I have always tried to be a strong person, through all the health issues and life changes….So when I had my dressing changed on Friday 16 February 2018, I felt a bit of discomfort.
As the days passed I was in agony but I just sucked it up n took the painkillers as advised but by Sunday I couldn’t take it!! My mood had dropped below zero, I didn’t want to talk to anyone n definitely didn’t want to see anyone BUT as the day went on I had a houseful n didn’t want to be rude….after all…. my granbabies (all 3), my great cousin had congregated for a play date!! I love seeing them all as well as their parents!!
So by the late afternoon when the painkillers had finally started to take the edge off I made it downstairs on me lil stairlift!! It surely lifted my spirits but the pain n discomfort would not get a life n leave me alone!! I was so overcome with the pain I phoned the District Nurses office forgetting they are not even open at the weekends!!
First thing Monday morning I called the District Nurses offices n explained how I was feeling but the only response I got was that my nurse is due tomorrow (Tuesday), I think it must have been admin not the actual nurses!! At no point did I get to speak with the nurse who was actually assigned to me which I totally understand as she must have been out in the community helping other patients (there are 2 nurses trained in VAC dressings in my area(1 is on holiday)). I was SO upset that I gave up….I had explained but given no promising solution until the next day….I couldn’t cope….by this time I was bawling from pain n also self pity as I felt useless especially as I had no one to help me at home.
When I had a gap in the ‘self-pity party’, I managed to message the Plastics Nurse, St Thomas’ to explain the challenges I was facing. The first chance she got, she called me n I explained once again, she told me to leave it with her as she, like me couldn’t understand why I was being treated like this!!
The District Nurses office called me many hours later by which point it was too late for them to send anyone out to me. By this point I was crying uncontrollably n felt like I was on the verge of loosing my mind….seriously!! I was advised to call an ambulance instead!!!! I was frown off point at this stage as my immediate thought was ‘they don’t send ambulances for women in the midst of labour so how they gon send one for me with my gaping sucking armpit’!!!! Which I also voiced to the nurse but she was adamant that she couldn’t knowingly leave me in such severe pain so I did it!!
I had a lil chat with myself about whether to call 111 or 999 as I haven’t grasped the concept of the difference. To me, 111 in for non-emergency n 999 is for life or death situations….although this was an emergency to me I wasn’t necessarily sure….so I dialled 111.
Again I explained but was asked why the nurses hadn’t called the ambulance then I was told ‘I’m sorry, I think you need to ring 999’….the tears started again….I dialled 999 only to be told ‘I’m sorry you are mistaken as that is NOT our protocol, if you had called 111 they would not have told you to call 999 they would have called the ambulance’….I was gobsmacked to say the least, I proper thought I had done lost my mind n this was not really n truly happening….so I just put down the phone….curled up on my bed n bawled.
For some reason I felt the need to put on a bra….unfortunately it was a wrong move as the underwire pierced the dressing meaning the suction from the VAC couldn’t work! I panicked n phoned 111 to ask whether it would have any adverse effect on the healing process to be without the VAC for 24 hours. By the time I spilled out all that had happened that day they proceeded to send an ambulance.
After the initial observations the lovely ambulance ladies transported me to Lewisham Hospital. It was a bit strange as no one wanted to touch it….on reflection I get it….as it’s a specialist procedure but the A&E Doctor called St Thomas’ for advice, I was given liquid morphine and the VAC n dressing was removed but the pain was unreal n I bawled like a baby!! The Doctor was absolutely lovely, gentle n understanding.
I got a Data Car home n it was like another nightmare!! Fantastic!!
By Thursday the Plastics Nurse n District Nurse came to my home to put the VAC back on (which I wanted as you heal quicker). There was a lot of friction n I didn’t understand why!! I get that my care has been a nightmare but I personally put it down to the people I communicated with on the phone NOT the actual nurses n a breakdown of communication. It seems that the District Nurse had been pulled up on what happened which I was very upset about as she was really nice n didn’t deserve it!!
Although the pain n discomfort is still apparent it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. I had a dressing change today which was very painful n I pray I don’t create a phobia against this as the other armpit is yet to follow….but I gotta get that ‘warrior strength’ back. I have my bad days, my weepy days n my weak days but I’m getting there….through it all I still feel blessed n I have to keep reminding myself of that ❤