Monday 28th November, 2011

A Frustrating Day in Hospital

Not a great night. The room I was in was very cold and the more blankets I put on the bed, the more weight was on my infected toe.

I was woken at 7am to have some antibiotics and then at 8:30 for breakfast, a small bowl of luke-warm unsweetened porridge. "I would make you some toast, but someone has taken our toaster". Both people commented on how cold my room was, but didn't do anything about it.

A hoard of doctors came in, I suspect that some of them were students. They looked at my toe and said that they wanted one of the doctors from the unit where I am having the chemotherapy to take a look before the decide what to with me. They also commented on the coldness of the room.

Sue arrived just after 10:30 after her doctor's appointment. She seemed very positive about what the doctor said. I immediately asked her to go and get me some coffee and something to eat. Meanwhile, the infection on my toe continues to grow in size and I am still waiting for a doctor.

At least I have a PC and an internet connection.

1pm. I have just been served a lunch which justified the reputation of hospital food and finally had the injection to boost my immune system that I would have started this morning at home. Still no doctor from the haematology ward (where I get my chemo) and still the area of infection on my toe is growing bigger. More antibiotics are due shortly, but the doctor this morning suggested that it might be a fungal infection in the nail bed, which is hard to treat with antibiotics.

There seemed to be a lot of miscommunication. A nurse arrived with a bag of saline to rehydrate me, but then a junior doctor decided that I am not dehydrated. I still haven't had any of my normal medication.

I understood that the short-stay ward in A&E is not suitable for people who have to stay a considerable time, but there was nowhere else for me to go. The room is still cold. I have a photo of my toe. If you are curious click here.

1:30pm. I have had the third dose of antibiotics. It is still cold .. everyone is offering me blankets! Now I have to keep my foot elevated, which is really uncomfortable. Where is the doctor from haematology?

Finally, the bed manager found me a side room on one of the wards, and when I finished the coffee that Sue brought me back from Costa when she went for her lunch, I was moved to a room on floor E. There was some heat in the room. Eventually one of the junior doctors from the haematology ward came to explain what was going on. They were still reluctant to lance the enormous liquid lump on my toe, so more antibiotics and if necessary more painkillers.

Sue went off to supervise swimming lessons at Cranbourne School while I waited in my isolation room and came back with my box of medication from home, just as dinner was being served. I must have been spoiled last time I was in hospital. This meal was also almost cold. Just after 7pm, I had another dose of antibiotic. My "obs" were still normal, so the infection was still contained in my toe, which continued to get bigger and bigger.

Sue and I had a short prayer time before she left to get something to eat and go home. Among other things, we prayed that I would be able to get home tomorrow.

It was a long evening. My morphine sulphate tablet was delivered at 10:15 and shortly after that, I received the last dose of antibiotics for the day. The final one was delivered by drip and I should only have been connected for 30 minutes, but when the drip had finished, I found it difficult to attract anyone's attention to disconnect it. At 11:30 the nurse finally came to flush and disconnect the line.

Part way through the evening, I discovered that my bed was broken and would not adjust. Last night, the answer to the cold was more blankets. Tonight the answer to a broken bed was more pillows.

At 11:45, I decided to get ready for bed and try to sleep. The morphine had reduced the pain from my toe, but after the drip, the site of the cannula on my left hand was rather sore. The bubble on my toe is bigger than ever!