Can Amazon sell me a hooded robe, a brass handbell and a staff with a plaque bellowing “Unclean!” at the world?
I’ve been telling every bugger who’ll listen, for weeks now, that there is something seriously wrong with my legs, beyond Lymphoedema which, trust me, is bad enough. And back comes the stock, meaningless answer, “You have cellulitis.”
Meaningless because all that means is that I have an as yet unspecified infection.
This morning I got a phone call on my landline – so as I was having my dressings changed, and it was out of reach, I ignored it.
Then my mobe rang, which was in reach and lo! It was my GP – my extremely elusive and unhelpful GP. It seems he only calls when he has bad news to impart. Last time, when he came in person about 5 weeks ago, it was to tell me I was going to die horribly unless I agreed to be admitted to hospital immediately. I refused. I also failed to die which, based on his behaviour since then, pissed him off big-time!
Today he wanted to share the news that swabbing my legs last week had yielded the information that they are infected with MRSA. That’s the second time since August, so clearly, as I’m housebound, some bugger is bringing the infection to me. And the only people I see on a regular basis are the district nurses, who are here every day, so figuring out the source really isn’t much of a reach
The worry – and I really need to talk to an MRSA expert about this, and soon – is that the infection is in an open wound and could conceivably kill me.
The GP is sending me some information on how to treat MRSA, but what the fuck can I do? I’m the goddammed patient, FFS – I need care, I don’t need to know how to care for someone else! I need someone to take care of me. It’d be nice if they kept me shiny side up and sucking air, too, as a bonus.
I do need to know how not to infect anyone else, though.
As regular readers will know, I live in a supported scheme – have done since my early 50s, the age restriction is waived for disabled tenants – and I’ve already told the scheme manager, who’s in my flat several times a week, to get herself checked out. I’ve no idea how easy it is to pick up MRSA – very, in my view! – but she often, of late, has taken out the bag of used dressings the nurses leave behind, so it’s probably a good idea. I’ve also got myself some laundry sterilant, which sterilises low-temperature washes in case I’m picking up MRSA that way, and also to prevent anyone picking up mine.
I’ve sent word to the nurses, via the trainee they sent to me today – I’ve also phoned them but either no-one is there or no-one’s answering.
The trainee worked out very well – if people are prepared to listen I have a lot of information to impart, and I’m a damn good teacher – and she paid attention, applied what I’d told her, and didn’t hurt me more than was unavoidable – which is pretty much all I ask. I’ll never complain about unavoidable pain, but god help the nurse who hurts me through carelessness, clumsiness, or stupidity. Lymphoedema is painful enough without it being made worse.
I can tell nurses how not to hurt me more than they need – if they choose not to listen then they are no use to me or anyone else. Nurses, and doctors, tend to forget patients have rights, among which is the right not to be hurt needlessly. Not enough patients are aware of their rights, which makes those of us who are very unpopular!
Weekend before last I blew up one auxiliary nurse for brutality – there’s just no other word for it. In the past 6 months she’s inflicted more pain on me than everyone else combined, and I finally lost it.
Then last week I was asked if I’d like to remove my own dressings and wash and debride my legs – something I offered to do months ago to save time. Since then I’ve found it completely impossible to reproduce the levels of violence the other nurse was using, even though I’ve removed vastly more necrotic tissue without pain or bleeding – I’ve failed to hurt myself even by accident, so I can only assume that what she was doing to me – and doubtless to others – she was doing deliberately. That or she is so unbelievably dumb and careless she has no place in a nurses’ uniform. I simply can’t see how she can avoid injuring her more fragile patients.
***PS: My GP has sent me two bottles of Octenisan body wash, to be used to treat MRSA in preparation for surgery – what does he know that I don’t know. He was waffling on about surgery on the phone, but since I have no surgery scheduled, I tuned him out. Now I’m wondering what the hell is going on?