My life is beginning to resemble the film Groundhog Day.
A routine visit to have my wound checked on Monday at the Doctor's resulted in both the GP and the Nurse staring in some bemusement at The Wound, some prodding by them, screaming by me, punctuating by bouts of violent coughing from me and some very worried glances.
Basically, the initial surgery was insufficiently aggressive or radical enough to deal with the underlying problem, the wound had managed to close itself and the abscess had re-formed with a serious vengeance. I was re-admitted to hospital as an emergency on Tuesday morning, and within ten minutes of my arrival, had been whisked off for a chest X-ray, ECG, blood tests, and painful invasive examinations by the medical doctors and the surgical doctors. The outcome was that I needed more extensive surgery at the abscess site, but the concern was my chest. The doctor in A&E said my X-ray and exam were fine, but that did not explain why I was coughing as though it was going to be made illegal in the next ten minutes and was determined to cram in a whole lifetime's worth in those ten minutes........
The only place in the NHS hospital which had a bed for me was in the rather swish Private Clinic, so I was taken there by bed and ensconced in a nice private room and told in no uncertain terms I would be going back to the OR later that afternoon. The anaesthetist visited, did the usual history-taking and expressed concern about my cough, though he too listened to my chest and said that there was nothing audibly abnormal. He checked the X-ray and found "some areas of consolidation" - ie infection in my lungs and went to consult with his Boss. I was afraid about having another General Anaesthetic so soon after the last one if I had a chest infection as well, but agreed to discuss it with the Consultant in the Anaesethetic room before the operation.
I was able to walk slowly and rather breathlessly the very short distance to the OR and made comfortable. The Anaesthetic Consultant came to chat to me and said he was anxious about doing a spinal block because of the purulent abscess so close to the base of my spine, even though it was in theory still a safe procedure. He reassured me that they would monitor my breathing and lungs very carefully indeed, and give me IV antibiotics etc in the OR and that he really, really wanted me to have another GA, which seemed fair enough under the circumstances.
I held out my arm, and the drugs which he injected which he said would make me feel partly sleepy Didn't. I kept looking at the anaesthetic assistant with wide-open eyes as if to say "I'm here ! Still Wide awake!" whilst the anaesthetist made notes on the forms, and after about twenty seconds, I gave up, closed my eyes, prayed fervently for my loved ones and for myself, and settled to say the Jesus prayer. I said no more than five prayers before I woke up in pain in the recovery room, to hear the words "we've just given you some morphine and you will feel much better very soon!" I did feel better quickly, and after a brief nap, woke up properly pain-free.
I could tell from the size of the dressings that a lot more had been done this time, and also by the discomfort, which was a relief in a strange sort of way.
I had no cough at all. Not a smidgeon. I later found out that my breathing had indeed caused a smidge of concern and I had been given the promised IV antibiotics and also IV steroids. I got back to the ward, feeling exhausted, woozy and as if someone had replaced my brain with porridge, though being able to have a cup of tea was a huge comfort. Until, at least, my bladder went on strike and I was unable to pass urine at all. An ultrasound scan revealed 786ml of urine sitting stubbornly in my painful bladder, so I ended up with an in-dwelling catheter for the rest of the day and overnight .
Quantities of vile-tasting tablets followed, but sweetened by a lovely bowl of soup, some tuna sandwhiches and a bowl of jelly. By Wednesday morning, I was a happy camper, anxious to go home. The IV and catheter were removed, and I was sent home on two lots of antibiotic tablets and instructions to see the Practice Nurse each day to have the wound cleaned, packed and dressed.
The wound has up till now been cleana nd healing, but today's check (Monday 19th) showed the wound was infected, draining pus and the areas of pain have spread dramatically, so a swab has been taken to grow the bugs and I will need to go into see the Outpatients Surgical Clinic within the next few days , as soon as they can fit me in.
Like I said, this is like Groundhog Day....... and prayers would be much appreciated that all this settles down quickly without need for a further, third operation !