Saturday, 2 June 2012

Hospital admission Day Comes !!

Its arrived, Monday 7th November 201, the day I've been waiting for since being diagnosed with this Cancer. My son, Tom, has volunteered to drive me in, and I'm due to be admitted at 2.00pm.

Parking at the RNOH Stanmore is at best difficult, its an old hospital, with buildings dotted around the vast grounds. It's just inside the M25, and adjacent to the M1. Regeneration has started, but it's going to take many more years before it's complete. However it's not the buildings that matter, it's the quality of the medical services and the staff that count.

The RNOH is probably the best Orthopaedic Hospital in the UK, so I'm in good hands

My calf the night before surgery
showing the tumour

We arrive early, luckily we find a parking space, and report to the admissions office. After checking my details I'm given my paperwork in a sealed bag and a site map and told to report to "Duke of Gloucester" ward. Most of the wards are located together in a series connected buildings fairly near to the admissions office. Duke of Gloucester ward is located some way away through the main ward block and a walk in the open along covered walkways.

We arrive at the ward to be met by a young nurse, I introduce myself only to be greeted with a vacant look !!
We are ushered into what she calls the "Day Room" It's a small room with concrete walls and roof complete with roof skylight. I reality it's more like the interior of a World War II pill box. There's a TV, and the usual selection of PVC covered NHS standard issue chairs. We are asked to wait. About ten minutes pass and the nurse returns saying that unfortunately there is no bed available for me in the ward, but a bed has been found elsewhere.

We are directed to the Rehabilitation Ward which is directly opposite across the main road. On Arrival we report to the office, three nurses in the office seem busy and unaware of my arrival. We wait in the corridor for what seems a lifetime, but  is probaly only 10-15 mins. A nurse appears from the office and takes us to a conservatory located halfway down, and off the ward. The conservatory is the ward Day Room, and contains a TV, tea & coffee making facilities. We are told to wait here.It seems there is no bed ready here either.

Not wanting Tom to catch the rush hour on the M25, I suggest that he leaves and I can wait. Tom says he'll give it another half hour, so we make a coffee. Time marches on and I eventually persuade Tom to leave a good hour after we arrived in the conservatory. We say our good byes and Tom wishes me the best for the operation.

I sit and watch a bit of TV, not really taking it in, just going through the motions. Two people arrive and start arranging the chairs in a semi-circle, followed by another 8-10 people who take their places. I'm sitting at the back watching a meeting start to commence. The meeting is about the effects of tattoos and body piercing. Thinking that this is a bit weird in an orthopaedic hospital I announce that I shouldn't be there, grab my bag and do a runner !!  I go to the office, find a nurse. I'm informed a bed is now ready, and I'm shown to it. It's the first bed on the left hand side, and closest to the toilets, showers etc. so that's handy.

The operation is the next day, so I can't unpack my bag, as after the operation I'll be taken to the the Duke of Gloucester Ward for the rest of my stay. I settle in and look around the ward. Of the 12 beds there are 8 or 9 beds taken, some patients are sleeping, some listening to music, and some on computers. I try to engage with a couple of the closest inmates without much success. All the inmates seem a little odd, and I'm not sure exactly what this rehabilitation ward is for. Still its getting later now, Tom has phoned to say he got back to Tiptree OK with no hold ups, and the evening meals are being bought round. Not having pre ordered a meal there's nothing for me to eat. A male nurse spots this and kindly goes off to organise something with the kitchen. ten minutes later soup, shepherds pie, and a pud arrive.

That evening I shower and prepare myself for the next day. One of the Surgeon's team comes round to briefly discuss the operation and to mark the correct leg with a felt tip pen. Followed later by another member of the team who also marks the leg with a pen. (Guess this is to make sure they operate on the correct leg)

My last visitor of the evening at around 8.30 is the anaesthetist, a lady, who tells me how she intends to control my unconscious state during the operation. As the tumour is on the calf muscle I will be lying on my front with my head to the side, a tube down my throat and my bum in the air !!  She leaves telling me I'm No 1 on the list so will be seeing her in the morning at 7.30 at the theatre.

Tomorrow : Operation Day arrives !!

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