The decision to discharge me from hospital wasn’t taken lightly. My tummy was still leaking when I had any oral intake. My body was tolerating the feed through the pej which was the important thing.
The drive home was wonderful, I soaked in the scenery as Steve drove us home. I appreciated all the countryside I had missed seeing while being couped up in clinical clean setting. As we drove along the A1 I watched a ship sale down the river forth, a sight I normally took for granted. You don’t realise what you miss seeing when you are confined somewhere until you are actually back out there again. We rolled up in front of the cottage. I was so excited to get in and see the dogs. I had missed them so much. As they had missed me. Buddy and Bella were fabulous when I went in, no jumping up to welcome me. They were so happy, wagging tails furiously sitting at my feet.then running up and down the hall. Buddy getting my slippers. Tilting his head, looking at me – with a big grin on his doggy face and if he could talk I’m sure he would say “it’s lovely to have you home mum”. I’m a bit of a nutter and I imagine what buddy’s voice would be like if he could talk. He would be rather proper, roll his R’s and mind his P and Q ‘s. I’m sure he would have a fairly deep voice, and always be ever so polite. After all he is a pedigree – ha ha.
Steve had the house just perfect. Heating was on. Everywhere was so fresh and clean. He had bought a beautiful new duvet cover, pillows and sheets for our bedroom. It looked fantastic. And so inviting. I was so tired I couldn’t wait to get into that bed. Steve got all my things unpacked from the hospital; believe me there was lots to unpack. It’s amazing what you accumulate in hospital and all the lovely gifts you get whilst you are in. Once organised it was time to set up my machine and feed through the pej – this was my peg feed with a jejeustomy extension. Basically fed further down, bypassing my stomach giving the hole a chance to heal. The down side is the tube is very fine and very long so I can’t bolus feed only continuous with the pump. The other is I have to feed attached to the pump at home for 20 hours out of 24. However, if it helps me heal, keeps my blood sugars up and maintains my weight. I will go for this.
We get organised, set the feeding pump up and settle down for the night. Tomorrow we have the district nurses at 10am.
10am that familiar hello it’s only me rings along the hall. Evelyn the district nurse with her smiling face plumps her bum down at my feet on the sofa. How are you kid? She asks. We chat about my time in hospital. She cleans my peg site. Looks at my arms, –oh dear what’s been happening here? I explain when I was in hospital I had micropore on my inner arm for five minutes. Now it’s all blistered and sore. Evelyn puts a dressing on it. She then gives me my lanreotide which is due that day too. Full service on the sofa. After I’m dealt with, buddy and Bella come through to see their favourite nurse. They love her coming, as always buddy sits at her feet and tries to sneak a kiss like a naughty school boy. All the district nurses that visit are very friendly, good, very caring and more than competent at their job, all with an excellent bedside manner. And whichever nurse visits I know I will get first class treatment, well looked after, all my questions answered, and a bit of a blether. You shouldn’t have favourites but I do, and Evelyn is one of mine. She takes time to talk, always asks how Steve and the boys are. Thinks of things and advises us on all sorts of useful matters. Like organising my mattress lift, getting my cavilon prescription for my skin, taking letters to the doctors surgery and much more – if you say that’s brilliant thanks – she will reply it’s my job: well I know it is but I also know she goes that extra mile. I can hear Eveyln’s brain thinking what would be best for Elizabeth. She takes time to talk not only to me but to my hubby and sons if they are around.
The next day we muddle on together, Steve looking after me like I’m a princess, catering to every whim. While my nutrition goes through my tube. I still have use of my throat and swallowing mechanism. It was recommended that I try and eat very small portions, no meals as such. Mainly for my mouth hygiene. I also used mouth wash and foam lollies & ice. Steve and I love the TV show supervet. There was a cat with a wound that would not heal – bit like me – vet cured it with honey. Gave Steve an idea. Steve made a a slice of toast and put honey on it. I ate half a slice. Got to admit I really enjoyed it – I love honey – and the taste and feel of something in your mouth when you haven’t been well and have not eaten for a while is a wonderful feeling. Shortly after eating the toast I checked my dressing, oh my goodness, dressing and tummy covered in honey. I needed an appointment with my GP to discuss pain management, my wound, and a few other things. Steve called the surgery. I had an appointment for the very next day at 9.15am.
Up with the lark we get ourselves ready, or should I say Steve gets us organised. Everything perfect to the last detail. I’m hooked up to my feed. He has put my pump and stand in my favourite Gorjus rucksack that Brian & Margaret bought for me in Ibiza – all tubes safely tucked away – no tripping zones. Wheelchair in the boot, just in case we can’t get parked in the car Park and it’s too far to walk.
Great there is a space right at the surgery – sun shining on us at last. The walk to the waiting room was a mean task – but I did it and I’m damn proud of it. We didn’t wait long and then the GP opened the door and called me. Just take your time – your pace. She says. In her consultation room we discuss my time in hospital, my pain mamagement and she voices her concerns that I am home with an open wound with leaking gastric fluid. And still in some considerable pain. She gently touches my inner arm and I winced. My what’s up here. I pulled up my sleeve. And she saw the dressings that were put on two days ago by my district nurse. It was decided to take a dressing of. As we took it of together a horrid stench filled the air and a nasty looking greyish green pus ran down my arm. The good thing was the dressing had brought all the bacteria to the surface, now we needed all the awful stuff to leave my body. Oh dear we will have to get the treatment nurse to look at this now. But firstly. I will write you a prescription for antibiotics. Once finished with the doctor, Steve and her took me through to Yvonne the treatment nurse. Yvonne, carefully patched me up. Cleaning my peg site, then using iodine on my arms then dressings to cover up all the infected areas. Yvonne, as always was fantastic, not always fixing me up physically. She listened, gave me a willing ear – an emotional crutch for a few minutes just when I needed it. Yvonne took me back out into the reception area and instructed the girls on the desk I needed to come back in three days. She said to me see you in three days, but if you feel unwell get the district nurses to come to you and do the dressings, do not come out if you feel unwell. And she said to Steve best get that wheel chair to get her to the car. And so he did.
Day 5 home from the hospital I had a visit from my community dietician, Marion. She deals with all my orders for my feeds, my pump, etc. Marion visits me at home offering information, advice and general moral support. When we started talking about how I was feeling, how much was still leaking out Marion wasn’t too impressed. She felt it wasn’t too good for a home situation. She discussed things with Steve and I and asked if she could talk to my gp and my consultant at the hospital and let them know her concerns. Her main worries were I was not getting enough calories in to satisfy my hungry malabsorbing body and the leaking peg site was not ideal. I don’t know what weight I will have, I’m after all only a mere dietician she said. But leave it with me.
We managed together for the next couple of days. It wasn’t always easy. I was fatigued. Tummy sore. Peg site leaking. The home phone rang. It was our GP. Elizabeth, how are you feeling? I answered truthfully. She came back with I’m just off the phone to your consultant at the western general hospital – he wants you to go into hospital today. How do you feel about going in now? It took the wind out of my sails, however I knew it was the right thing to do. Steve packed me a bag, as he did, I wandered into the kitchen and gave my loyal labrodors, buddy and Bella a hug each. I won’t be away as long as last – promise ❤️