Been to hell and back

The plan for the weekend had been set on Friday and I was resigned to the fact that I would be here at least Till Monday. Saturday should have been a quiet relaxing day but it turned out to be anything but that. It all started to go tits up when a young oriental guy, dressed in theatre blues and a smart jacket – not a good look – came in to see me at about 16:00. As soon as I clapped eyes on him my heart immediately sunk, I knew who he would be and my stress level started to rise instantly. My thought was that he was the ‘on call’ for the weekend who knows nothing about me, except what he could scrabble together from my notes.

He shook my hand as he introduced himself, I couldn’t tell you his name as my mind was racing about how this was going to go. My fear was that he was unaware of some or all of the plan that had been put in place, and he was going to make a move or decision that would jeopardise that. He started asking me loads of questions about what had happened, dates things took place etc. etc. I told him I’d brought in a sheet with all that information on it and it should be in my file. Because there was no short answer for any question he kept asking new ones and I could see he wasn’t really meeting, was winding me up even more.

Before he could go any further I asked if he knew what the plan was to make sure he hadn’t decided to change any part of it. I could be held slightly at fault for what happened later by not being slightly more specific here. He started rattling stuff off but didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know but the way he was talking about some things sent alarm bells ringing. He asked who’d been doing dressings for me, I told him that it had only opened the morning I was admitted. The more the conversation progressed the more I was picking up that he was leaning towards discharging me.

He asked if he could have a look at the wound so the Nurse got the sterile pack and clean dressings. The Nurse started to remove the dressing and I warned her it could be stuck to the wound, which it was, so she soaked it off in the end. He took a look at it, said it had dried well, said it looked a bit superficial and all the time I was slow boiling on the inside. I asked if I could take a photo of it for the blog before they re-dressed, he thought this was a good idea and asked if he could take one as well, which I said he could.

I asked him if he was thinking of discharging me, which he was and stated that they could get the community Nurses to change the dressing. I said that if he wanted to ship me out, fine, but if something happened over the weekend there was no way that I wanted to have to go through A&E again to get admitted again. I told him I had an appointment here on Monday with the Consultant and as they had said I would be in over the weekend I thought we should stick to the plan. He questioned the appointment twice, argued the fact that they weren’t giving any treatment, care could be given at home and on and on he went. The more he went on the more I could feel my self breaking down, I didn’t even want to come here in the first place, in the end it was to much, I started blubbing and shouted “I just want it to stop”. He replied buy saying “OK stay here then” he went out for a bit then came back in again. I apologised for going off at him but gave my reasons, he said I could stay till Monday, we shock hands and he left.

The Nurse that was re-dressing the wound was really good with me. I said to her that I think he had miss heard me, I’d said “I just want it to stop” and I think he thought I’d said “I just want to stop”, she told me not to worry about it. I told the Nurse that I actually knew more than him, which I’d forgotten to mention while he was with me, because the final part of the plan was that these guys would be contact Oxford first thing Monday morning.

I thought that was the worst part of the day and settled back down again, only to find this was merely the start of much worse to come. Over the day I noticed that the transfer from the bed to wheelchair was getting more difficult and painful. From about 17:00 to 18:30 the pain escalated at a much faster pace. I’d had my medication at tea time so was surprised that this had escalated so quickly.

To start off with the majority of the pain was behind the back of the knee, not the back of the knee cap or in the joint. As it intensified it was moving down the shin and up towards the hip. By 19:00 I was in a whole world of excruciating pain, I was trying to hold back the tears that were flowing, I was trying to relax my muscles and breath which I thought would help, but it made no difference. I’d tried desperately to get hold of a Nurse but it took ages before one came. It was the Nurse who did the dressing earlier, when she saw me she said she would get the Doctor to come and see me as it was nothing like that earlier.

The pain continued to escalate to its max out point. Before this I had been able to slowly move the foot around and bend and straighten the knee slightly, even though they’re was absolutely no position I could move in to that gave me even the slightest bit of relief. By now it was as if the whole leg had spasmed or fused in to one fixed state, from the hip down. The back of the knee was probably the most intense area especially when trying to move any part of my body, even more so when trying to sit up or lay down. I had no idea what it was and I’d never experienced anything like this with the other knee, in fact I’d never experienced anything like this in my life.

The closest thing I can compare it too is the pain when the drain was being pulled out (see post Drain pain), the only real difference was that this never stopped. Eventually the Doctor came round, she felt the knee, the foot and asked questions but there was no way of getting across just how excruciating the pain was. She looked at my drug chart, mentioned ice and said she would talk to the “on call” for guidance.They gave me one medication earlier than normal and a good dose of Oramorph. I never saw the Doctor again, or a bag of ice. I thought the “on call” would be coming to see me and every minute felt like an hour. I was exhausted and had no idea how I hadn’t managed to pass out from the pain.

When the drug run came round I asked the Nurse if the Doctor was coming back to see me. She told me that from the information in my notes she had passed it up to her boss, and at the end of the day that’s where it stayed. After the drug run I finally started to feel some relief in the hip and foot. I could have Oramorph every two hours so I set my phone alarm to make sure I got it. Over time the pain from the top and bottom of the leg slowly dissipated back towards the knee. After more than six hours I got to a point where I could doze off but it was a horrible night.

I’d been having morphine top ups all night and by late morning it was bearable but still exceptionally painful behind the knee. I thought maybe it could have been a trapped nerve from swelling, or a damaged hamstring from the swelling (although highly unlikely) but as nobody investigated it, we will never know. If someone asked me what I thought hell on earth would be like, that would most definitely be my description of it. After a period of time the brain forgets the pain. Even I can’t accurately remember what the pain was like – maybe we suppress it – so trying to convey this in a blog post was always going to be challenging to say the least. Thankfully it hasn’t got that bad again since, and I certainly would never, ever, want to experience that again.

I’m so glad I didn’t get discharged that day. The experience was bad enough in Hospital, I don’t know how I would have managed that at home. My parents would have had to called an Ambulance, which would probably have meant that getting treatment would have taken even longer. Actually, thinking about it they have some good strong stuff on Ambulances, who knows I may have even got relief from it faster than going through A&E. The most worrying part of this, is that every time I’ve been in here recently I’ve experienced something of immense pain. Every pain encounter seems to be more intense than the one before it, surly nothing can be any worse than that!

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