Thursday, 25 January 2018

Pre-Assessment Appointment before my Hernia Repair

My parastomal hernia repair operation is now imminent. I had my pre-assessment appointment today, which took 1 3/4 hours.

To begin with I saw a HCA (health care assistant) who weighed and measured me, took my blood pressure and measured my blood oxygen level, took blood, did a MRSA swab, performed an ECG… the works! She also asked me a few questions.

After this, I returned to the waiting room and then a nurse called me in to another room, where we sat together at the computer and she went through a load of questions. I told her I had a list of things I wanted to ask, and she told me to do this first, and if I asked anything she would be covering anyway, she would tell me. This way everything got covered.

I told her that when I was in hospital last February, every cannula they inserted failed, because my veins are shot by the chemo, and eventually they put in a PICC line which saved a lot of trouble. I asked whether this could be done this time as well, from the outset, to save going through all that again. She noted it, and then suggested I saw the anaesthetist to discuss this and other matters direct – she made an appointment for me, which is tomorrow week, 2nd February.

We discussed my medical history and any special needs I have now, what provisions I have at home to make things easier for me when I am discharged (I have a stairlift, electric bed, mobility aids, etc.). We discussed the problems I have because of my ME – muscle weakness and fatigue, which makes sitting out of bed for any length of time post-op more difficult for me, and I asked that this should be noted, so that the ward staff were aware of it, and allowances could be made. I have had problems with this in the past.

She said the operation will probably take longer than two hours, and depending on how I am immediately afterwards, I may go to intensive care, or the high dependency unit, or straight onto the ward. She anticipates that I will be in for about four days but again, it will depend how things go and how I am.

We talked about pain management, and I mentioned the various procedures I had had before, and how successful they were – PCA (patient-controlled analgesia – morphine pump), and rectus sheath catheter infusions (local analgesia via fine lines inserted into the abdominal wall). I told her that my surgeon had warned me that I would experience some considerable discomfort in the early days until the swelling had subsided, because the hole in the mesh for the stoma is of a predetermined size, and initially the stoma and the surrounding area will be swollen. I am sure they will provide adequate pain relief, and she reminded me to tell someone as soon as I was experiencing pain and they would deal with it.

She gave me the usual Fresubin energy drinks to take home, ready to take on the day before my surgery – I hate these awful gloopy, sickly drinks but they do build you up in advance and give you a better recovery, so needs must! They will see me again next week when I return to see the anaesthetist, and in the meantime, if anything else comes to mind, I can always phone. One of two points she told me to refer to the stoma nurse, who I have to phone anyway once I get an admission date.

As usual, everyone is rooting for me, and I feel in very good hands.

My hubby’s health news

Today my hubby also had an appointment at the hospital, at the fracture clinic. The good news is that his broken leg has healed, so they removed the cast and put him in a boot, which he can walk on without the crutches, so he is mobile again! He is still using one crutch because he feels a bit wobbly, but over the next few days he will probably be fine. He has to wear this for a fortnight, and after that, he should be able to drive again, and most importantly, he will be OK to look after me when I come out of hospital.

Already things are easier, and he is managing to do things that I’ve had to do over the past couple of months. It has not been an easy time for either of us, and I have struggled with the stress of having to do a lot extra. I can deal with my normal day-to-day life, but during this time I have had to do a lot of things he would normally have done, and in addition I’ve had to do things to look after him. Also, Mum died in the middle of all this, so there’s been a huge amount to do associated with that, including a lot of work associated with her memorial service last week, which was a great success due to the combined effort of us all.  There are still things to do – I have more letters to write. My hubby is doing all the legal stuff which is a huge weight of my mind – with my ME brainfog, I find it very hard to get my head around this sort of stuff anyway, and with him being immobile, he’s been able to sit there and work through it all, making phone calls and emails and getting hold of the right documents and so on.

Gradually things are getting done on all fronts, and soon, hopefully this period of crisis and stress will be behind us. It’s been a very difficult time.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're on your way back to normality, Shoshi and both of you will be as good as new quite soon!


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