I just got back from an unexpected 4 days in hospital when a visit to A&E turned into a manyana game for an exit ticket.
On Monday I woke up feeling like my head was a bit blocked and on standing up was immediately breathless. Things did not improve and the next day the District Nurse came to drain my right lung – my wife was still recovering from an eye op so unable to do it.
I half wanted to have a good drain from the lung as that would have explained the problem. As in recent days there was only a trickle. Enough to show that it had not got blocked again, but not enough to have any impact on breathing.
The nurse reckoned my left lung sounded a bit blocked but said she was no real judge and suggested I go to my GP. I did that the next morning and he felt the same and gave me a letter for A&E at the RUH in Bath. If the left lung was kicking off again that would be a pain as I presume it would indicate the tumours had reactivated – it’s been quiet since the February denouement of this little saga.
At A&E I got triaged and cubicled quickly enough but it took about 3 hours to see a doctor and get an X ray which showed both lungs to be fairly light on fluid but some “fluffiness” on the lower left lung. There was speculation as to the cause – maybe incipient pneumonia?
I was then moved to the Medical Assessment Unit ward which is a kind of extension of A&E post triage. My bloods came back showing bad levels for CPR which is a marker to show you are fighting infection, and poor renal function (the kidney not cleaning up the blood as it should.
They put me on a saline drip and an antibiotic drip with the hope this would pick me up and I’d be able to get home with tablet antibiotics. Unfortunately the next day the bloods showed the same result, the next day very slight improvement and so on until I was moved to the Medical Short Stay ward. It’s my favourite ward – well run, quietly run, spacious, good windows (first floor) and with decent data and phone signals. Food still rubbish – but I had little appetite.
On Saturday I was offered the chance of going home but was told the medical advice was to stay. I really wanted out as there were a lot of very sick people there strangely enough, and I was not sure how I would get any better sitting in a ward full of pathogens than taking the drugs at home. The clincher was that the IV antiobotics are more powerful than the tablet form. Since I am desperate to get out of the damn wheelchair and crutches combo we decided we should maximise the chances of me being able to be fit enough for the knife on Thursday. I really wasn’t feeling any better either truth be told.
Today Sunday I felt better and when they took the bloods early they came back a little better. Not much but enough for the same consultant to say she was happy for me to go home. For once we did not have long to wait to get out. The problem usually is waiting for pharmacy for your take-home drugs, and the doctor to write the discharge letter. Luckily in this ward they let you go without one – they really need the beds. Extra lucky because a kind nurse took my pharmacy needs down straight away. Third stroke of luck was that when she went down just before lunch to see if the prescriptions were ready mine was the only one that had been done.
Our daughter was due to come and see me after lunch and take me back as my wife is still not driving and our son who has been staying, and being really helpful with the driving and countless small tasks, was away this weekend. However a kind and very smart neighbour had tricked my wife into getting a lift instead of the train/bus by claiming she was going to Bath to shop when in fact she had no such intention but knew that was the only way to get the offer of a lift accepted. I managed to call my daughter who had agreed to come early and caught her just as she had touched the motorway and so she was able to turn round and have lunch with her family.
So back at home now which is great.
A word about the leg
About a week after the radiotherapy on my right upper femur I started getting quite a lot of pain in it, as I had before taking the weight off with the chair and crutches. I’d been warned this was possible for a while. It would kick off in the middle of the night strangely enough. I took Naproxen for this which had been prescribed by my GP when I originally went to him about the leg pain. Apparently Naproxen (a form of Ibuprofen and very effective at this kind of pain) is not good news for my kidney and the doctors at RUH reckon it’s taken a hammering hence the poor renal count. So they took me off it and I’m back on Paracetamol which is fine anyway as I don’t have much pain now. Paracetamol seems a great basic pain killer with few side effects though I believe long term use can cause liver problems.
The bottom line is that my infection and renal function are improving pretty slowly. Also my red blood cell count is down. Apparently when your blood is dealing with infection the red blood cells are not replaced at the usual rate. So they reckon I need a blood transfusion which I hope will happen tomorrow when I see the onco for a catch-up and the surgeon to discuss the hip op.
I still feel congested and am more easily breathless than usual. My left lung tends to hurt a little when I breathe deeply rather than feeling a bit tight. This should improve with the course of antibiotics (I am on two).
The question is whether the surgeon will deem me fit enough for the knife which is uncertain. It may depend on how I progress during the coming week, so fingers crossed!