept separate for incoming surgery patients who need little to no medical attention before their surgery.  Each patient has their own room with ensuite, access to a TV lounge, stocked fridge & pantry and so on.  The purpose for such a wing is to ease people in, make it a bit less stressful, especially if their surgery is to be performed early the next day.

I arrived around 2pm as instructed and was shown my room.  My Dad hung around for a bit before bidding his farewell.  I was feeling a bit emotional at this stage, unsure as to what faced me.  My friend Harvey dropped by after his working day and he and I ate dinner and chatted about life.  I showered (using some special pink hospital shower gel stuff), got into my PJ’s and was asleep just after 11pm.

I was awoken around 5.45am (Friday 27th) to prepare for surgery.  I had to put on the ever so lovely backless hospital gown, as well as some TED (Thrombo Embolic Deterrent) stockings.  These stockings are quite tight and come to just below the knee.  White flavoured, they looked just smashing.  They’re used to prevent DVT in the legs.  Around 6.30am I climbed onto the waiting trolley and was wheeled into the anaesthetic room for the start of my day.  I was met by a lovely smelling nurse and the anaesthetist, who proceeded to try to find my horrid veins.  In the mean time the nurse packed me under a blanket that had warm air pumped into it, it was very cosy indeed.  The  anaesthetist was having trouble finding a decent vein in order to put a cannula in, the initial one they placed was very painful and was leaking almost straight away. I can’t even remember if he ended up placing a new one in as next thing I was aware of was them telling me that I would begin to feel tired and I was out like a light.  Click!

Fast forward through all the surgery bits, coz I have no idea what they did!  I woke up in my room, or at least that’s the first memory I have.  I probably did wake up in recovery but I have no recollection of this.  I was in a single room, hooked up to oxygen via a facial mask.  I later discovered I had a drain in my stomach, coming from my liver, a catheter so I didn’t have to get up to wee and a central line straight into my neck to administer IV drugs and to easily take bloods.  I also had a PCA – a Patient Controlled Analgesic device. This contained morphine and I could press a little button and administer it to myself as required.  It had an automatic lockout of 5 minutes so I couldn’t overdose, but I found I really didn’t use it heaps.  I had a drip line feeding me ketamine too, this is a common analgesia used after surgeries (as well as an illegal party drug), more commonly used in horses, but used in humans too!  I was fairly comfortable, though I did ask for a nose prong oxygen mask rather than the facial mask.  The only weird thing for me was the anaesthetic drugs had wonked my eyes, I couldn’t focus any further than a couple of feet in front of me.  It made reading all the get well sms’s I received next to impossible (let alone trying to reply to them!).

Of course a lot of my memory of this time is really broken, but I do remember the first night having a bad reaction to the ketamine they were giving me.  I’d started feeling uneasy and unsettled and it escalated into me feeling terrified and really unwell and unhappy.  They took me off it immediately and within 20 mins I started to feel a lot calmer and happier.  So boo to ketamine.  I also hadn’t liked the way it made my eyelids feel so heavy I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I was looking forward to being able to view the world through open eyes!!

Day 2 – able to muster a smile

Although I had my own room it was of no real advantage due to the woman in the adjoining room.  She was quadriplegic and couldn’t buzz the nurses.  So she resorted to shouting at the top of her lungs at all hours, long and hard.  No matter how many times those darling nurses reassured her, she continued.  As I started to recover it started to do my head in.  I wonder how those poor nurses were coping.  After the 3rd day I was ready to go in there and throttle her myself.  I felt sorry for her, but I also could hear that the only reason she was calling for them was because she was bored, not for any medical reason, so that made me angry.  On the 3rd night I was moved to a 4 bed ward that only had me and one other patient in it.  I was so glad to be away from the incessant noise.  However that was shattered when at 2am a large woman was brought up to the bed who immediately fell asleep and snored like a Mack truck.  And yes, I had earplugs but they were worthless against both assaults on the senses.

On my 4th day of admission I was told that I could go home.  I was a little shocked as I was expecting to be in a least a week, but I figured that my medical team knew what they were doing and blindly accepted their word.  I was still pretty much off my face on medication and still couldn’t see more than 3ft in front of me.  My lovely Dad picked me up around 6pm and drove me home.  I was feeling confused and really out of sorts, but happy to be home.  My house sitter having just got in herself, packed up and went home (I felt so bad about this) and I took myself to bed.  I slept for hours, probably catching up on the much needed sleep I didn’t get in the hospital.  When I woke up the next day I was feeling ok, refreshed but still like a complete space cadet.

Then everything went pear shaped!

By mid afternoon, despite taking my tablets when required and in the right amounts, I was in a huge amount of pain and it was escalating.  By late afternoon I was pacing the house, crying, moaning and wondering where the heck it had all gone wrong.  I knew I had to get back to the hospital, so I rang my Dad and a friend who lived nearby.  Dad rang my ward nurses and they told him to bring me back via Emergency, so  my friend who is now an absolute angel in my eyes, picked me up and we met my Dad at the hospital.  I was suffering more than I ever had, more than the very first few hours out of surgery and I knew things weren’t right.  We spoke to the triage nurse in the E.R. and she pulled up all my details and within 20 mins I was in an E.R. bed.  Things moved slowly that night, but I was given lots more pain relief and felt a lot happier.  Eventually, around midnight, they told my Dad and my friend that they were going admit me and so the 2 of them left, feeling happier that I was in safe hands again.

I spent about 24 hours in the E.R, most of those waiting for a bed to become available up on my old ward.  It’s a chaotic place, one that I was well and truly glad to get out of.  It was Friday when I was in there and I wasn’t looking forward to spending a Friday night in there with all the horrors that weekends throw at E.R’s.  I’d been discussing with the nurses just how bad it is in there on weekends and I didn’t want to be a part of any of it.

I was Nil by Mouth in the E.R. and eventually I was given some disgusting contrast liquid that supposedly tasted like aniseed.  I had to drink that and then wait for my CT scan that had been booked in.  Eventually I was wheeled down to the imaging room, in a wheelchair.  As I was sitting there I began to feel seriously unwell, so I asked if I could please lie down.  They had a bed free, so they got me settled on that.  After another 15 or so minutes they wheeled me towards the CT machine.  As I got to the door I shouted to them that I was about to be sick.  They handed me one of those plastic sick bags and I violently threw up all of the contrast I had ingested!  After a few more upchucks I was feeling much better!  I had my CT scan done, they injected a different contrast into me and I was taken back up to my E.R. bed.

 

shite veins, deep, small & hide from needles!
The scar, with 30 staples & bloaty tummy!

Then the wait was on.  Firstly for the results.  Apparently the scan showed there was an area on my liver that could be one of two things.  The first was an area of liver leakage, that whilst not serious, could contribute to my pain and would need to be monitored.  The second, and more sinister, was that it could be an abscess.  However, I had not experienced any temperatures or any other symptoms, so they were fairly sure it was just leakage from my liver.  So it was a return to waiting some more, keeping all available body parts crossed that a bed would soon become free, as the day was fast running out and the E.R. was already admitting people obviously alcohol/drug afflicted.

By 7pm I got the word that I was to move back up to my old ward.  To say I was happy was an understatement, I was over the freakin’ moon.  Eventually I was wheeled up on a wheelchair and settled into my new bed on 7 East.  I felt like I’d come home and immediately relaxed into my new environment.

I then spent another 4 days on 7 East, being monitored carefully, having daily blood tests, 6 hourly obs, and doing fairly well.  I had my drip removed after 2 days, which was a massive relief.  Carting that IV pole around whenever I left the bed had been tedious. I was so glad to be rid of the bloody thing!  Plus mine was like an unruly shopping trolley, going where ever it wanted.  Someone ought to invent more manageable IV trolleys and they’d make a mint!

I had plenty of visitors in my time in hospital which was great.  Whilst I didn’t really get too bored in there, it was good to be able to hang out with people and just chat, a good way to take your mind off the situation you’re currently in.  My first admission stint I wasn’t really up for visitors as the drugs had clouded my brain far too much for me to be of any use, but the second stint I was well and truly up for them and enjoyed seeing everyone.  Especially those who brought me SUSHI!!  The hospital food was pretty rank, it all tasted completely bland, no matter what they dished up, so when I could muster enough energy to shuffle out to the cafe, I got myself sandwiches, cake and croissants. A recovering patient needs good food, so I made sure that at least once a day I had something nice to eat!

I must say the nurses I had on 7 East were by far the best I’ve ever had.  Apart from 2 agency nurses who were fairly incompetent (one took 90 minutes just to get me 2 panadol!) they were amazing.  Always smiling and nothing was too much for them.  I developed quite a healthy crush on one of them, a gorgeous red head who was chirpy and ever so sexy.  I got to spend quite a bit of time with her, so that made my days entirely sunnier.  She was the one who removed my staples, well some of them.  She had a student nurse with her and after she’d removed a few I asked the student nurse if she wanted to remove the rest.  She was excited to be given the task and was full of pride when her supervisor popped her head in halfway through and watched her removing them from my stomach.  Thankfully it was a painless procedure and after a few minutes all 30 staples had been removed. Just as an aside, people have asked why staples.  The simple answer is the abdomen muscle is huge and strong and if they were to put stitches in a cut that length the minute you move too much or cough or laugh, they’d rip right open, so staples are stronger and far more effective.

The next day I was given the all clear to head home, after 10 accumulated days in hospital.  All I had to do was wait for Dad to finish work and then I was home.  That was yesterday and today I’m good.

Nan’s been around to help me hang out my washing and she’s going to get me some fresh food later this arvo.  I slept fairly well and am feeling much happier with being home than the last time round!

In hindsight, they never should’ve sent me home after 4 days.  It was far too soon and I’m not surprised I ended up back in hospital.  But I’m very happy with everything else that happened.  I’ve got a nice clean scar that is healing really well.  I make progress every day and whilst I’m sure I have a long road ahead of me I’m feeling confident within myself that things will go well.

During my first visit home, I entirely felt that the surgery had been a big mistake and I was wishing that I’d never had it done.  But now that I’m feeling better and am far more relaxed, I realise that it really was worth it.  Once this recovery is out of the way and my life resembles something more normal I’ll be able to look back and know that I made the right decision.

 
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~ by Fen on September 8, 2010.

10 Responses to “Hospital 2010!!”

  1. What a champion you are. You have really done so well through all of this. I don't think I could have coped.So, so glad all is Ok now, and you are healing fast. It's amazing what the body can do to heal itself, hey?xoxoxo

  2. Oh woah. What a journey. Heal up little firefly! What a good Nan you have. Here's some cyber-sushi, a gentle huggle and lots of healing vibes! Love ya cotton sox. xoxoxoxoxoxoxox Brooke

  3. :)Bet your pusskin is happy to have you back home 🙂

  4. Some adventures you can live without, eh? My goodness, you've been through the mill, what on earth were they thinking of, discharging you that early? That said, hopefully the worst is now over, and you can focus on a steady recovery. Two of those photo's are gruesome, but the one of your face is lovely – despite all your trials! I'm thinking of you hon, sending lots of healing, positive thoughts your way. ((hugs))

  5. Wishing you excellent and speedy recuperation, and glad you are able to blog it.2. If you think THAT was 'a bloaty tummy' you would need more than a PCA and Special K to cope with what I see any normal day when i try the jeans zipper. so be glad.3. the downside of hospital wards is The Other Occupants. When I had a terrifying time in hospital, my room-mate had visitors in groups of 10. Loud visitors with happy rushing children. It plunged me into a total horror groove.I actually refused to pay when discharged, and flounced out.(Vaucluse private hosp). They gave me a Comp voucher for dinner at a restaurant the owners owned as well!!!!! in Carlton – I never went, as it was a place that appeared on our credit card statement when ex was squiring his Homewrecker (but that's another story for another blog).Happy for you now you are on the fast track to good health, and bless your housesitter, Dad and Nan too.

  6. I'm aghast at reading all you went through, particularly having to go back to emergency — madness. I hope the universe heals you extra-quick to compensate for all the crap!xxx

  7. Sending home patients too early is one of my all time rants. My surgeon said that not until 6 days are up, no infection or pain shows in some cases. He was one out of the box and I'll never find another doc like him. Mind you I think he bought most of Hawaii on what I paid him.Nice to have you back.

  8. I was fully with you until the beginning of your first picture. While I feel miserable, you had it much worse. Pleased you are now home.

  9. […] those interested, here are some links to the initial posts. Surgery 2010 / Surgery 2012 / Thoughts on […]

  10. […] tough on my body. Endometriosis and subsequent surgery. Then a fuck off big tumour, followed by major surgery. If that wasn’t enough, I had complications followed by 3 infections whereby I almost […]

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