The following morning I was WINNING AT LIFE when the Italian care assistant, who told me he liked my posh accent, muttered that he had a spare boiled egg if I wanted it. I am a big believer in seizing an opportunity – it was delicious.
By the time the team came round, I was out of bed with a clean night shirt and my leg up on a stool, maybe even a little bit of mascara – things were looking up already.
Prof Redmond explained he was happy for me to go home that day but we just had to wait for the results of the MRI on my ankle. He was certain there would be nothing to worry about but he wanted to have it out of the way before I left. He thanked me for letting him operate on me! I was so shocked. How can such a genius be such a humble and caring man? I think he understood how incredibly grateful I was, I hope I conveyed that to him strongly enough.
Katrina (guardian angel nurse) explained that I would need to see my GP in a week to change the dressings and that I would come back to the dressing clinic in Cork the following week where they would examine the drain and the wound site.
Here is my one and only tiny criticism of CUH and I tell you this only for anyone who might be facing this op to give them a useful heads up. Make sure your drive home is available from first thing that day. I am well aware of the massive time constraints nurses work under and the need for beds to be filled asap.
I rang my partner to say I was definitely being discharged and to make his way to Cork as quickly as he could. It is normally a 2 hour, 20 min journey. From previous experience, I figured it would take that amount of time for the discharge papers to be sorted and a prescription written.
The lovely young doctor who had tried to take my blood on the morning of the op came to tell me that the MRI on my ankle was, indeed, clear and all was well.
A nurse from another ward was having a conversation in the corridor about needing my room asap and dispatched two nurses to strip my bed. I shuffled off to the bathroom to attempt to get dressed. I had bought loose linen trousers as I knew I would have this drain in my thigh but I hadn’t thought about how the drain would attach to my trousers. I have to confess, I stood in the bathroom half dressed and had a little cry. I pulled myself together and called the nurse for some assistance. I got the distinct impression she thought I was a bit simple! The problem was I thought I would pull the drain out if I moved the tube too much when getting dressed. I will explain in a later blog that this was virtually impossible, but right then I didn’t know that. She tucked the drain and the PIKO battery box into the waistband of my trousers – so easy when you know how.
For anyone about to go through this, the best thing you can do is cut a hole in a pocket of your trousers and feed the tube through that. Also a big safety pin, you probably call them a nappy pin, is invaluable. This drain is going to be with you quite a while – find the best way to make it as convenient as possible.
Once I was discharged, dressed, with prescription in hand it felt that I was in the way. I was holding up the room. The nurse asked me to move to the family room and that was that – they were done with me. It’s just such a shock to go from being cossetted in your hospital bed to being back out in the real world with your own bag to lug about.
I waited in the family room for about half an hour but the fact of the matter was I would miss out on my vegetarian pasta! I was discharged and no longer belonged in the ward. I plonked my bag up onto my shoulders and shuffled down three floors to the coffee dock to await my chauffeur. Between you and me I think he went back to sleep, but he is adamant he had the journey from hell so we will go with that. He eventually collected me and we set off home. Katrina (guardian angel nurse) had advised him to bring a pillow for the journey home and this was invaluable. With the pillow across my lap under the safety belt, it absorbed the pain of every bump in the road.
So that was it – I was home. But is this where the hard part really starts?