Monday, 10 October 2016

What a day! Monday 10th October 2016

How we are all not dead from stress I don't know. The morning started pre 6am for us both. Me in our bed, him in his hospital bed.  I couldn't eat a thing due to the real physical feeling of a knot right in my throat. He had tea and toast. He had no appetite for it. Then was only allowed water until 11am. We spent the morning talking and texting. I wasn't allowed to go up and wait. Which I find unreal. What if something awful happened on the table? 

Anyway, my sister came and took me on her trip to the bank and for a posh frothy over priced coffee in town. Whilst in town, he rang. The Doctors had been round. They told him that although is calcium levels had come down, they were still higher than 'normal' so the decision as to wether the surgery went ahead, lay  with the anaesthetist who would be along later.... 
We knew the surgery was scheduled for 1ish. So we 'settled in' for the wait. Him in hospital staring out the window digesting all the new information. Me staring at my phone having updated everyone and waiting for any news myself. 

1ish - no anaesthetists 
1.15ish - anaesthetists had been round, yes he could go ahead - gave him a whole heap more scary procedures that would happen, but they were waiting on confirmation that there was a High Dependancy Unit bed for him after the op. 
1.30 - he rang to tell me. I got ready and got up there for visiting at 2 

Whilst I was there, his surgeon - and I kid ye not about his name - Mr Cutting, came to speak to us. 
It was bad news. No ICU bed. He wasn't prepared to do the surgery without the allocated bed. He was worried though that the calcium levels would rise. He also said it was too late because the operation would go well into the night. So the new plan 

Return to that admissions ward at 10am Wednesday for blood tests. Wait for results. If needed, straight onto ward for treatment. Operation would go ahead ( ALL BEING WELL ) Thursday Oct 13th which was his original date. We could go home, be 'normal' for 2 nights before it started again. 

Both of us understood why it'd been postponed. The hospital was chokka. It'd been on the local news begging people to stay away from a and e unless it was a life threatening or serious ( bone break ) injury. There were 7 ambulances stacked up outside a and e. 
The nurse told us that if a patient isn't seen treated and sorted in 4 hours of arrival, then the hospital gets fined £1000s. The reason there are not enough beds isn't the fact there are not enough physical beds with mattresses, it's because there are not enough doctors and nurses working to staff them safely. There are not enough doctors and nurses working to staff them properly because the hospital has no money and it can't afford them. It is ABSOULTELY CRAZY. On the ward where he was ( acute surgery ) there were 9 beds. Only 5 were filled. The nurses were fantastic but stretched and stressed to absolute breaking point. One man, clearly desperately poorly, came onto the ward, his whole family were there and the priest came to give last rights. There were no side rooms for him to go into. So so sad. 


The operation. Forgive me if I'm repeating myself but this is what we were told at pre op 

He'd be an hour in the anaesthetic room, 5-6 hours minimum in theatre, an hour in recovery. 
He'd be 24 hours minimum on ICU with drainage tubes, catheter etc maybe an epidural for pain relief. 

The surgeon came and spoke 

He would be cut from *here* to *here* - ( imagine the surgeon's fingers running around the left hand side of your rib cage from belly button to back bone ) 
He'd be having an epidural as well as ordinary anaesthetic. 
Some of the 'coulds' 
 They could enter his lung cavity - meaning collapsed lung and chest tube in
They could damage his spleen meaning internal bleeding/splenectomy 
They could damage his bowel - bowel perforation/twisted bowel -meaning peritonitis-toxic shock - death so IV antibiotics and then further surgeries
They could damage blood vessels - internal bleeding - blood transfusion
Etc etc etc 
 But there again, they might not. 

He'd be at least an hour in the anaesthetic room being prepped
At least 8-10 hours in theatre
At least an hour in recovery 
Then minimum 24 a 48 hours in intensive care depending on what happens during the act of the left radical nephrectomy itself. 

So after the massive build up, I had to ask our brother in law to come pick us up from the hospital because I'd taken all his clothes and shoes home so he had to come home in his pjs and slippers!! 

Once home, it was lovely to just have a cuddle without a drip in the way and I thought we would sleep soundly. Neither of us did. I had such a tense neck and shoulders. He was up for lots of wees because he was keeping his fluids up. 

The head stuff has set in now. He complained of pain in his kidney area for the first time yesterday. He admitted he is now paranoid. It's almost like the cancer is a diddly little insignificance compared to the mammoth ( hate to use the word journey gah!) mountain he has to climb ( even worse!!! ) 

Can't wait to get back to normality and the mundane. 

Till the next time... 


  1. Thank you for taking the time to update us Rachel. I can't imagine how difficult this all must be. I hope you both manage to get a reasonable night's sleep in preparation for tomorrow. Mr Cutting!! You couldn't make it up. Xxxxx

  2. Keep your chin up, it's such a hard time, to build yourself up and then have the date changed, our poor NHS will do it's best for you both.

  3. Thanks for the update. Postponed operations seem to happen often-a friend had her bowel cancer surgery postponed twice earlier in the year because the surgeon had brpken hos wrist skiing and the hospital could not afgord a replacement. Hope all goes well on Thursday- hope you are being allowed compassionate leave from work. ((((Hugs))) Catriona

  4. Bless you both, I wish I could think of something helpful to say. Take care my lovely xxx

  5. Thank you for the update, I hope it was cathartic in some way for you to write it all down. {{{{Big hugs}}}}

  6. You forgot the double trip to the bank, Poundland and Iceland! Oh the exciting lives we lead, but the coffee was very nice indeed. My turn next time (ps my bread was stale, kids had to have emergency school dinners, cheers Iceland!)

  7. Keeping everything crossed for you, vibing machine is fully cranked up to send mega positive vibes for tomorrow's op!

  8. OMG Rachel, I 'm reading this backwards, i.e. from the beginning to now and gave got this far and you have hit the nail on the head. The NHS is starved of doctors and nurses. What is the point of spending billions on brand new hospitals and the latest equipment if you haven't got the staff. Right let's get back to reading and, may I say, you are AMAZING.