I am home. Released from my medical confinement in Ward 2 yesterday evening. Throughout my 4 days in hospital I never really felt that unwell but strangely back home I am feeling somewhat “washed out”. Work have kindly allowed me to “take a day” to recuperate which is what I am doing.
A reflection on the past few days.
Returning from South Wales last Wednesday little did I know that breaking down with a shredded tyre on the busy M40 was the least of my worries. The two hour wait on the roadside as the sunset probably contributed to the dehydration which fed through into the blood test on Thursday morning,as much as the time on the beach enjoying the summer sun on Tuesday and the inevitably higher intake of alcohol that comes with eating out on holiday during out short break.
Whatever the reasons my kidney (I only have one – from birth) was not coping well. For new readers this blog started when four years ago I discovered I had a form of cancer called Myeloma and this has contributed to Chronic Kidney Disease. The cancer has been dealt with and is in current remission. My kidney however has suffered and functions poorly. Even so It has been stable for three years, until last week.
I did not react well to the news I was being called in to hospital. The diligent doctor who informed me was given a cool reception and I did not want to process the news. I DID NOT FEEL UNWELL, but they wanted me to entertain the possibility that the Myeloma was back. A return to Square One!
I sat in A&E for 8 hours whilst blood tests were repeated, doctors consulted, a cannula fitted, a drip attached and then I was plugged into an ECG device. Each and every one of these a repeat of events of 2017 at the start of my journey. I finally got a sandwich and a drink about 9pm. Two hours later at 11pm I was admitted onto Ward 1 – a general ward for assessment. Prior to admission two Covid tests (PCR and LFT) as well as a test for MRSA.
I spent a day on Ward 1 before being transferred to Ward 2 where the assessment was less intense. Both wards were interesting. My fellow patients and I had something in common. None of us wanted to be there. Most of them were geriatric and seemingly had degrees of dementia. I had been incredulous and cool to my doctor but these men were often aggressive and openly rude to nurses and doctors alike. The nurses were run ragged by requests. They were rarely able to keep up and this would make the grumpy men even grumpier. Most of the men were attached to catheters with all the attendant issues. One man kept trying to pull his catheter out and had no idea why it was fitted. The various beds needed changing frequently and the men were often aggressive when approached for ops or bed washing. Other men just wanted to escape and ‘have a fag (cigarette)’. One mobile man with dementia kept leaving the ward and then couldn’t remember which ward or bed he was in.
I had made up my mind to be more positive, though I was glad when my wife was with me as the doctor spoke to me on day 2 – at this stage Myeloma was still a prospect and I did not want to hear this.
It was early on Saturday that the doctors informed me that the blood tests were negative for Myeloma. This was a relief – a weight of my mind, an answer to prayer. It meant that I wasn’t being moved to Ward 25 but I wasn’t going home either. They wanted to investigate the kidney issues and needed to do more blood tests and talk with my Renal consultant who is based in Oxford. So I was to be on Ward 2 for the weekend. Surrounded by the grumpy and forgetful men, the saintly nurses (almost all of whom are first generation Africans – what would we do without these selfless expats who back up our health service so ably). ‘I take my hat off to them’- it puts teaching unruly children into perspective.
My time on Ward 2 began to relive the lyrics of ‘Hotel California’
“You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “
There was no TV or radio. Thankfully my smartphone allowed me to watch IPlayer and All4 so I caught up on some TV. Played computer games, read my kindle, tried to sleep – not easy ona busy ward. Tried to shut out the chaos around me at times. My phone was my saviour!
I was told on Sunday morning that I would be able to leave, but it took until Sunday evening before I could – even then I left without my meds (pharmacy had not got their act together) meaning I will need to return later today to collect them.
I shall have face to face consultations with both Haematology and Renal consultants in the weeks to come and decisions will be made as to what happens next, but for now the ordeal is over and life can return to normal.