Friday, 7 May 2010

Day 52 – A bright red hip

Friday 30th October 2009

My wound has been leaking quite a bit again, so the drainage bag, which was changed just after lunch yesterday, was very full. My hip where the drainage bag was, had become very red so mentioned it to one of the nurses this morning. She didn’t seem that bothered…

There was a secondment charge nurse on the ward so he was shadowing both Norma and Maureen, the auxiliary nurse. I heard Norma say to him that both Mary’s and my dressings didn’t need changing - my draining bag was now full to the point of overflowing.

I was standing just outside my room, waiting for Maureen to get me a clean hospital dressing gown, when Terriseta, who had just started her afternoon shift and was being briefed by Sister Clarke, noticed my bag.
“Marie”, she gasped, “that bag needs changing”.
“I know”, I replied, “but Norma said it didn’t need too”.
She told me to go back into my room and she’d change it as soon as Sister had finished de-briefing her.

Good to her word, Terriseta came back about five minutes later with another bag.
“Your hip is very red”, she said, as she removed the old bag.
“I noticed it this morning”, I replied, “I did mention it to one of the nurses, but…”
She smiled, “I’ll have another look at it later tonight”.
“I know you’ve just come on duty”, I asked, “but do you know when the plastic surgeon will be coming. I was told he would be around today”.
“He usually comes in the morning”, she replied.
“Don’t worry”, she said, trying to reassure me, “if his surgery has run late he has been known to come on the afternoon”.

Doctor Richard called just before afternoon visiting and he was very sheepish. It looked like Sister Clarke had had words with him. He asked me how my wound was doing so I showed him.
“It’s still leaking”, I said.
He nodded. “Mr Green was furious with you”, he replied.
“Me !!”, I exclaimed, “what I have done”.
“Not actually with you, yourself”, he said, “more with your body. He’s not happy that your wound is still oozing”.
“He’s not happy !!”, I replied, “neither am I….”.
“Mr Green is a perfectionist and when something doesn’t go right, he considers it as a failure on his part and takes it personally”.
“I’m on holiday from tonight for 10 days”, he continued, “so I doubt I’ll see you again as you’ll have either gone home - fingers crossed, or you’ll have been transferred to Durham. I hope everything goes well for you”.

When my mam arrived for afternoon visiting she handed me a carrier bag.
“What’s this”, I asked.
“A new dressing gown”, she answered, “I called into Newcastle and bought you one”.
“Thanks, but I don’t need another one”, I replied.
“You can’t use that one”, she said, pointing to the dressing gown that was hanging at the back of my chair, “as you say it’s too heavy for you. So I’ve bought you a lightweight one”.
“I really am happy just using the hospital gowns, especially as I keep leaking on them”.
I could tell by my mam’s face that she wasn’t amused. Whilst I was content to use the hospital gowns, I knew my mam wasn’t, and knowing her, it was going to be easier all round if I just accept it, rather than have an argument.
“Ok, thanks”, I said, “it’s lovely”.
Her face brightened up considerably, “I knew you’d like it”, she said…

Andrew, the microbiologist, popped his head around the door so I introduced him to my mam.
“There’s a slight abnormality with your liver”, he announced, “but that’s normal, given the strong antibiotics you are taken”.
“Is it serious”, I asked.
He shook his head, “It’s nothing to worry about”, he said, trying to reassure us, “the liver is very good a mending itself”.
He asked what the latest developments were regarding my hip so I explained about the muscle transplant.
“I’ve also developed a redness around my hip”, I told him.
He asked if he could have a look at it.
“Have you made anyone aware of this”, he asked.
“Yes”, I replied, “but no one seemed to be that interested”.
“Would you mind if I asked a doctor to take a look”.
He came back a couple of minutes later with a lady doctor and gave her a brief history of what had happened to my hip.
“I’ve seen your face before”, she asked, “were you in ward 43”.
“Yes”, I replied.
“I thought I recognised you. I saw you a couple of times when Mr Green did his rounds. You look much better now than you did then”, she commented.
She had a good look and prod around my hip.
“The area is slightly warm. Are you in any pain or discomfort”, she asked.
“No”, I replied, “I’m really itchy, all over, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the redness”.
She pressed the wound area again and announced that there didn’t seem be a build-up for fluid inside it, which was good news.
“I’d rather not change your antibiotics”, said Andrew, “unless I really have to".
He looked at his watch.
“I’ve got to dash”, he said, “I’m not on call this weekend, but one of my colleagues is. If there’s any problem let him know”.
The lady doctor took out a marker pen and drew around the edge of the redness.
“That’s to see if it spreads”, she said, “we’ll keep an eye on it over the weekend so I’ll get one of Mr Green’s team to have a look at it tomorrow”.
She continued, “you mentioned about being itchy. Whereabouts”.
“Mainly my back and my arms”, I said, “I think it’s because my skin is so dry”.
“I’ll prescribe you some moisturiser. Don’t get your hopes up, it’s not anything fancy”, she smiled, “that should ease it. If not I’ll prescribe some piriton”.

There was still no sign of the ‘plastic man’ so I asked nurse Tracey if she had any idea when he would be arriving. She looked at her watch.
“It’s 4pm now”, she said, “he usually works until 5pm, then sometimes calls to see patients after his surgery finishes, so there’s still time”.

At 6pm there was still no sign of the ‘plastic man’. I was not impressed… Woe betide if I had to remain in hospital purely just to see him next Friday!!!!

Whilst John was visiting Terriseta came and asked how the redness on my hip was. I explained about Andrew getting the doctor to have a look at it.
“I’ve been thinking”, I said, “the redness only appeared after I had this type of dressing on. Could I be allergic to it”.
“I never thought of that”, she replied, “are you usually allergic to dressings”.
“Not that I was aware”, I answered, “but I haven’t had that particular type of draining dressing on before”.

Terriseta changed the dressing bag to a completely different kind.
“We’ll see if your theory is right”, she said.

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