Sunday, 16 October 2016

On the ward.

He's been on the general ward for two days now. Although I have lost track of days and times etc. It's whizzing by in a blur interspersed with hospital visiting. 

Let me track back just for myself. 

Thursday 13th October - arrive on ward 7.15, down to theatre 8.30, on ICU 3.30pm
Friday 14th October - am - off monitors and up out on bed, pm - transferred to ward
Saturday 15th October - catheter and epidural out, Surgeon came to see him
Sunday 16th October - what I am writing about now. 

Once the epidural wore off, I could see him become more tense and anxious. He still has the PCA - Patient Controlled Analgesia - or morphine button I call it. He's in agony with trapped wind. 
A little bit of info I learned about trapped wind today. Trapped wind is where the air got into the spaces around the outside of the bowel. Eventually it gets reabsorbed into the bowel and intestines where it will make its way out either top or bottom. Walking about helps this process. There's the issue. Walking about when you've a giant row of stitches holding you together is trixy.
 One, you need nurses to help you at first. 
Two, you need to tell your brain that your stitches will hold and they will rupture, spilling your innards all over the ward floor and 
Three it hurts so you are hesitant about getting started. 
Four - eating hurts but will get the bowel moving along but you e no appetite and your mouth tastes funny so you don't feel like eating.
 Five moving about with the drain still in and a cannula in also is limiting. 

Hopefully the tramadol last night will have knocked him out so he could get his first full night of sleep. He's on a ward full of elderly patients, some of whom are loud and difficult. NHS cutbacks closed down the hospital they need years ago. The poor nurses are stretched beyond belief. So far all the staff have been great except for three of them. 

One - a cleaner, hideously notorious for being the street gossip, knows him and stood  for hours grilling him.
Two - an over enthusiastic male student nurse who swang his legs up on the bed too fast causing him great pain
Three - a useless unprofessional young student female nurse ( not sure of the grade - prolly olden days would call them auxiliary nurses? ) who borrowed his pee bottle for the bloke next door. Forgot then to replace it. Then when asked 'urgently' by him to please get another bottle, it was flung at him with a 'there' and a glance that suggested he should have got it himself. She neglected to close the curtains too so he then had to ask the extremely stretched but lovely ward nurse who rolled her eyes about the young student nurse when he told her. She'd also been discussing pay and conditions loudly and complains about everything. I think she needs to piss off and get a different career. 

So today is Monday. I've already emailed Richard, one of our cancer key worker Macmillan nurses in full on panic mode about him coming home. When his Mum came out after open heart surgery, you get a really detailed week by week recovery guide and what you could/should be doing. I think there should be the same for patients after a radical nephrectomy. I suppose the panic of him coming home is the fact it's totally unchartered waters for us both and in hospital there's the security blanket of nurses at your fingertips. But I do think they ship em out a little too fast these days. He's still wearing theatre gowns. I'd like a full 24 hours of him in PJs being independently in and out of bed and to the loo etc on the ward before he gets home. 

Till the next time...


  1. Thanks for the update and to hear the HG is making good progress. Although you are anxious about managing at home, I'm sure he will recover faster there without the gossips, noise, shared pee bottles etc. If people offer help, accept it! We have always been an independent couple but I found myself exhausted when DH was ill-the best thing I learned was offer specific help to others when I was able eg shopping, washing. I found myself sleeping in the afternoon sometimes in a way I hadn't done since my daughter was a baby and after the first few times, didn't feel guilty! Best wishes to you both-your love and sense of humour will keep you strong. Catriona

  2. Hi Rachel, I've only just found this other blog of yours and am astounded to read what's been going's almost exactly what we've just experienced too, with my sister. Except that she didn't have a radical nephrectomy, just a partial. She's been home 6 days now and is still waking every morning in agony, but is slowly getting a little better every day. I think Catriona's right, you need to accept all offers of help. It's a very exhausting time, physically and mentally. Sending you a hug.

  3. Trouble with tramadol......causes constipation! Lovely to hear he is able to move about which will help. They seem to chuck everyone out of hospital so quickly nowadays. after having kidney removed in 1984 I had 6 days in hospital and because we were living in a caravan at the time they sent me to a convalescent home for another week! Hated it- Full of old people wetting themselves.

  4. Wow, what a roller coaster week you have had. It does seem so fast to send him home but I'm sure he will prefer it (unless you are like the auxillary nurse, lol!) and, once you are in the swing of it, I'm sure it will be nicer for you too. At least the damn cancer is out now so he can focus 100% on getting better. Helen xx

  5. The NHS is stretched to the limits, but the good staff make it work, Macmillan are wonderful, their support helped me, and my family so use them. Your body once the healing starts will amaze you both, but you are right to try and ensure he is well enough to come home.

  6. They don't like them in too long because of infection but I agree, I don't think he should be sent home until he can function to some degree himself. Mum was sent home to us in a terrible state with liquid literally dripping out of her wound. I didn't collect her but apparently the nurse on the ward told her to contact the District Nurses in the morning and arrange for them to come and dress her wound. WTF? Shouldn't they have done that before they discharged her.

    Please make sure everything is in place before he comes home because they're quite happy to discharge patients without any proper home care set up.

    Can't say I've been over impressed with many nurses and I've seen my share of them. I've no idea why some of them chose the career when they're blatantly more suited to being a prison warden. And whatever you need it's not actually their 'job' so they wander off to find somebody else to do it and of course nobody ever turns up.

    HG has my sympathy with the trapped wind. It's a pain you can't describe. Peppermint cordial is worth a try if you haven't already done so. xx

  7. Glad to hear he seems to be on the mend. Re. Trapped wind - my mum had a hysterectomy which she sailed through - it was afterwards with trapped wind that brought her to tears. Apparently it's agony. Best wishes.

  8. I agree with Catrina, whilst it is scary to think of HG leaving hospital so soon, it has to be better than being on a noisy, understaffed ward. The wonderful Macmillan people have seen this many times and I am sure will help you enormously.

    Thinking of you, xx

  9. I've caught up now. I've been on dates (not that I date my husband, but LOL, nor do I LOL!) with Big Welsh to the hospital with his heart 3 times, each time I suggest we go out out not just to A&E for a costafotune and curly cress sammich. I'll nip back soon. Xx

  10. After lying in a comfy hospital bed that was easy to adjust to gain further comfort Laura found it very hard to get comfortable at home and we didn't know how to help her. We got there in the end. Hope HG will soon find his own comfy spot when he gets home.
    Best wishes to you both

  11. Thanks again for the update Rachel. I hope he gets to feeling more rested soon. It is a shame about some of the nurses. It makes you wonder (like with some people in other professions) why they would go in for a career they are obviously unsuited to. X

  12. Thanks, Rachel. Hard times but they WILL get better.
    J xxx