Saturday, 9 December 2017

Spreading Myself Thinly


WARNING: This blog post contains strong language and scenes of a surgical nature that some readers may well find distasteful. Don't say you weren't told.

It is Saturday, and I am back home recovering. Partly from the mastectomy itself, but mainly from 48 hours in hospital. Do not get me wrong: The Luton & Dunstable Hospital is brilliant. The NHS is the greatest invention since sliced bread. But.

They keep waking me up. The first night, they come round every hour to see how I am. Sometimes I am asleep, in which case they wake me up to check if I was asleep. When I  am not, they stick things in various orifices, on various fingers, and mutter to each other. I've been given a nice green buzzer attached to a morphine drip. Somewhere in the course of that long dark first night, I lose all sense of reality, and just empty it. Which kind of accounts for the next day.

I am labelled. My left leg has a label, as does my right arm. Presumably on the basis that if they go missing, they can be reunited with the rest of me. My left hand also has a large blue arrow pointing upwards, allegedly indicating where the sentient bit is. Every time anyone enters my room, they ask me my name and date of birth. After a while, I stop waiting to be asked, and tell them anyway. This means the cleaner, the menu lady and the patient next door who forgot where her room was know who I am and when to send birthday cards.

Hospital time is different from everywhere else. There seems to be an awful lot of 4 am and most of the time it is Thursday. Little G and Small come for a visit the day after the operation and instantly manage to locate the device that raises and lowers the bed. So there is a great deal of 'bed UP - bed DOWN.' They get plied with biscuits and cooed over by the nursing team, which they thoroughly enjoy.

The thing with the drainage bottle honestly wasn't my fault. (The drainage bottle, which contained  me in liquid form, follows me round in a nice green bag.) Look, I just stood up and it somehow became unattached and ended up on the floor, so that there I was, briefly, spread thinly over a wide area.

They load you up with pain relief in hospital. Unfortunately, even though all the drugs say they may cause drowsiness, the staff don't like you lying around in bed, so I spend a lot of time sitting up fast asleep. I have to say, however painful the operation was, the most painful event occurred when they removed the surgical tape attaching the cannula to the back of my hand. Words of an unladylike nature were shouted and I had to apologise.

I have now been sent home with something called Tramadol, which I gather is one of the opiate based pain-killers currently responsible for the majority of drug-addicted deaths in the US. Luckily, this isn't the US, so I reckon I might be OK.

But at the end of the day, whatever day it is, it's great to be home. I have drugs, I have an exercise chart, I have a cat who missed sleeping on me and is now making up for lost time. And, as I keep reminding myself, in Victorian times, my operation would have been performed minus anaesthetics, and my survival rate would be practically nil. Plus I'd have had to pay for it. I could make a political point here, but I won't. You know what it is. I'll just keep taking the Tramadol.








26 comments:

  1. Glad it went well, Carole, and that you're home, and safe, and cat-lapped. I am, and have been, thinking of you. Much love. Kimmie x

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  2. Glad you're back home, Carol. Onwards and upwards!

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  3. So glad to hear from you so soon despite the pain and the exhaustion. Cat is doing its duty and we are wishing you the best. Love Liz

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  4. So glad the op went well, Carol. I’m sure you’ll be overdosing on grandchild and cat cuddles now back home. Sending big (gentle) hugs xxx

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  5. Glad to see you're home... (..at least you didn't have time to organise an 'Escape Committee !?'. :-))

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  6. Good to hear from you. Keep using the cat as a hot water bottle. I have this mythical hope that they have super healing powers. And in the words of a well worn cliche - get well soon xxx

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  7. Always wonderful to get back home after hospitalisation...
    Everything crossed for a complete recovery, Carol. You're tough and your humour will help enormously. Best wishes. Joy xx

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  8. Relieved everything went well, Carol - things can only get better! xxx

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  9. Oh Carol! I'm so glad to hear you're home now! Gentle hugs from me too! I'm also glad to see that despite the drugs (or maybe because of them?) your sense of humour is fully awake! xxx

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  10. Good to hear you’re home, Carol, and sounding pretty upbeat Hospitals are great, as long as you’re only visiting. And the staff, they fill me with awe. I couldn’t do it, any of it.

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  11. So pleased you're home after the op. Hope you'll start to feel better soon. Cat cuddles and Tramadol are great healers. xx

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  12. Well done. Dunno what they have said to you about showering etc but can I recommend the cling film breast band? Wrap it right round your body and you can shower and keep your wound dry.

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  13. So glad you are safely home, even if the world is tramadol-blurred at the moment.

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  14. The canula is particularly vile, isn't it? The tissues in my hand swelled up impressively and removing it was not pleasant!

    Sorry you had to go through this again, but sending you every good wish.
    Margaret K

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  15. I'm living this post right now. Giving serious thought to having my name/DOB/address tattooed on my forehead because that's the way all hospital conversations begin, followed usually by grumbles about the state of my veins, whose existence is regularly called into question. And I particularly love the signed body parts—but not NEARLY as much as I love those great drugs. (Yaaaaay, morphine!) So I'm particularly delighted to hear you're home, kitty-enhanced, and not living in Victorian times. All my (slightly muddled) thoughts and prayers for your speedy and continued recovery.

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    1. Oh Barbster, I feel for you ~ fellow sufferer....all hopes for your recovery also xx

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  16. words are not adequate, Carol, I'm just glad you are home and safe (and smiling!)

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  17. Sending you the highest thoughts possible. Have been through the same op Carol and agree with all you've said. My tips on the famous green bag and bottle - when you are ok to go out and you still have them, take the bottle out of the bag and feed it down the arm of your coat then back into the bag. Take your favourite shoulder bag and place the green bag into it. No-one will ever know its there! A friend of mine went to her front door when the door bell rang, forgot about her bottle and was dragging it along the floor behind her. The person at the door nearly passed out when they looked down and saw it. Most important - do your exercises. Love and best wishes. Fx

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  18. I love your writing style and sense of humor. Sending warm thoughts and virtual your way.

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  19. Happy to know that you are fine after the operation and in the mood to write your usual witty post. Greetings from Mexico¡ I became a fun just recently and I do really enjoy your blog. Take care.

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