"Nursing care after a back operation "

About: Gloucestershire Royal Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I was admitted to Gloucester Royal for a back operation (fusion) in winter 2010 and when I came round from the anaesthetic, due to my heart problems, I didn't go straight up to the ward until they felt happy. This part was fine. However, once I got onto the ward things went downhill rapidly. I started vomiting, which led to my not being able to control my bladder. I vomited so much that I inhaled my vomit and suffered a chest infection. However, all the ward were suffering in the same way, all were vomiting but generally took at least 20 minutes for the nurses to answer a request such as get a commode and then another 20 for them to help you to get off it.

I had so much morphine that the ceiling tiles seemed to be crawling about yet, when it was removed, they wouldn't let me go back to my fentonyl patches. These were locked in my cupboard but I wasn't allowed access to them or my other drugs for my heart condition yet, I had been told by the hospital to bring my medication in. The nurses seemed to ignore my medication and were then struggling through their ward cabinet to replicate it.

They also advised me that I would have to come off the patches and go onto tablets for my pain anyway - this is despite them being prescribed by their own pain specialist anyway! I was left lying in my own vomit and urine for hours until my husband came in and asked for clean sheets. They came but were put at the bottom of the bed and the nurse walked away. My husband asked when they were going to change me and the nurse said that she couldn't do it on her own and needed another nurse to help her. In the end the nurse and my husband changed my bed.

I caught a chest infection and they struggled to get the antibiotics to me on time, I had to keep reminding them to give them to me. I do not think I was alone in this experience, it seemed to be the same for some of the other patients on the ward.

I left after 4 days but it was a very frightening experience.

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