The surgery on 9 Nov 2010 had lasted 9 hours but according to my surgeon Mr Neil Pearce (on the left on the picture below), I tolerated it well. My first week was quite tough and I outlined how this went in my blog ‘patient experience’ part 1. If you’ve not read it yet, please click on this link before reading any further.
By this stage of my stay, I’m now minus most of the temporary tubes attached to my body, a good sign of recovery. The one which seemed to offer me the greatest freedom when removed was the urine catheter. It doubled my speed down the hospital corridor during my daily exercises. It was also so much easier to get to the toilet, a much-frequented area at the time 🙂
Surprisingly, the comfortable and very adjustable hospital bed was starting not to seem so comfortable, and I was really looking forward to my own bed back home. Moreover, daytime TV was starting to become repetitive and boring!
However …… I had a pain right in the middle of my chest and it gradually became intolerable. To cut a long story short, a CT scan confirmed the presence of a postoperative seroma (a collection of fluid), and a minimally invasive aspiration was ordered. The radiologist covering my post-diagnostic scans was also an ‘Interventional Radiologist’ so was able to carry out this procedure guided by CT scan. There was a long list of scary risks explained by Dr Brian Stedman (on the right in the picture below) and I was put more at ease when he told me he had carried out this procedure more than anyone else in the south of England. It was amazing to watch, and it reaffirmed the amazing skills I knew this guy had. The liquid was successfully removed (pale yellow/beige) and it later tested negative.
As a consequence of this issue plus an elevated white blood count (indicating a possible infection), I was unable to go home as planned. However, I was in exactly the right place to continue my recovery. I had already been ‘declared’ fit to go home by the Physio, so used the additional time to improve my mobility and strength. The antibiotics dispensed for the suspected infection played havoc with my bowels exacerbating the post-operative problems already being encountered.
On 26 Nov 2010, I was released after 19 days of 24-hour care, doctors and nurses ‘on tap’. I’ve read it’s normal for patients to feel insecure when leaving the hospital after very close support from trained medical staff. Although I was to be well looked after by close family, I still felt a little exposed as Chris drove me away from the hospital complete with a plethora of various drugs I would need to continue my recuperation at home. So, feeling slightly exposed, quite fragile and vulnerable, off we went. The next few weeks were also tough but that’s another story for another day. However, it was good to be home and that’s part of the healing process.
Looking back, one of the most remarkable things is the ability to adapt to a new normal. I entered the hospital at 11st 7lbs in weight (161lbs or 73kg) and left at 10st 7lbs (147lbs or 66.7kg). Even after a few weeks, people said I looked unwell. Curiously I look really well today at the same weight I was when leaving the hospital.
Read about my Liver surgery which took place some 4 months after this one. Click here – Liver Surgery
Read about my lymph node surgery which took place in 2012. Click here.
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