From one Hospital to another

Thursday evening I was shuffling along the bed to try and transfer onto my wheelchair, so I could go to the toilet. I’ve been using a commode most of the time but every now and then preferred to use the toilet. I got my leg laying along the edged of the bed when all of a sudden it felt a bit wet and warm. Thankfully I’d not weed myself, I looked down to find the dressing had filled up and leaked a bit on the sheet and gown. I called the Nurse who went off to get the bits she needed to change the dressing.

She peeled the dressing back and there was a little white/yellow bit in one of the holes, similar to I the little bung that I accidentally moved when it first opened. She started wiping the area and I said “you might not want to take that out as it could be plugging up the hole”. She cleared around the area and tentatively wiped over the bung and nothing happened. Unfortunately I think this gave her more confidence, as the next time she wiped it she applied a bit more pressure.

This was an action she started to regretted the millisecond she did it, I wasn’t feeling great about it either. I was right, it was acting as a bung and the second it came out it was like the parting of the waves, or more realistically your waters breaking. There was so much pressure and volume in the leg that it went all over the bed and floor. As I was falling to the bed in pain it was like one of those slow motion shots. I could see her hands (with gauze in each of them) frantically trying to stop the flow and wipe up my leg. She was in a no win situation as there was no way she was going to manage either. She kept saying sorry to me as my body was trying to understand what had just happened to it.

I can’t believe how warm the contents was, this was making it feel even more uncomfortable. It was pretty painful when it was discharging from the knee but strangely enough even more so after it had stopped. I said “I told ya you probably wouldn’t want to do that.” She told me that she wanted to see what would happen. It had released some of the pressure in the knee but there was still a lot in there. The Nurse said that she just couldn’t believe how much came out as it went all over the bed and floor. The Nurse didn’t get away from her experiment scot free, as she had to clean the floor, change the sheet and get me some Oramorph. I did manage to get to the toilet in the end though.

Friday, and the big day was upon me at last. I’d been told that I had to be ready to leave on Patient Transport at 07:00. I didn’t get a great nights sleep and woke up at 04:50. I thought I’d start getting ready as I had plenty of time to just take it easy and not have to rush. I had a light breakfast and was ready by half past six, then all I had to do was wait, and wait, and wait some more. At 08:00 the transport arrived, I heard them talking at reception about my mobility, the receptionist told them I could travel to the transport in my wheelchair. Why do they not ask the patient for clarification about their mobility???? I think the guy took their wheelchair back down to the vehicle and came back to collect me. I told him I heard the conversation about my mobility but had no way of calling him. I explained that because I can’t bend my knee, the only chair I could make it down on was the radiography chair, as they have leg boards on them. He took my chair and bag down to the vehicle and came back with the right wheelchair, then we were off.

I got on the stretcher and was strapped in, there was a young lady and her 5 month old baby on board going to the Nuffield too. I wasn’t looking forward to this journey but I’d taken my OxyContin and Oramorph before I left. We all chatted in the back for a while then the baby fell asleep till we got there. I was asleep a fair bit of the time but was really starting to hurt at the end. We all piled out then Mum and baby went one way, me and the ambulance crew went the other. It was 10:40 by now but my appointment time was 10:00, it was OK though so they wheeled me to the bed bay. One of the drivers gave me his mobile number so as soon as I knew if they were keeping me in or I needed to be collected I could call him.

I wasn’t in the bay waiting for too long then I was whisked into the ultrasound room. I have to admit I really didn’t like the doctor or how he spoke to me, trying to explain what was happening was a major nightmare too. He put the ultrasound on my leg and straight away said it was a mess in there. He asked me if I’d had a Guided Aspiration before, I told him I’d an Aspiration but not a guided one. After my last experience I asked him if he could leave the local in there to start working before he started the procedure. He was really good, the local stung a bit, which it always does, the aspiration was more uncomfortable than painful.

He drew back on the syringe and straight away said I had an infection in there. He told me I was due to have a biopsy taken but with so much puss in the syringe he didn’t see the point in doing one. After confusing explanations of who was dealing with me, where I’d come from, what the plan was and many phone calls later I was eventually told I would be admitted and was wheeled back to the bed bay. I phoned the ambulance man and they both came round to the bed bay I was in. After being moved around, the transport guys getting their stretcher back, bloods taken and all the other routine stuff that goes with admission I eventually ended up in a side room on the ward.

The Orthopaedic guy told me the plan was to remove the replacement parts from my knee on Wednesday, as that’s the earliest theatre slot they have. They will put a spacer in (which is like a cement piece with antibiotics in it) and I’d be in Hospital for about a week, then sent home for between 6-8 weeks. I would come back here again, and because he thinks this infection has probably eaten the cartilage and done some other damage, they would put in a full replacement. Apparently they have a lot of people at home who have this type abscess and have it dressed at home or at the doctors surgery. They are all on the waiting list to have the same procedure done as me. The reason that I’m getting in so quick Is because of my high CRP (marker used to identify infection) and slightly fast heart rate.

The only flaw with this plan is the 6-8 week part of it. Later in the day when I saw the infection man he asked me if I knew what the plan was. I explained the plan then asked what the spacer was like and would it act like a normal knee? He told me that it wasn’t articulate and would be a rigid joint. I explained to him that if I couldn’t bend the knee then I won’t be able to go home, this was the reason I couldn’t go home from Hinchingbrooke. He thought that was a good point so he told me he would speak to the Orthopaedic Team and get back to me on Monday.

I probably won’t do a blog post for a few days now as it will just be routine stuff over the weekend and beginning of the week. The most excitement I’m likely to get is a dressing change and I have to say how cool the dressing is they are using on me at the moment. It’s like a teeny tiny catheter bag for abscesses. They can empty it like a catheter but my last one didn’t stick to my skin very well, it leaked and I had to have a new one applied. I’ve been ultra tired since they increased the OxyContin and keep dozing of while trying to get a post written. I also have a few artistic things I want to get on with, provided I don’t fall asleep on them.

In some ways it’s great to be here at last, I hope they can get this all sorted once and for all, despite it being a long an painful process. The Hospital and majority of the staff are nice, food is good and I have free Wi-Fi, wooo hoooo. The obvious down side is that I’m so far away from home. I don’t want Mum and Dad to visit very much as it will cost a fortune in fuel, it’s also such a long day when they have about four and a half hours just travelling. I don’t really know how well Dad’s leg is doing at the moment from the trapped nerve. He did say that the latest combination of medication seems to be making a difference, which I really hope it is and he’s not just telling me that. At the moment, apart from pain and the physical side of it, I’m feeling reasonably good about things at the moment. That may change the closer to the day of surgery I get, I’m just going to enjoy these next few days the best I can. Mum and Dad are visiting tomorrow, which I’m looking forward to. Monday or Tuesday I should know if there is any change to the planned surgery, highlighting that being an Amputee can also affect the type of treatment you’re able to receive. Is there anything that being an Amputee doesn’t affect?

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