The following Wednesday was my first trip to the Dressing Clinic in CUH. My sister in law handed over the responsibility to my partner – he was, errrm, delighted.
The 100 miles journey there went quickly enough as were both buoyed up with the thought the drain would be coming out, maybe the staples, but I would be a lot less hampered and feel like I was on the road to recovery.
If you have never been to a dressing clinic, let me prepare you because I was certainly not prepared. My previous appointments in CUH had all been in the lovely Orchid Centre which is quiet and discreet. There’s not a huge amount of waiting around and it’s small enough for the nurses to know who you are. I think I had expected something similar from the dressing clinic.
You are advised not to arrive any earlier than 15 minutes before your appointment time. I can only assume, judging by the amount of people in the waiting room and corridors, that the majority of Cork & Kerry residents blatantly ignore this advice. There is the most patient receptionist I have ever met working the front desk. If CUH ever give out staff awards, this lady should certainly have one. Depending on the type of dressing you are having changed, the receptionist advises you where to sit – well stand, or maybe perch on the edge of a seat with a stranger in my case.
Thankfully, I will happily talk to anyone about any thing. I appreciate I am a woman of a certain age, but let me tell you, I was bringing the average age range down considerably. That made me a magnet of curiosity for the ladies & gents sat around me, especially the lady who had let me perch half a cheek on her seat!
I dispatched my partner to buy a newspaper rather than watch him squirm any further as the questions came in a flurry. Once he was gone I had a most entertaining conversation with the lady who actually wasn’t there for herself but for her husband who was sitting at the other end of the corridor, completely ignoring her.
Just as I was starting to worry that all of these people had to be seen before me, out of the sea of faces arrived Katrina (guardian angel nurse). She quickly took me off to a small room where the surgical team were waiting. A dressings nurse removed the remaining dressings and the team examined the wound site and the drain. I had kept a diary of measurements from the drain each day and knew that the fluid was now clear.
I know you can sense a disappointment coming & you are right. The team felt the fluid had not reduced enough and needed to be left in for ANOTHER TWO WEEKS. I tried to persuade them it needed to come out. As my friend pointed out later ‘so you tried to argue with the cancer professional and he didn’t agree?’ I guess it was a bit pointless. Their concern was that when the tube comes out, the actual hole is only a pin hole and if the fluid still needs to come out, it could force itself through the wound site. When you put it like that, I suppose they might have been correct.
They decided to remove every other staple which the dressing nurse did. She was incredibly gentle and chatted the whole time so that I barely noticed her clipping away at the staples. The team were pleased with the wound recovery and even through my disappointed eyes, I could see it was healing well.
New dressings were put on and I was advised to get them changed again with the local nurse the following week.
I cannot tell you how disappointed I was to be going home with the drain still stuck out of my thigh, The only thing I had gained was a shiny new nappy pin to hold it in place. I think Katrina (guardian angel nurse) was concerned I was cutting a hole in all of my clothing!
The journey home, the same 100 miles, took forever. I was in pain and being a general misery guts.
So far I haven’t mentioned the real love of my life, that is Roger the ginger prince. He is my ginger tom cat. He has owned me all of his life; 15 years. In that time he has sat on my lap approximately twice. He just isn’t a lap cat, everything is done on his terms. When I have been in hospital previously, he has always studiously ignored me afterwards as if I smell odd.
This day when I came home so down hearted, I took to my bed. Designated Survivor wasn’t going to cut it today. Roger hopped into bed and lay across me, staring into my face, purring. It was a very odd experience. There has been other times when I would have worried he was about to slash my face off, but this was different. Somehow, he knew I was pushed to the limit and for once in his life he was actually the thing he tells his mates he is – Roger Good Boy.
Since that day, he hasn’t changed his naughty ways completely – where would the fun be in that – but he has continued to lie in bed next to me and to sit next to me on the sofa. Maybe it is my imagination, but I think he knows I needed some comfort and he stepped up to the mark.