In hospital yet again…

If you’ve been wondering where I’d got to, that’s where. I’m out now though – escaped yesterday.

Let’s start with something positive. In 2011 I was stuck in Ward 34, APH, where they tried to kill me (already amply covered), and from where, after 4 days and nights of sleep deprivation, in desperation I got myself discharged while some ragged edges of sanity still remained.

Sleep deprivation, by the way, is a breach of the Geneva Convention.

This time, same ward, while it was noisy during the day, it was silent at night. Made a massive difference.

Having a side room to myself also made a huge difference.

I had diarrhoea when admitted, which got me the room – oddly, my MRSA counted for nothing – WHY?

The trots fizzled out and they started making noises about moving me out to the bays, so I snagged my consultant, explained my fears of infection if I was moved – and got to stay in the side room (with occasional skirmishes with people who wanted to shift me which, to be honest, proved way too stressful).

One evening they made a concerted effort to lever me out, to make way for a “poorly lady”. I pointed out that I, too, was “poorly” with multiple conditions, including MRSA which was contagious (though not very), and would put others at risk and, in addition, being in a bay would  ramp up my own risk of respiratory infection, because it always does. In March-April I was in there for 6 weeks, during which time I had 5 hospital-acquired respiratory infections, culminating in my having my right pleural cavity aspirated to hoover out a pint of toxic crap – not an experience I was in any hurry to repeat – this is why:-

Then it was ultimatum time – leave me where I was, or pack up my drugs and send me home (always take this approach – never discharge yourself).

By the way, not a single member of the medical and nursing staff gave me an argument about the design of the bays aiding the spread of infection, and quite a few loudly agreed – so why have they been universally embraced by the NHS – except for private patients? The only conclusion I can draw is that those who can afford to pay twice (we all pay once via taxation), get preferential treatment.

I don’t know where the “poorly lady” wound up, but I do know some side rooms were occupied by dementia patients (because they shifted one out to make room for me, so maybe they did the same for her), and as far as I’m concerned, because of their ability to massively disrupt the lives of those around them – a lesson learned through bitter experience – dementia patients should not be in the general population.

One thing I did notice, though, and it’s a pattern that’s been repeated several times – when I’m admitted, I begin to recover quite quickly and then – I’ll crash in flames. There’s no fixed timescale for this deterioration. In March-April it was during the third week, duly noted by the medical team but zero action taken, for which I never got an explanation. This time it was the 9th day, by which time they’d decided to discharge me anyway, no matter how ill I claimed to feel. 24 hours on, while I’m a hell of a lot better than I was when admitted, I still feel like hammered shit.

And now we come to one of the mysteries of APH – every time I’m admitted I succumb to hallucinations. Some are drug-induced, but some clearly are not, and it’s a problem shared by many patients. No idea why.

And it wouldn’t be APH if there were not a series of cock-ups to relate!

On the second day the Tissue Viability Nurse removed all my lymphoedema dressings, said hang on, I want someone to see this – and never came back! Utterly inexcusable. A nurse eventually redressed my legs with AquacellAg, a silver-impregnated dressing, and the improvement is dramatic. The infection is improving and the swelling is much reduced.

Then there was the cannula problem. When I was admitted I had a fairly normal aversion to needles, especially big buggers like cannulae, which are used to administer i-v drugs, in my case antibiotics. By the time I was discharged my aversion was a full-blown phobia as the very few viable veins I’d had left had been destroyed, one of them so comprehensively it actually blew a hole in my arm through sheer goddamned stupidity.

A blown vein is usually one that’s distended, either through a machine malfunction or plain, old-fashioned clumsiness putting too much pressure down the line, the result usually being a temporary clot. In my case, these are increasingly proving to be permanent.

A few nights ago the staff nurse connected up my i-v via the electronic pump. Shortly afterwards it sounded an air-bubble alert and shut itself down. I pressed the nurse’s call button and settled in for the inevitable wait.

Staff nurse eventually turned up, by which time there was a large and visible crop of air bubbles in the line, so what does she do?  She gathered all the plastic tubing into a ball, and squeezed! The resulting pressure pulse blew a hole in my arm forward of the cannula, blew the cannula itself backwards, and trashed the adjacent veins.

I hit the roof – the pain was huge – and told the stupid bitch to get the hell out and stay out.

That was the final cannula and, until she buggered it, it was working just fine. No-one else was able to place another, or even draw blood, as all my viable veins were used up and the phobia was well established – one morning someone had arrived at 02.30 to insert a cannula, and failed miserably – anyone who came near me, after that, with anything pointed was firmly but politely sent away.

And in case you think I over-reacted, they stuck me over 15 times in just a few days, mostly accomplishing nothing,** and now I’m left with a whole load of blocked veins that might or might not mend.

**It’s one thing enduring a painful, albeit minor, procedure with a positive result, quite another when it fails. Repeatedly.

Eventually, they suggested inserting a line deep inside my body cavity, using x-ray guidance, which I rejected out of hand, figuring the risk of introducing the MRSA from my skin was just too high. And the more they nagged – arriving , optimistically, several times a day with their little tray of bloody big needles – the shirtier I became until they finally got the message – no-one was sticking me again.

Then someone offered a compromise – anaesthetic cream. I’d already asked for this repeatedly and been refused, so I could hardly say no, though I did initially. I tweeted about it, and several people came back with the advice that the timing for the cream MUST be adhered to, something the PIL also emphasised.

But, of course, they wouldn’t wait long enough, and the bloody stuff, in consequence, didn’t work. I subsequently found the cream in my take-home bag, so I’ll stash that for future use as, if I were to be readmitted tomorrow, there wouldn’t be a hope in hell of getting a needle in me without it, unless I were unconscious.

And the food? Criminal!

What’s even more criminal is that shortly before I crashed (and it’s probably why I crashed), I’d cooked 3 litres of Italian Mince, with loads of fresh veg added (baby courgettes, fine beans, pak choi), which I hadn’t had time to freeze and will now have to be binned. And my first meal at APH? Yep, the original mince & ketchup, crime against food, Italian Mince!

And finally, to end on a positive note, the Oramorph at APH was  very much more effective than the stuff I get locally. I was almost completely pain-free after a couple of days. I don’t get that here. OK, bed rest was a factor, but still…

The APH consultant has written me up for Oramorph, 10ml, every 6 hours (or possibly every 4 – a change in the time got caught up in my discharge and maybe got lost), plus Zomorph caps, 60mg every 12 hours.

Let’s see what my GP makes of that as he’s been trying to tell me that level of morphine might kill me – but it clearly hasn’t! And if it didn’t in APH there is no possible reason why it should at home.

16 thoughts on “In hospital yet again…

  1. So very glad to read you’re back home; not pleasant reading the torture you’ve been put through it reads as sheer hell!

    Long may you continue to remain hospital free Ron xx

  2. Sorry to hear you ended up back in APH. But you lived to fight another day and enjoyed a few skirmishes along the way. We’ll done Ron. And yes I missed you, but guessed where you might be. Lotsa love. xxx

  3. well i too had been wondering but as you had said before,you were fully expecting to land up in APH in the near future, i guessed (hoped) that was where you were.(as opposed to something worse)
    heres hoping you now have a longer sojourn at home and get the treatment you deserve and need from your GP and his colleagues. take care. keep as well as you can Ron.

    • Hospital wi-fi shut me out of Twitter, email and my blog. I got back into Twitter (but before I did I got a friend to post a tweet telling people what had happened, as some were clearly worried (I could read some tweets), but never did get the others working until I got home again, hence the lack of information everywhere but Twitter.

      • well that accounts for a lot then. i dont seem to get anything from twitter except political stuff even though it was cos of things like this with you that decided me to open an account on there.oh well.
        btw. I must thank you for getting my interest in cooking back.that slow cooker is a boon and although i have never particularly enjoyed stews and casseroles im finding i am really enjoying them specially if i use lamb but am back to using beef too now (seem to have got over the horse-meat thing more or less trying out different cuts of meat except pork,.(mores the pity cos i do like pork but i cant eat it thanks to the IBS.) this week is brisket of beef. and very nice too. am now wondering what i can do with a tub of chestnut mushrooms. buying all fresh veg too.dont think you can freeze those.
        anyway. hope you feel much better now than when you were taken in hospital.

    • As I said, dementia patients – and I’ve shared bays with too many this year – are massively disruptive, shouting and screaming at people who are not there and whom only they can see. The image portrayed on TV charity adverts of a gentle old codger with a slowly crumbling intellect is, in my experience, not matched by the reality, which is more likely to be angry and violent.

      Yes, it’s tragic for the victims and their families, but it’s also devastating for the poor schmucks who – already sick, don’t forget – have to live alongside them in hospital, with no hope of sleep until one party or the other is moved or discharged.

      Trust me – when when you’ve been woken for the 6th or 7th time in a night by a rampaging, bare-arsed old bloke being forcibly returned to his bed, only for the scenario to begin to play out yet again almost immediately, murder is not far from your heart.

      • I am sorry but I can not agree with your thoughts, but will not press you any further other than to ask just where are these people expected to be treated.

        • If you get to spend spend a couple of weeks in the intimate company of a dementia patient in a hospital environment (which is disorientating for them), as I have, I’m pretty sure you’d change your mind – and if you lack this experience then I really can’t take you seriously.

          As for where dementia patients should be treated, that should be in a specialist unit suited to their needs. One sub-set of patients should not be allowed to disrupt the lives of others – it really is that simple.

          • in my nursing days there were special wards for the elderly, dementia or otherwise. if they were at the stage that you describe, they would usually land up in a mental institution/asylum. but of course there is no such thing these days as most were closed down years ago, i believe during thatchers reign.i remember how aghast people were at the thought of living next to a house that had 4/5 residents with a house mother/father or both. some had other assistants who didnt live in. i think dementia may be worse in the shouting screaming department than Alzheimer patients. my dad had alzheimer’s. yes he was more alert at night and would wander round. no one got sleep then either.(mainly because they were afraid he would get out of the bungalow n go wandering the street having locked whoever was indoors in. police had to be called on more than one occasion for his own safety, but he wasnt ranting and raving at imaginary people. he wouldnt eat in the daytime but would sleep all the time until bedtime then miraculously wake fully n stay awake till around 8am next morning, and want feeding in the night. but in no way was he noisy except at times when he wanted to know where my mum or his mum was .they had been dead over 20 years at that time ,.we had to learn to lie about that otherwise he would argue that they werent dead. distressing for us all then. his last year was spent in a nursing home for alzheimers patients. his 2nd wife at 80 being too old n disabled (heart probs, almost blind and practically completely deaf) to look after him and his kids , me included with own family responsibilities to look after him in his home 24/7. those nursing homes are the only places now.not sure if senility/dementia patients are housed in them though.

          • Have to agree with you. Last time I was in hospital the woman opposite me spent the entire night shouting for God-she had had a knee replacement, while several doctors tried to work out why she was so upset. In the next bed was a woman who had jumped off a bridge a couple of months earlier and broken nearly every bone in her body. She spent the nights weeping, and as she was under continual supervision hew carer sat beside her all night with the light on so that she could read! While you have every sympathy for people, when you are not well yourself, and are in pain, not to be able to sleep is torture.

            Glad you have survived and are back home.

  4. Well, that solves a few mysteries…why you were admitted in the first place, being one of them though I still never found out if they discovered you unconscious at home. The other is why the hospital Oromorph is effective whereas that which you take at home does not seem to be so. Hmmm…one wonders about counterfeit medicines – they fool pharmacists too.
    You have survived APH with your sanity intact thanks to the side room, but some of the incidents you report regarding the actions of nursing staff beggar belief.
    All in all, glad you are back and with the upped dosages, here’s to a (relatively) pain reduced future!

  5. Glad to hear that you’re home and have got a better prescription (and hope your GP doesn’t cock it up!) Did they send you home with the AquacellAg dressings on, and some to re-dress with, or a prescription for them for your visiting nurses to keep up with? I’d wondered, when reading one of your other posts, whether that sort of dressing existed (brain-fog probably stopped me asking at the time) because I always use silver plasters for cuts and burns (a constant hazard of me trying to cook!) and find that they ‘repair’ me much faster than ordinary ones.

    Here’s hoping you get a long period of improved health, now, and manage to keep hospitals at bay for a good while.

Comments are closed.