82: Going home

There was no doubt I was on the mend and starting to come to terms with the new me – without the cannonball. It was Tuesday morning and the usual routine was established.  After the handover from the night shift to the day Nick arrived with smoked salmon, smashed avocado and bread to toast.  Above my bed there was a sign which said Fiona Osmaston – no caffeine, no dairy, no red meat, yet every time Nick went to the kitchen to ask them toast the seeded brown bread the staff asked if I was gluten free (I’m not!).  I’m only dairy and red meat free as I follow the Rainbow diet and try and reduce any form of estrogen.  Following breakfast it was back to the shower room.. we had this sussed and Nick was suitably kitted out in his grey crocs, white plastic pinny and laden with towels escorted me to the shower room. Ahh simple pleasures – being clean and in a clean hospital gown (done up  back to front to keep the gamgee in place and for easier holding of the remaining drain).

As we shuffled, well I shuffled, Nick walked holding the drain we passed the nurses station where we spotted Mr X who had returned to work that morning.  He was smiling and said I looked really well, which was hilarious as I was shuffling along in surgical stockings, stripy slippers, walking at an angle of 45 degrees with wet hair.. I may not be a supermodel but I’ve certainly looked better.

A short while later Mr X with his team, including the tall Indian locum came for a visit.  The discharge from the drain was checked, the tummy incision and new boob checked and it was decreed that the drain could come out and I could go home that day.  Mr X asked me how it had been and I explained that Lynher Ward would be getting a good review on Trip Adviser, which raised a laugh.  In all seriousness I did say how wonderful the nursing had been, especially from Sister D and how that without her I didn’t think I’d have got through the first few days and nights.  It had been a totally different experience.  The team moved on and a little while later Sister H popped in and told me that every few years nursing staff had to provide evidence that their work has made a real difference and would I be willing to write something for Sister D whose reaccreditation would be coming up in the near future.  I told her I’d be delighted and if she could provide me with some paper I’d set to it immediately.  So I did, with a great deal of pleasure.  I wrote a page of A4 describing in detail the care I’d had, the attention to detail, the confidence I’d felt particularly as everything was explained to me as it was being done.  I wrote that Sister D was the ultimate professional and that that as a clinical educator she was a great asset to the nursing profession.  I passed the essay to Sister H and said I’d be happy to write another one for the ward if I could have another piece of paper.   Sister H passed the essay to Sister D and later popped in to see me to say that the essay had made D cry.  That hadn’t been my intention – but she wasn’t upset just touched.  Sister D came to see me later in the day and told me about how she’d got into nursing – as a youngster she’d been admitted to hospital and stayed for several weeks, when she returned home she told her mum that she wanted to be a nurse when she finished school.

I wrote another essay to say how well treated I’d been on the ward and suggested they send it to the CEO of the hospital.  The tall Indian Locum consultant then popped in and asked me to fill in a form for him for the GMC – it seems Doctors also need feedback from happy patients.  I was more than happy to fill in the form which was mainly tick boxes and left it with the nursers station.  Next job to get rid of the drain and cannula before putting on my own clothes.  The drain was removed by one of the staff nurses.  This was the the most painful drain as I suspect it was the deepest and longest.  A deep breath in and a long pilates breath out and the drain was swiftly removed.  The cannula was dead easy and a quick exit. Two dressings applied and it was into my own clothes.  One of the junior doctors came along and discussed me the discharge and fit notes which outlined how many weeks recovery in the first instance and the fact that I was not to travel for 6 weeks. I was to see Sister S, the BCN in a week or so and Mr X in three months.  That was it! Nick brought a card and a big bag of fruit for the team and then it was the long walk to the main exit. This was the furthest I’d walked in a week.  The walk from the ward to the lift only required one rest, once up the floor 6, the walk to the front door looked about a mile long. This walk did require a rest – at the wheelchair stand in the main concourse.

The gamgee proved very useful in the car as a layer of padding for the seatbelt.  A short drive and we were home.  We sat in the garden, in the summer sunshine and had a cup of tea and I felt overwhelmed with weariness, I decided to head up to bed for a snooze and then I got all teary.. I think all that pent up emotion, the enormity of the surgery and the relief to be home.  I slept for a good couple of hours.


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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