"4 days in New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton"

About: New Cross Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

A day or two after my 25th birthday, on February 1st 2008, I went into hospital in New Cross, Wolverhampton.

For the most part, the nurses were nice women and seemed genuinely to care for their patients - but this is my diary, written the day after I was discharged, and shows that my time there was not comfortable.

The waiting period on the first day was horrendous, I was waiting for around nine hours with no food after having missed lunch. The MRSA swabbing was embarrassing, as it was done with three other people in the room with me (two officials, the other my fiance) and the looks I received upon revealing my lack of religion were not terribly nice.

While I know that surgeons tend not to like getting too close to their patients, objectivity and so on, being treated like a piece of meat is not something one can enjoy.

~~~~~~~

Day 01:

At 16:00 went to GP, got told lump needed to be assessed at Emergency Surgical Assessment in the local hospital. By 16:30, we were there.

Saw a Nurse at 18:00, took MRSA swabs, wrote down my name, age, address, telephone number and asked me if I have a religion ("..eh, no, I'm an atheist, thanks.." *gets looked at funny*).

Saw Surgeon at 21:30, poked, prodded etc. New Surgeon had to get a second opinion, so I was poked, prodded and felt up all over again. Second Surgeon then tells me I'll need surgery to sort it out. I choose to stay overnight and be guaranteed a bed, rather than have to come in in the morning and wait around for hours for a bed.

I have blood taken - but because they can't find a vein in my right arm, I have to have it from the left and sit up to do it - nearly faint and throw up (I really hate needles and having my blood drawn) so get given time to recover and cocodamol.

Go back to waiting room, Matt (fiance) goes home to get me an overnight bag. By 11:30 am feeling like absolute shit and haven't eaten for 10 and a half hours. Nearly faint and throw up again, so doctors order the orderly to take me to my bed ASAP. Carry sick-bucket with me as I walk to it.

Am taken to ward C5 - a small six-bed room, three on each side. Exclusively female ward, with four other women there already. I chose the bed to the right of the door as we come in, so have a WALL as well as curtains.

Sit around waiting for Matt. Nurses find me dry tuna sandwich for dinner. Nil by mouth from midnight, so wolf it down in a hurry. Matt arrives at 00:10 and I get changed into nightgown and prepare to go to bed.

Matt leaves and I have blood pressure checked etc.

Fail to sleep all night because some poor person a few doors down is screaming in pain all night.

Day 02:

Woken up at 06:00 ish to have blood-pressure checked again. Temperature also taken with ear-thingy. Fall asleep again for a while. Woken up at 07:30 by breakfast trolley. Watch as other people eat.

09:00 My Consultant - arrives with troupe of surgeons and paperwork. Get poked and prodded and felt-up again. Am told it is 'most likely a cat scratch that caused this' (to which I think 'WTF?') and am put on Augmentin antibiotics every six hours and he'll come back to check again in the morning.

Matt arrives at 09:30, but because it's not official visiting hours, we go to the visiting lounge. Tell him how mind-numbingly boring it is.

At 10:00 am called back to have venflon fitted and antibiotics administered. Really don't want to do it. Nearly break Nurse’s fingers as they insert the damn thing into the back of my left hand. Then mouth tastes of burning plastic as they administer the augmentin.

Have lunch of what appears to be ground meat in gravy with side of limp runner beans. Hmmm hospital food.

Mind numbingly boring hours pass until 14:30 when Matt and Mom arrive! Official visiting hours now, so they sit with me in the ward. Mom figures out how to pay for my bedside console, so now have TV, Radio, Telephone and Internet access. (Though at this point, I only know about the TV and Radio)

More mind numbingly boring hours, where I get to know another patient, who is in with kidney problems and has to carry around a bag that's connected to her left kidney. Play with the console and watch TV for a while.

Another patient is wheeled in to the bed next to mine. Pulling a saline drip around after her whenever she goes to the toilet. Appears to be in constant pain.

Matt and Mum come back again at 18:30! They bring magazines and books and my MP3 player and my sketchbook and bathing stuff and fruit pots and apple+pear coridal and chocolate. They also inform me of how to make the internet work!

Get teary when they have to leave. Lots of hugs and stuff.

Share magazines with fellow patients. Get second augmentin injection. ICK. Furiously wash mouth out and complain that my hand hurts. Eat hmmm hospital dinner.

More interminably boring hours before third injection and more owwy hand. Distract self by updating DA journal and asking Becca to copy-paste it to YG for me, because I can't log in to YG while on this console.

Fail to sleep again because the ward is too hot and the patient in the bed across from me keeps crying and yelling for the Nurse.

So I turn on the internet and talk to Zorame via the Gmail chat thingy for a while. Manage to sleep.

Day 03:

Woken again at 06:00 for blood pressure and temperature check.

Eat breakfast of rubbery toast and crap cup of tea at 07:00 ish. Get bored and draw Maureen asleep in her chair.

Am informed my consultant is busy in surgery, so wont be free to see me until later. Get injected with more augmentin. Hurts hand even more. Eat chocolate to get rid of burnt-plastic taste.

Try not to listen as a patient cries when they stick her full of more needles. When her doctors and nurses are gone, go over to talk to her and distract her with my DA page. Giggle together for a while, until the nurse comes back to inject her with stuff.

Lots more hours of boredom and pain. Distract self by reading comments on YG and DA journals. Really don't enjoy augmentin injection.

Lunch of shepherd's pie and cabbage. Cabbage is gritty, so don't eat it. Shepherd's pie is too rich. Fall asleep and wake up to find my pudding is gone. Meh.

14:30 Becca visits! Happy time chatting and comparing venflon scars. Show her my doodles, she compliments me by adding her own doodle to my sketchbook.

Consultant finally makes an appearance. Declares all is going well after poking, prodding and feeling up. Must stay one more night, then go home tomorrow with augmentin in oral form.

Matt visits and tell him what’s going on. Am given clean clothing.

When time comes for next augmentin injection, complain about sore hand. Pick at dinner of Beef Hot Pot and ignore pudding. Feel ill.

Hours of boredom, broken by more reading of comments on DA and YG journals, listening to Regina Spektor on MP3 player and catch Torchwood ep3.

Spend some time chatting with Zorame on Gmail chat thingy again. Amuse her by typing erratically because of sore hand.

Last injection of the day, am given cocodamol because painy. Am injected and then feel distinctly ill. Nearly throw up. Am given anti-sick pills.

Spend night not sleeping again.

Day 04:

Woken again at 06:00 for blood pressure and temperature. Complain LOUDLY of painy hand.

Nurse checks venflon and decides it needs taking out. Hang around for ages waiting for doctor to check it.

Doctor finally checks it and decides to put new venflon in right hand. Am so tired and emotionally shit, that when she tries the first time, I nearly scream in pain and try to hit her, second time I burst into tears and third time, keep crying. Blood everywhere.

Spend hour telling myself to stop being a wimp and to stop crying. Doesn't really work. Both hands now fucking killing me and can't move them. Nurse finally takes left-hand venflon out and I cheer up a little. Am given cocodamol again.

Eat breakfast of rubbery toast, droopy weatabix and crap cup of tea. Am injected for final time with augmentin, in new right-hand venflon. Wave goodbye to my fellow patient as she is discharged and sent home.

Fall asleep for a while, until nurse wakes me up and says I'm going to be discharged, so need to vacate bed. Venflon removed. Now have two bandaged hands. Take a while to wake up a bit, tidy away stuff and then fall asleep in chair for an hour.

Am taken down to discharge lounge at about 10:30. Try my best not to fall asleep at the table and wait for Matt to come pick me up. Matt arrives and I get dressed. We wait around for prescription.

Am finally given prescription! Big box of HUGE augmentin pills, big box of cocodamol and small bottle of anti-sick pills. Am told must take augmentin three times a day for 12 days. Have to come back to the clinic in 3 weeks.

Fall asleep in taxi home. Fuss with the cats for a bit. Fall asleep in own bed. Spend the day vegging out and occasionally falling asleep.

------

So.. that was my trip to the NHS Hospital c.c

My left hand/wrist is swollen and painful because of the venflon. My right hand is pretty much alright.

The lump is very much still there, but the swelling has gone down. However, it is still incredibly painful - which is why the cocodamol.

I can't sleep on my left, I can barely use my left arm for anything. Luckily, I am right handed, otherwise I'd be going mad. I nearly DID go mad, when both hands had venflons in.

However, I am HOME! And really enjoying being home.

I have decided that I HATE HOSPITALS. We are going private when we get pregnant, I swear it.

Ugh.

Thank you to absolutely everyone who commented on my journals while I was away. Your comments kept me sane and relatively happy while I was trying not to be too emotional in there.

It seems such a trivial thing - I felt like a fraud being in there with just a mysterious lump.

So yeah. The doctors are still unsure of what is actually wrong with me. MY Consultant’s assertion that it is a cat-scratch that lead to an infection, just sounds like utter balls to me. My cats are indoor cats, they've never been outside. So anything they could pass on to me, is something that I could have got at any time myself. And which obviously they didn't.

Anyway - I'm going to see my GP on Monday and ask him to explain to me what the Consultant didn't.

Anyway. I'm still feeling sick and carrying a sick bucket around with me everywhere. I'm still in pain and I'm still faint. So.. ugh.

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