"My dad's bowel cancer operation"

About: Altnagelvin Area Hospital / Clinical Oncology

(as a relative),

My dad, a very quiet and private man, went through an operation for bowel cancer in Altnagelvin Hospital and had a bag fitted.

After he went into the hospital on a Thursday for the op on the Friday morning, we were told that he would be first on the list and go down at 8.30am and would probably get back to the ward around 1.00. Next day after an anxious wait my mum and i phoned to see how things went to be told that he was still in recovery and they could tell us nothing.

By 3pm visiting time we went up and got very worried he was still not up again we were told the same thing, by 5 and 7pm now thinking the worst and not being told anything, mum near to tears, we had another 2h.30 before he came back to the ward and we were told that he was ok and getting pain relief.

The whole family were in a state of panic. Mum, who is not well herself, and could have done without the stress, that a kind word of "the operation went well" was all that was needed.

Next came the smell that seemed to get worse as the day went on. It was not from the stoma as I had been up the day before to learn how to change it if needed and there was no smell. It makes me think that if the drain coming out his stomach was cleaned more often (he was in a weakened state and could not do it himself yet).

He said more than once that the smell was turning his stomach but the kind of man that he is was afraid to tell the staff in case they would get annoyed at him. But my point is that the smell was obvious to anyone passing the door, never mind going in, and should have been looked into without being told to.

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