Made to feel at fault

Just as I was eating my supper yesterday the two Consultants I have had, a sister and the SHO came round to chat with me. As I was half way through munching my banana they said they would see someone else and come back. I thought they were probably going to have a chat about the long term plan for sorting the knee out.

A while later they came back and took me into an empty bay further up the ward. The two consultants got their chairs out then one left. The one who has been treating me this time (who from now on will be referred to as OC2 (Orthopaedic Consultant)) said that he was pleased with the knee as it looked much better than when I first came in. I said I was sorry if I sounded pessimistic at times but I have been here before. OC2 was getting a little impatient that OC1 had been gone so long and said how hard it is to get them all together to be able to chat with me like this. I told him I appreciated how busy they were and for them to have taken the time to come and talk to me. The other Consultant (who from now on will be referred to as OC1) came back in and we waited a while for the sister and the SHO to join us. During this time they were saying how much better it looked from when I came in and I said to OC1 what I had said to OC2 about being pessimistic.

They were all lined up opposite me, which felt a bit intimidating really. I said it was like an interview with them all sitting there like that. OC1 said that they wanted to have a chat with me about what has been happening. He told me that when I came in the first time and he flushed it out Microbiology was unable to grow anything from the swabs. This time they have grown some nasty bugs, including E.coli and he asked me if I knew why that might be the case. It told him I had no idea, explained what had happened and that this is what it had been like with the other leg. He said that obviously E. coli is usually associated with the intestines and faeces and as I hadn’t had diarrhoea or been really ill recently they couldn’t understand how it might have got in there, I told them that I had no idea either.

They went on to ask me if there was anything I would like to talk to them about, which I didn’t. I was asked if I had been OK after the amputation, I told them that to be honest it was a weight off my shoulders and I was fine about it. They asked if I had talked to anyone about it at all, I said I’d spoken to my prosthetist and Physio etc. He asked if I was offered any form of counselling or anything similar, which I hadn’t. At the worst possible time I could feel myself welling up and the tears began to roll, the chat didn’t fell like we were forming a plan to sort this out it felt more like they were trying to push the cause back on me. I felt like they believed I’d somehow introduced the bugs into the knee or was self harming or something. I told them that this was my worst nightmare, I didn’t know how I keep getting an infection in the knee, I could understand it if someone said I had a low immune system but they haven’t.

OC1 asked me if I was depressed, I told him things were going well, the socket was good and I’d started walking again. I couldn’t get a job with a disability so I had decided to start my own business and was working on that, until the knee infection got in the way again. He told me that depression can be a cause of a low immune system and that they wanted to look after me, not just to do the mechanics of surgery but in any other way they can too. He told me that if there was anything, anything he could do for me then to ask him, or speak to the Sister and they would arrange it. He said that he thought it might be helpful if I spoke to someone like a psychiatrist and asked me how I felt about that, I said I didn’t feel I needed to talk to anyone like that. I did also say though that I was willing to try anything and if they felt it would be useful I would try it. He told me to sleep on it and think about what we had discussed and CO2 would be round to see me in the morning.

OC1 asked OC2 how long I would be in for, he told him that Microbiology had said about a week. OC1 asked me if I wanted to go home, before I could answer OC2 asked me how many times a day I was having my intravenous antibiotics, which is three times a day. I think they thought that I could go home and just come in a couple of times a day to get my antibiotics but that would cost a fortune. As it was with me having to have them three times a day it wouldn’t have been possible for me to go home. I said I was really disappointed that I’d been told I would definitely be gong home on the Wednesday and then told that I would have to be in for a few more days. If it’s kept open ended that’s better than being let down like that. They said that they had to listen to the whole team and that Microbiology wanted me to be on the antibiotics for longer. I said I didn’t have an issue with that and as much as I didn’t want to be here if that’s what they recommend then that’s what I’ll do.

I asked about the longer term plan and if Oxford was still part of it. OC1 said that it was absolutely the place that they were trying to get me to. He had written two letters, one to an Orthopaedic Consultant and the other to an infection specialist. He said that he had also chased them, but like them they must be busy as he hadn’t had anything back from them yet. We closed the chat and I went back to my bed feeling pretty shit to be honest. I felt like I was now the problem and they think I’m creating the infection. I’m exhausted, fed up with being on medication, fed up with my knee and I just want to go home. There’s the other problem I’m a little worried about and could have a connection to the infection, but they seem to be forgetting about that. There’s nothing that I would want to see a psychiatrist about, life was just starting to go well again and although I was still very tired I was focused on what I wanted to do. It’s not the amputation that’s got be down its the continued knee problems and them not being able to sort it that gets me down.

As I lay on my bed I tried to think about what had happened in between the wash out and coming back in this time. Due to some of the medication I’m on it causes constipation so they give me laxatives to help with that, the problem is it is such a fine balance with me. If I have just one Senna then that might not help me at all but if I have two It can lead to diarrhoea. I had gone through a bout of that, I had also been sore underneath which I think was thrush and they have been giving me for that in here. I started to write a little list of things to mention to the Consultant when I saw him in the morning, before trying to settle down for the night.

Unhappy Icon

2 Responses to “Made to feel at fault”

  1. Hi Helen,
    Reading this made be feel sad and then a little angry. Whether you have a low immune system or not is not relevant to how ecoli got into your knee. How did the bug get there? It could only have happened in the hospital and they should have been focusing on this! If you didn’t feel sad and a little frustrated that you aren’t making progress you would not be normal. Feeling depressed and low is not the same as having depression.
    I think you are great that you are prepared to try anything and it’s good to be open minded and accept responsibility, but don’t let the blame be shifted to you.
    Writing lists is good and helps get the point across.
    Hopefully you will be home soon.

    • Hi Kiera,

      Thank you very much for your comment its much appreciated. Your right about feeling low and frustrated being different to depression. I’ve thought about the Psychiatrist part of this quite a bit today and I’m waiting to see someone from the Orthopaedic Team about it. If E. coli gets into the blood stream it can travel to any joint and cause septic arthritis if its not treated. I think the E. coli and immune system references are not directly connected. They are talking more about a lowerd immune system being why I’m prone to getting the infections in the first place. There is only one type of person who really winds me up and I really dislike in Hospital and that’s people who are not willing to help themselves. I think this is probably the reason why I had said I would see a psychiatrist, if it is offered help then I should take it. There have been some developments since I said that so I’m hoping things will change if I get to see someone from the team today. Thanks again for your comment and following the blog Kiera, I still appreciate people’s support as much now as I did when I had my amputation. All comments and advice are gratefully received :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: