When I first decided to bare my soul and write about my illness and time in hospital (which, to be honest, was minutes after the catheter was introduced to Lil Jez) I had no idea of the reaction it would provoke.
This will, hopefully, be my last my hospital related post for a while, and so I wanted to take time to say thank you to all who have stopped by here, have left comments (and those who have emailed me directly) wishing me well and telling me how they’ve been entertained by my missives, and those who have felt that my posts have allowed them to revisit things that had happened to them, and to tell me (and often anyone else reading the Comments) about their own experiences.
As I hopefully explained last time out, my ability to respond to all of the comments and messages has been more than a little bit hampered by my ongoing health issues, and in any event I’ve always been a bit rubbish at that aspect of blogging; I worry that my response may come across as glib, crass, or sarcastic. So y’know (*shuffles awkwardly and looks at his feet*), cheers.
Also, thanks to my friends and family who stayed in touch throughout my ordeal, and carried me through.
I said I’d provide you with an update after my last visit to hospital to meet with the haematology consultant on Tuesday. Those who have read the comments left after that day will have seen that I came away from the appointment feeling much appeased, having got some answers about what happens next, and, moreover, that the arthritic issues I’ve been experiencing are being investigated and addressed.
Shortly after I was discharged back in November, I was asked to return to the hospital to have a PET scan. For those not versed in medical terminology, PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, which probably doesn’t clear things up much. So, from the NHS website: “PET scans are used to produce detailed 3-dimensional images of the inside of the body. The images can clearly show the part of the body being investigated, including any abnormal areas, and can highlight how well certain functions of the body are working.”
Since I had the scan back in November, and hadn’t heard anything about it again, I’d assumed nothing of interest had been found, and promptly forgot all about it.
No such luck. The consultant explained to me that the scan had shown I have enlarged lymph nodes in three areas, the worst being in my left arm pit. The cause of these need investigating, and it may be the case that I have a tumour – but he was very keen to stress that at present if I do, they do not think that that it might be cancerous. So in a few weeks I’ll be summoned back to have a small surgical procedure to allow them to investigate further.
He also explained that the swollen lymph nodes are probably the cause of the loss of strength and grip in my arms, and this makes sense, since it is my left arm which is worst affected. So the plan is: have the further investigations, treat appropriately, and if that doesn’t sort out the arthritic problems, I’ll be referred over to a rheumatologist who can have a go at working out what’s wrong with me.
Anyway, further updates will follow, but the consultant reassured me that I do not need to worry. The concerns I aired in my last post have been put to bed for the time-being, my faith in the NHS restored, and I hope that when writing about my experiences I haven’t been overly-critical or given the impression of being disappointed of any of those who have nursed me back to the level of health I’m now at.
In particular, I’d hate anyone to think I was dissing any of the nurses or health care assistants (HCAs) who looked after me when I was in hospital; although occasionally one would come into my room, reading the application instructions off a tub of lube and asking me whereabouts it needed to be applied (“Take a peek under the sheets, that should give you a pretty good clue…”) they were, uniformly and often individually, all wonderful: caring and attentive to my every need. Without the merest hint of a complaint, these people mopped up my puke and moisturised my scrotum. They brought me water and, eventually, food; they changed my bedding, they adjusted my bed so my arse wasn’t numb. As I said on Twitter shortly after I was discharged: angels, every one of them.
And, of course, I can’t eulogise about the wonderful NHS staff without making a point. I’d say around 80% of the nurses, HCAs and porters who I came into contact with were not born in the UK, and of those maybe 60% were from the EU. Some of them told me, when I asked them, that whilst they love their jobs and want to make a career out of caring, they felt increasingly marginalised and sometimes unwanted, and were unsure whether they would want, or be allowed, to remain in the UK post-Brexit. To lose these unselfish, caring men and women from our health service would be an absolute travesty.
A couple of HCAs, on my last day, came into my room and asked if I would complete performance-related questionnaires about them. It was the least I could do, and I made sure I gave them glowing reviews, partly in the hope that it might make them want to stay and care for whoever the next poor sod to occupy my bed might be, but also because…well, never know when you’re next going to be back in hospital, and the last thing you want is a carer with a long memory in control of your catheter.
So, this: not much of a tribute, I know, but in an age when our beautiful, wonderous NHS seems to be vilified, denigrated and underfunded at every opportunity, it’s the best I can do:
The Raw Herbs – She’s a Nurse