Wednesday, December 05, 2018

56 days, plus 13

So, let's update the saga.

I had psyched myself up to being fighting fit and running round the shops doing Xmas shopping by post-op day 20.

Ok, so I hadn't factored in that once they opened me up, they'd perform a sigmoid colectomy, on top of the full hysterectomy and the fix of the umbilical hernia. The fact that each of these three operations has a predicted minimum six week recovery time estimate didn't faze me. Surely it's like sticking three pies in the oven to cook at the same time instead of one - you just do your six weeks simultaneously, reducing the timings by half as I'm younger than the average person undergoing these procedures and I'm never ill. If I can go shopping within 24 hours of giving birth, how hard can it be?

Well, that doesn't seem to be exactly the path I'm travelling, strangely. Having got home on day four after the original op, everything went ok for the first two days. I checked the instructions on how to get well sooner and even went on the prescribed five minute walk twice a day. The others from my ward, who I'd kept in touch with, weren't even out their pyjamas yet so I was feeling well-smug.

The slight redness above my belly button only really started to worry me on day seven when I noticed my skin was becoming hard. By day eight it had crept across my stomach and by day nine I could no longer sit at the dining table. My entire stomach was red, hard and nipping like mad. I called NHS 24 who decided it sounded bad enough to send an out-of-hours GP to my house. I haven't had a GP come to me since I was four years old. Christ, I thought, I must be at death's door! I was told to ring back on day ten if it hadn't improved. It hadn't worsened, but it hadn't improved. A second GP came out to me in the middle of the night. (I'm definitely dead!) She looked at the wound, the red, my blood pressure and temperature and phoned me an ambulance. I was going to need IV antibiotics as I'd developed cellulitis...

At 4am I left for the Royal again. She almost sent me to the QEUH, my fingers were very much crossed as they have free parking and decentish food, but at the last moment she decided she wanted me back under my original consultant so off I went again to the Royal. By 10am I was on the ward with tubes in all my veins again.

In my seven days absence, ward 56 had put up two Christmas trees. The only positive moment for me that day was when they explained that I would be moved to the other half of the ward from last time. I'd been in 56B as it was the oncology gynaecology ward the previous week, but my pathology results meant I was now bumped down to 56A which is standard gynae for Glasgow's East end. And what a different experience that was, but that can be a post in its own right!

I was poked and prodded for another whole week till my veins actually started to nip with the amount of IV going in and blood coming out. The redness slowly subsided but the pus from the infection needed an outlet, so my beautiful and neat scar split to let pus, by the coffee-cup full ooze from my front. It looked not unlike that scene from Alien crossed with Vesuvius on 24/8/0079! They warned me that the three tiny holes that had opened along my scar might pop and merge to become one large grape-sized trough and what do you know, they were right! Apparently it'll heal over but it is un-sew-up-able! So having had my umbilical hernia fixed after 18 years to make my belly button look normal, I now appear to have two belly buttons! Joy! I'll spare you the photo (for now at least|).

I was finally told my infection levels were passable on Friday at 1pm so they were willing to discharge me with oral antibiotics and a nurse to care for Vesuvius. Thomas was working so mum drove in to get me. I hadn't factored in that the Royal pharmacy would actually take till 6-50pm to send up the antibiotics to let me out! FFS! They even tried to tell mum she couldn't wait as it wasn't visiting hour! I pointed out she wasn't a visitor but a taxi driver who'd been waiting five hours so we were given an uncomfortable little cupboard to wait in!

Home at last but I am actually feeling more run-over-by-a-truck than first time round. I've had to go to the GP every other day for my dressing and yesterday the pain had become so bad I was taken back into the QEUH for tests to see if I was developing a new infection, but apparently I am not, I just have a lot of bruising on the inside post-infection and post-op.

I'm still so foggy-headed I can't even do my Xmas shopping online. I was really sure I'd be fully recovered by now, other than my ability to lift things, so I'm not in the best of moods.

Hopefully I will manage a whole week without visiting the A&E department. I've manged 24 hours so far, fingers crossed.

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