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Archive for March, 2012

The recovery

They got the cyst and a few other things as well that shouldn’t have been there or couldn’t be saved, but the main thing was it was benign even it was something of a monster.I actually have a photo but on account of it being rather gross – it’s one thing to talk about it but quite another to inflict it on people – I’ve declined to upload it. But if anyone is super keen I can mail it : )

I was allowed the day of my surgery to waft in and out of consciousness and do nothing very much, including eating, but the next day, the gloves were off and so was my catheter. They had me out of bed, peeing and sitting up in a chair so when the surgeon could come round, he could see how wonderfully well I was recovering and tell me I could be out the afternoon of the next day. I did have things I wanted to ask him but he was accompanied by about five other people, including one who recognised me as being the other one’s wife, ‘yup hello, yes I have just had a cyst whipped out, I feel like crap, look like crap and probably smell as I’ve not showered in two days now, but really lovely to meet you yes’. Privacy really is a thing to behold.

Lovely flowers, at home in jug.

The other one arrived bearing parcels and friends came with flowers, which were lovely, and I felt justifiably ill which was good. I’d moved on from liquids to soft diet that unfortunately didn’t include chocolate so I just stared at what I had. I was hoping that the hospital stay might result in the loss of a couple of pounds – and what with the cyst gone too, I might even have gone down a dress size.

I had an injection that evening to help relieve the pain as it was still sore but next morning, I felt better, which was a good job as they were preparing to kick me out. The day before I hadn’t been sure if I felt ready to go, but now I did. The stay had been fine, the hospital was clean, the staff well trained and efficient if not all of them super friendly, the food (what I’d had of it) decent and the surgery seemed all good too. I’m glad I had it done in Seychelles, but then it came to discharge.

They changed my dressing, totally confused me with advice as to whether I could shower/when I could take the dressing off, told me when I could sweep/mop, swim, drive and have sex again but didn’t tell me how to look after the wound, what my body may do or feel like during the healing process,what side effects I might have ,or any exercises for strength that I might do. They also gave me a sick note and appointment for check up – in mid april.

Let’s hope that I’m ok until then.

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The operation

Cor blimey, they like you up bright and early in hospital. They came round to check my blood pressure about 5.30am and I was allowed another hour’s grace before I was told I had to be up and showered, nice and clean for the people who were going to open me up. Having been nil by mouth since midnight, I was put on an IV drip and had a catheter inserted. Peeing, frankly, I hadn’t thought about and was glad I hadn’t. I’m not sure what the nurse did but I was glad that she seemed very efficient at it. For the first half hour or so it felt very strange, like I really needed to go to the toilet but couldn’t, then it was fine. There was no word about when I may be taken down to the operation theatre and just as I was discussing with the other one that maybe we should ask, the guy came with the gurney/trolley? onto which I inelegantly shuffled and the nurse plonked my bag of pee on top of me. Ahhh such dignity.

I was wheeled into some waiting area outside the theatre where another girl on a trolley was alongside me,she went in first and then an anaesthetist came out to see me. He could apparently speak a few languages but wasn’t so good at English he reckoned. I said I spoke a bit of French and he said something in French and I looked at him blankly. I was annoyed that I hadn’t understood, but then I think I was being a bit harsh on myself. I was on a hospital gurney about to go in for surgery.

A few minutes later and I was rolled into theatre which I remember being green and dimly lit.They hooked me on to the machine (you know the important one that tells you if your heart is beating) and they must have done something else but I didn’t feel it, I said ‘am I meant to be dizzy’ someone said yes and that was it. I was out.

I woke up two and something hours later, had an oxygen mask put over me, saw what I think was my surgeon saying ‘it was benign’ was wheeled out, the other one by my side telling me it was all ok, taken back to my bed and my bag of pee hung back on its rack. Just like that.

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The admission

I wasn’t given any information about what I should take to the hospital with me, so having asked a random selection of people I was told cold drinks, snacks, toilet roll (really), PJ’s, wet wipes and anti bacterial hand stuff. The morning of my admission was the same day that the news broke of the Costa Allegra floating at sea and lots of people being needed to be brought to land in Seychelles – what fantastic timing. I was more obsessed by not being involved at work than I was about going to hospital. And then I got to the hospital and to the ward and there was someone through work I knew.Seychelles is not the place to have anything done if you don’t want anyone to know about it.

I waited around, they asked me some questions, yes I had brought two blood donors, yes I did know what I was in hospital for (what kind of question was that?!). They took some blood and then they showed me to my bed – in a four person room (I was disappointed not to get the two bed) – where the woman who had just vacated  it was sat waiting for her family . And I thought the NHS had problems with bed management.

It was mid afternoon and apparently nothing was going to happen until early evening, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I refused a visit from some friends as I felt plain stupid, it wasn’t like I was ill, they’d just be sat crowded round the bed and I’d be like the prisoner on death row about to have their last meal discussing how it might go down the next day. I read, eventually decided to get into my PJ’s after eating my dinner (fish and rice) and the other one came to keep me company. After he left, and I was handed two suppositories and a valium to help me sleep. I’m pleased to report I didn’t get the pills mixed up.

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The decision…

So where to have the op? the UK, the Seychelles, somewhere nearby like India or Mauritius.

Being a local member of staff at work, I don’t qualify for any medical insurance that covers UK designated staff and not being local I don’t qualify for free medical in Seychelles. Good job, the other one’s insurance covered me but not for treatment overseas unless there was a strong reason for it.  My operation was apparently fairly routine, so I was looking at Seychelles, unless anywhere did keyhole surgery which they didn’t seem to given the size.

UK – what a joke, the doctor I spoke to at my local surgery in London was more concerned with me disclosing my medical condition in case the plane had to divert, if I don’t know, maybe I exploded.I think maybe he’d had some recent experience – perhaps latent guilt, they’d asked on a plane if there was a doctor and he pretended he wasn’t one. Of my actual medical condition, his response can be summed up as ‘that’s quite big’. I also didn’t know how long would it take for a referral, to get a date for an op, and then there was the issue of where I’d stay and me in London, the other one in Seychelles. Definite no.

Mauritius – Apollo Bramwell, posh new hospital, contacts there, not too expensive, but with a 6 week recovery time I wasn’t too keen, as again the other one would be in Seychelles and well who was I kidding? I was going to have an operation, no matter how much you make it look like a hotel, it’s a hospital.

Seychelles –  After making extensive enquiries about my would be surgeon (google plus I asked a few people), him having listened to all my questions, him being able to give me a date for an operation in three weeks, I thought might as well slice me open in Seychelles, definitely more scenic.

 

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The prognosis…

maybe this big? A breadfruit native to Seychelles so quite apt..

I don’t have a problem with talking about medical things, I hadn’t really thought about it until faced with it, but then I’m not also going to wave a flag on Facebook or the like, divulging every last detail nor have people think its some trite appeal for sympathy. It really isn’t. Then again, researching on the internet to find so many women who’ve had the same thing, did make me wonder if we still don’t talk about ‘women’s things’ or maybe ‘men’s things’ even though we all have bodies and they’re all going to go wrong (and wither away- but sorry is that too blunt?!) at some point.

So my thing, after some to-ing and fro-ing was diagnosed as a cyst,a growing one and at time of removal 16cm. I was trying for the size of a football, which has been known, but apparently that risks a vertical incision down your torso and is much harder to heal, plus there was a risk it might be malignant. So I said okay take it out. It seemed sensible really.

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A fair exchange…

The idea is that if you’re having an operation at Victoria Hospital, they ask you if you can bring along 2 blood donors to give blood. This I think makes complete sense, it seems
a fair social exchange and way to help keep the blood bank levels up (see previous post). It appealed to me.  It doesn’t have to people of the same blood type – as panicked me as I had no idea what my blood type is nor how I’d bloody find people an exact match – but I was worrying a little too much, but that’s maybe because for the first time since having had my tonsils out when I was 8, I was going into hospital – in a strange country that doesn’t have a snappy brand ‘NHS’ that in the UK we all like to moan about but take far too much for granted.

I’ve already had the operation and back at home recovering – as regular readers will know I’m usually a bit late with posts and well I wasn’t going to jinx it by talking about it beforehand was I? So, the next few posts you’ll have to imagine in flashback mode…

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Blood donors in Seychelles

The other one – what a hero. He hates needles, and never have I seen him look so nervous as he did at Victoria Hospital waiting to give blood. Apparently, he looked that bad that the nurses very nearly didn’t let him do it at all. The guy’s been in Seychelles nearly three years and he’s as tanned as he’s ever going to get, which isn’t much, but he might as well have just emerged from the depths of the UK winter. Being a trooper, he gulped down his juice and disappeared into a room full of nurses – can’t think where he got his courage from…

Anyway, he did it and emerged some 15 minutes later having given half a litre, needle went in first time, the nurses chatted to him to distract him and afterwards he was seated in a room with a plate of digestives, juice and water.

They’re desperate for blood donors in Seychelles and if you live here and haven’t given any please do.The facilities are clean, they’re very efficient, blood is screened etc. There are some conditions that apply as we found out – my mate who’d had a baby couldn’t give and if you’ve been out of the country in the past few months, you may not be able to, but its worth checking. Call the hospital on 4388000 and ask for transfusions unit.

Now you might be wondering why I didn’t do it…

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