“Sleep is for the weak!” I screamed as the hospital ward lights flickered on.
OK i’m joking. I was extremely tired and the combination of excruciating pain, and the constant need for the bathroom didn’t allow me any quality of sleep.
I was fed, washed and dressed waiting for the Doctor to arrive. He came over and asked all the usual Doctor questions. I explained my blood pressure cuff analogy to him and said that the pain had worsened the longer I had the cast on.
He was very friendly and supportive, even saying he would take my cast off to examine my leg. But as he did not perform the surgery, and wasn’t my Doctor, he had to wait to speak to a Consultant to see what to do.
Not too long after, my nurse came over and said he’d heard I had been uncomfortable all night, and I was complaining about the pain in my leg; to which I agreed.
“It sounds to me like your cast is too tight, let me go get some scissors and i’ll cut it off for you.”
The relief was evident on my now smiling face!
It took Rich, my nurse, a while, but he managed to cut the cast all the way down to the top of my ankle.
The relief was almost instant, my leg was on fire and heavily pulsing, but I actually managed to feel the blood pumping around my leg.
After a serious dose of medication and about half an hour later, I could feel my leg again, and not just agonising pain!
The Doctor came back not too long after and asked how the pain was, he was surprised to hear how drastically my pain scale had reduced.
“My ankle still feels really tight and sore, but it’s like my leg is able to breathe again.”
Rich, my nurse, was with me at this point and the Doctor said there and then to cut the cast off completely, the cast was obviously too tight and I should be fitted with a brace and not another cast.
You would have thought i’d just won the lottery with that comment, I was so ecstatic and relieved at the same time!
Again, as he was cutting the cast off my foot, I could feel the blood beginning to move freely around.
My entire leg was massively swollen, but the tight pain had almost fully disappeared!
Unfortunately it seemed like the surgeon, Doctors and nurses had not taken into consideration my Arthritis.
Whenever I have had a knock or bump to my body in the past, my Arthritis tends to balloon. So the combination of my accident and surgery on my leg, my joints were bound to become inflamed; specifically my knee and ankle.
And that was exactly what happened…
My leg had doubled in size… Couple that with an extremely tight cast and you’ve got a lot of pain through lack of circulation.
I trust Doctors, after all they are the one’s who went to medical school, but i’m an advocate for no-one knows your body better than you do. I’ve lived with chronic pain since the age of 7, so I know the difference between normal pain, and abnormal pain.
With each day that came and went my leg pain decreased, I owe a special thanks to my friend Oramorph for helping me with my pain relief!
Those first few days on Oramorph were certainly interesting, I was a little woozy, mostly sleepy and my brain felt like it was trudging through sludge… it even got to the point that I declared to the occupational therapist that if nothing was going to happen over the weekend then I was just going to go home and come back Monday – until my friend kindly pointed out that this was a hospital and they weren’t just going to look after my bed for me for the weekend until I decided to return!
When my brain and tongue finally engaged, I realised how ridiculous I sounded, and we had a good laugh at my expense! ;)*****
On a more serious note I did realise just how understaffed, overworked and underpaid the Nurses and Health Care Assistants actually are.
Some patients needed more support due to their age, physical restrictions and sometimes a combination of the two. It was eye opening to watch just how demanding some patients can be, and how in turn that has a domino effect on the rest of the ward and staff.
I also noticed the lack of financial funds that the NHS have on the ground and how that is impacting on patient care.
One particular lady was brought in because she had a fall and had broken her foot… She was also very elderly and suffered with Alzheimer’s
It was heartbreaking to watch her in such distress asking where she was, what had happened, where her parents were as they would be getting worried about her and the why couldn’t she go home?
When she first arrived she had one on one support from a nurse, but that didn’t last very long as the nurse had other patients and duties to attend.
It was awful to bare witness to her on a continuous loop, that turned into hysteria when nurses couldn’t be present to talk to her and soothe her.
When the nurses weren’t around I tried to engage her in conversation as best I could, going through the motions of answering her questions. At some points she and I had conversations about her life and the odd time she was even lucid for a few minutes, so it was lovely.
However being witness to this happening over a few days on one ward I am saddened that there not are specific wards for such patients who need that extra care, support and attention.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the only patient I saw this happening with. I moved wards on Saturday around midnight and there was a similar case with another elderly lady.
Thankfully this ward was much smaller and quieter so nurses and HCA’s could give more attention to her. However, other patients such as my neighbour and myself were forgotten on several occasions.
I blame the Government for these situations, not the Doctor’s,Nurses and HCA’s on the ground. But it’s plain to see that even being in a first world country, patients still aren’t getting the full care and attention they truly need.
I’m grateful to both hospitals for the care and treatment I received because without them I wouldn’t be at home recovering, trying to live a normal a life as possible as a one legged, blind short arse can 🙂
It’s not been plain sailing; lack of medication, supportive equipment, medical appointments and staples being in my leg 3 weeks longer than they should have been haven’t made my recovery easy but it’s been just over a month since my operation, so i’ve only got 8 weeks left to go!! 🙂
It was lovely to bump into you Becca, and meet you Eileen, i’m just sorry it was in such crappy circumstances!
I hope your recovery is going well and you’re kicking butt 😉