26. Shhhhh I’m busy doing Sunday

Sunday morning and Nick arrived on the ward at 7.45am armed with a flask of coffee with almond milk and a hot bacon butty wrapped in tinfoil – the coffee and butty were delicious.  Halfway through the breakfast of the Gods a new gang of doctors arrived to look at the bionic boob.  The main doctor introduced himself as a consultant  he was very tall, bearded, looked terribly young and had large tattoo on the inside of his arm visible from his scrubs. He was accompanied by a young woman doctor who looked far more serious and they had a good look at the breast.

I told them I taught Geography and was impressed by my new contours – they didn’t look particularly impressed that I was impressed.

They also looked at the drains – I thought they looked rather like Malbec and understood they needed to look more Pinot Grigio so sometime to go before they were coming out then.  They moved on and Nick and I retreated to the bathroom… this time he was armed with a hessian bag full of cleaning gear and gave the plastic bath a good scrub – it looked a lot cleaner and the plastic was a paler colour.  Today it was a bath followed hair wash… this evolution involved stepping out of the bath,  being dried and then kneeling over the bath holding onto the bionic boob so Nick could shampoo my hair with Hibiscrub and rinse with the hose.  Apparently most patients don’t wash for three days.

After the bath it was back to bed with another clean zip up front sports bra and button up front nightie (for easy access of wounds) and on/off snoozing until the afternoon.  My mum visited with a stack of magazines and my youngest son popped in before  returning home, having done a great job of keeping his dad company.

Visiting hours are 7.30am – 10pm.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing as Nick could do the breakfast run and a curse as some patients within the bay of patients had several noisy visitors until quite late.  Not least a young woman who was admitted onto the ward to await surgery, she had parents and several friends visit – mostly they were on their phones – quiet at least as not speaking to each other but engrossed on their phones, it made me think why had they bothered to visit.

There was a very curious incident…. one of the patients, who was at death’s door when a doctor or nurse walked by yet was fine the rest of the time – laughing and chatting, came over to the very unwell, elderly lady next to me and started to hoist her up the bed.  One of the nurses came over and asked her quietly and gently to stop and the patient had an extraordinary outburst “you are humiliating me in front of the other patients and visitors”.  No, the young nurse really wasn’t, the elderly lady was as frail as a flower and her skin looked paper thin.  The patient burst into tears and was wailing “I’m only trying to help her” – why not leave it to the professionals who are trained and know precisely what to do to help?  The follow up to this was interesting too.  The next morning the Sister on the ward met with the patient and they discussed the incident and the patient absolutely dammed the young nurse.  I wasn’t having this, so I met with the Sister too and told her the young nurse was very professional and the entire outburst was over the top.  Those curtains are not at all sound proof.

One final event before “lights out”… the Chuckle Brothers came on to the ward to change curtains.  To me, to you, to you, to me…. it was 10pm but I suppose they have to take the opportunity to work when they need to.   All I wanted was sleep.  I did sleep for a while but then I woke up to find a new nurse looking intently at one of the drains, the bottle had to be changed, still too Malbec and full -and it was all done with a minimum of fuss by the light of a phone.

Tip:  If I go into hospital ever again I will take ear phones – ones which make you look like a Cyberman (or woman) and an eye mask to block out all noise and light.  Take good books and try and block out some of the patients and their visitors – people watching has it’s place but not when you are tired. 



Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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