Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Wild Ride - Part 2

'Now then, Mr Cropton, you'll be feeling a little sore down below. We've popped a catheter in so try not to make any sudden movements. Right let's take you up to the ward.' I'm dimly aware of the guy on the other side of the ward from me, is asleep, with his lower left leg in a plaster cast. There are 2 other bays, one containing an empty space, and the other bed soon to be vacated.Consciousness drifts in and out.

The next to arrive was Jim, who I seem to recall as being both loud and lucid from the moment he came into the ward. He seemed a bit of a grumpy old sod and didnt seem to be talking very nicely to his wife.

Finally the ward is completed with the addition of Bill, who took quite some to recover from his op.

The surgeon and his students make an appearance at some point. 'Ah yes, Mr Cropton, when we got you down to theatre we found you had very smelly urine, and so we've done what we could to clean out your bladder. We didnt want to risk transferring any possible infection further up the urinary tract, so we've postponed the Endoscopy until we've got the bladder infection under control. You've been fitted with a catheter which drains into a bag to your right, on the side of the bed. The nurses will empty your bag as and when needed. You may feel the urge to pee. Try to relax, the catheter works by gravity and your urine will drain into the bag quite naturally. Assuming your urine levels look normal tomorrow you should be free to go home. Do you have any questions?'

I make some smart-aleck remark about telling them my urine had smelt awful for months, but have the presence of mind to thank him and the team for doing what they could for me.

Catheterisation had been discussed as a likely part of the post-op treatment, so it wasnt too disconcerting to wake up and find the deed done. But it still felt very very strange, not that its something you can prepare for, I suppose. Suffice to say, they take a bit of getting used to.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Wild Ride - part 1

Those those know me may be aware that over the last few years my waterworks have been giving me problems. I've had Benign Prostastic Hypoplasia - non-cancerous swelling of the prostate gland for about 5 years now which has been managed reasonably effectively with prescription drugs. BHP causes all kinds of strange perceptions leading to dribbling, pain before, during and after passing urine, wanting to go (desperately) and not being able, and a frequent need to urinate. This in turn leads to sleepnessness and general fatigue. I imagine it might also lead to quite a lot of depression, but as a PTSD survivor I'm kinda used to living with depression fairly constantly.

Then, some while ago, I noticed that my urine constantly smelt awful, and it stung like buggery quite often. This did not get successfully treated for some time as my GP assumed it was another BPH symptom. Urine tests showed that I was passing white blood cells but the infection was not bacterial, and so antibiotics did nothing for it.

On Christmas Eve, 2012 I was horrified to see what looked like globs of red blood in my urine. Over the next couple of days the discharge of darker coloured material rapidly diminished, but needless to say I got an emergency appointment with my doctor's surgery as soon as they reopened after the Christmas break, which finally led to me being referred to our local hospital for further tests.

A CT scan had identified anomolies on my right kidney and ureter. The attempt to investigate these via flexible cystoscopy was apparently hampered due to the amount of debris in the urine; and so on Thurs 11 July I was due back into Lister Hospital to undergo a Rigid Endoscopy under general anaesthetic.

I had been experiencing severe discomfort and constant backache just prior to going in, and my urine test on the day identified a bacterial infection. The original plan was to try to image the anomoly in the ureter, possibly working through the suspected blockage and on into the kidney itself. There was also talk of installing a stent to bypass the ureter if the blockage could not be cleared.

On the day, I arrived at the Lister at 7am, and was taken down to theatre around 8.15. A cheery anaesthetist talked me through the process, then gave me a first injection. 'You probably won't feel much from this one' he said. And I didn't. 'This next one, you may start to feel a warmth spreading up your arm' - and in went the second shot.

I heard a disembodied voice say 'Hello Mr. Cropton, you're in Lister Hospital, your operation went smoothly. We'll take you up to a ward shortly. Would you like a drink of water?'. I swear I have no recollection of anything that happened within about 30 seconds of the 2nd injection going in. Apparently, a couple of hours had passed. I became conscious fairly quickly, and was soon wheeled up to the ward.

I distinctly remember thinking, wow that wasnt so bad............