Operation Number 19

On Wednesday evening I was admitted to Juniper Ward, my bed space was next to the nice big bay window, with a stunning view of a building wall and some windows. I unpacked, made my bed (which I always like to do myself) and settled down to do yesterday’s blog post. The evening went reasonably quickly until it was eventually time for lights out. Even with the fans on in the bay it was stifling, it took me a long while to get to sleep but once I went off I slept reasonably well.

First thing yesterday morning I saw the Consultant and the Anaesthetist. As well as the options given in the last paragraph of yesterday’s blog post, the Consultant said that if he had any suspicion there was an infection in there he would set up an irrigation system. This would continuously flush through the joint, which would be left in for three days. I explained my issues with bed pans and asked if I could be catheterised, the Consultant said he would ask one of the Nurses to do it in at the end of the surgery. It wasn’t long after seeing them that I was being wheeled down to Theatre. There was a small delay while we waited for the ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) and I was talking to the Sister from my Ward. I mentioned the issues I’d had about catheterisation in Addenbrooke’s Hospital but said this Consultant was happy to have it done. She told me that if it didn’t get done she would do it on the Ward for me. Me and the ODP were getting on really well and I was asking after the other ODP’s that were there when I was training to be one. After a long wait it was into the Anaesthetic room where the Anaesthetist asked if I minded him putting a nerve block in while I was asleep, which I had no problem with at all. It was lights out then for the Consultant to work his magic.

The first question I asked in Recovery was did they just do an arthroscopy or did they have to open the large scar? To my relief it was just an arthroscopy. My second question was did they put a catheter in? Too my horror the answer was no. I was drifting in and out of sleep and after a while I was busting to go to the toilet. They had just called for the Ward to take me back and asked if I could hang on. Thankfully the Sister came to collect me and I explained the problem to her. They whisked me back to the Ward where they tried me on a flat bed pan and left me for a while, but I just couldn’t go. I couldn’t understand how I hadn’t been as I was so desperate, the Sister and a Staff Nurse were frantically trying to get the catheter in as quick as possible but although she got it in I was leaking out. Eventually she managed to get it in position and tried to flush it, it was fruitless as I was now working quicker than them. Eventually I was hooked up and running free, in a short space of time the Sister said I had passed a litre of urine, she said I really was desperate.

The nerve block didn’t work that well as I was in a fair amount of pain. It is a stinging, sore type of pain, like if you have a paper cut and get soap or shampoo in it. On top of that I can literally feel the fluid moving through the joint which is the cause of that soreness. The extra pain relief they gave me in Recovery had started working and with the bladder problem solved I could relax and get some rest. Mum and Dad came in to visit and at that time I was told I was being moved to SSU (Short Stay Unit), as they were not trained on the Ward to give the mix of fluids that was flushing through my knee. SSU has Orthopaedic Nurses on there who can do this, I was pleased as I knew some of the Damson Ward (the ward I had always been admitted too that they have now closed down) team had been moved to there. Seeing friendly faces and people you know makes the stay in Hospital that bit more bearable. I had seen one friendly face on Juniper ward, which I was very grateful for. At this point the flush had run out and they were waiting for the bed on SSU.

After the fluids had stopped for about two and a half hours the shit hit the fan when the Registrar got involved as he was not happy that no one had changed the fluid bag. A Sister from SSU came down and started the flush again, roughly three hours after it had finished. I went from no pain where it had stopped, to a whole world of stinging pain when it started again. While trying to remain a professional patient, all I will say was there were people telling untruths, sloping shoulders, palming off and my care suffering while this was going on. Had Damson Ward not shut down there would have been Orthopaedic Nurses on the Ward to have changed the bag as soon as it had finished, bad move Hinchingbrooke.

Eventually after hours I was wheeled on to SSU and in no time I saw five friendly faces welcoming me on to the Ward. Like me none of them could believe I was back there again but they helped me settle in quickly, there is only one other lady in the bay with me. She has very little hearing and can’t see that we’ll so we don’t talk but I don’t mind to be honest, the peace makes a change on a Ward. I’m in the same bed space as I was in on Juniper but this time I have a better view. It is only some of the car park and the front of the Treatment Centre but you can just look out and people watch, its nice to see movement and life going on outside. After chatting with a couple of nurses on SSU we all came to the same conclusion, that the cluster that occurred earlier was laid squarely at the feet of Juniper Ward, Sorry to say this but you are the weakest link, goodbye.



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