So I am now in hospital. It’s difficult to decide what to bring. How ill will I feel? Will I be able to wear my own pyjamas? Will I feel like getting dressed during the day? One thing I must not do is get bored. I have my phone, tablet and laptop, complete with external hard drive bursting full of entertainment. On the day, though, I am just so exhausted I barely look at anything. I am admitted at 9am and by 11am they have me whisked off to the treatment room where the drain is inserted with the aid of ultra-sound. And it’s nothing like the horrible, horrible drains I had post surgery so I am pleased about that. I have a little bag to carry around on a blue coat-hanger affair and I must not let it be higher than my chest.
At the first the fluid gushes out and quickly fills the litre or so bag. There are the usual fun and games with sticking plaster which still brings me up in painful blisters. Luckily I have one Mepilex dressing in my toilet bag so they use that, asking if I have any more at home. Within a few minutes, I am gripped by an intense pain in my shoulder and arm with a little pain in my chest. I have a passing wonder whether I am having a heart attack. The doctor comes back to see me to say my lung is flapping about and will cause this kind of pain for a while. I ask for painkillers and get Tramadol which does the job. Back on the ward, they see the bag is already full and change it. Various medics drift in and out of my awareness talking about pain and rates of drainage. Ms Marsden comes bearing gifts including a toilet roll with hearts on it and some cherries. The toilet roll I send home with Mr Mason but I eat the cherries during the evening. I get moved to a different ward and at some point during the evening it becomes clear Ms Cantini, desperate in her search for ‘going one better’ has had herself admitted and is in agonies with fluid around her heart. It’s outrageous and when my new breast care nurse comes to see me, I ask her to send a message saying “Stop stalking me” which she happily delivers.
The night passes slowly. It is hot and I am so tired I actually cannot sleep. One of the night nurses takes pity on me and gives me some sleeping tablets which work quickly. In the morning, while my bed is being made, I stroll down the corridor with my drainage bag, hoping people will not think it is wee, and find Ms Cantini with a nasal canula giving her oxygen. She admits her grand passion for me and explains about her pain and I forgive her. It is very hard to work out whether I may or may not be able to go home today. The nurse I asked gave an emphatic “No” but the consultant who has just wafted in in an “I’m important and don’t really speak to the patients” kind of air, seems to imply that if my drain is re-angled, I could go. I have no idea.
During the morning, I receive a call from Mrs O’Keeffe, who is the Deputy Justice’s Clerk at my local bench. I have made decisions about what work has to be ditched immediately and it is my beloved bench which is first. I was due to go back shortly and I am gutted not to be able to do this now. Mrs O’Keeffe is kindness itself and a very warm, human response to my email which was full of me gnashing my teeth over the whole situation. She agrees that once I am carefully maintained, she would be very happy to have me back and that’s exactly what I would like to do.
My eyes are closing even as I write and it’s obvious I need more sleep. I apologise for the lack of excitement in this blog. There are no strange people in the ward with me. 2 are Asian ladies, one who sings softly to herself quite a lot which is actually rather soothing and an elderly and very proper white lady who is reading Northern Lights. The only person scooting about in unsuitable clothes is me wearing a t-shirt and pyjama bottoms combo without a thought of the crimes against fashion being committed. Thank goodness there is no-one taking photos.