Today is Monday, 8 August 2011 and I arrived back home from hospital - for the second time this afternoon.
It has been a difficult time. I will eventually post what has happened in the last three weeks, in more detail. Briefly, what happened was that after the operation on 18 July, I did not recover well. I did return home on Friday, 22 July, but felt very weak and nauseous. From then on things, went downhill and I couldn't seem to put anything into my mouth at all, not food, not medication, not even my toothbrush, without vomiting.
Friends called my daughter, Libby, in England and she dropped her life and came, with her small son, to look after me on 25 July - thank goodness she did! I didn't improve and on Thursday, 28 July I called the doctor to visit me at home. My usual lovely GP was on holiday, but her replacement was just as good and she ordered blood tests to be taken on Monday, 1 August when my stitches were to be removed. The test were done and the results arrived the following morning. By then I knew there was a problem with my right leg - I clearly had phlebitis - an inflamed vein and a blood clot as I'd experienced a lot of pain overnight and my leg was red and hard. I called the GP again and she came out, took one look at me and called an ambulance for me to go back in to hospital. The blood tests had also shown a urine infection and other levels which weren't quite right.
I was devastated to be going back in and felt so ill and upset. I had ultrasound and Doppler tests on my leg, lung x-rays, a scan of my kidneys, various blood and urine tests and finally ended up back on the same ward as when I had my operation. I think I was probably very ill, and certainly I was very low and anxious. Would I ever go home again?
I received antibiotics, anti nausea drugs, painkillers and anti-coagulant injections, all except the last by a drip into my arm. I am never easy to insert a drip into, my veins are apparently fragile and fine. After a few days the drip ceased to work and I had to have a neck drip inserted which was a nightmare experience. However, this then worked better and I was finally getting all the medication I needed. The next thing was for me to have an endoscopy to check if my new tummy was still ok. To do this they give a relaxing drug, like Valium/Diazepam and I watched the nurse expel the air from the syringe and remember nothing until I came to being wheeled back to my room. Apparently - while I remember nothing - I refused the endoscopy and they were unable to perform it. However, it wasn't all bad news. The relaxing drug had the effect of stopping me vomiting and making me much less anxious. When I realised this I asked for a mild sedative and taking this stopped the anxiety, the vomiting, so that I was able to eat again and generally made me feel much better about everything.
The other medications had been working during this time and finally yesterday, I said that I felt well again and wanted to go home. They packed me off with enough medication to take out a village, and I'm now back home. On arrival I ate a slice of French bread spread with Boursin, a garlic and herb cheese. Later in the evening I the same meal as my family, including fresh runner beans from my garden and mashed potato - although obviously in very small portions and chewed until I couldn't chew any longer.
I feel so much better it's like a miracle. I think the reason for the nausea and vomiting was anxiety and not physical at all. Thank goodness I was sent for the endoscopy, even if I didn't end up having it!
The local nurse came in this evening to do my anti-coagulant injection and will be here each day for the next five days, so will keep an eye on me.
I was overwhelmed by the number of 'phone calls, emails, messages on forums and Facebook that I and my family have received. It has been a very difficult time and all the support and concern shown by friends has been