Friday, 15 July 2011

The Swallow & Home

I woke up again feeling surprisingly good considering what my body had been through.  It was a little difficult to roll over with the cannula and drip in my left hand and a drain protruding from about 10cm to the right of my belly button.  When moving around the hospital I was sporting a stylish blue bag which held the drain bag and most of the cord attached between it and me.  This went everywhere with me.  To the loo, up the hallways when I needed to stretch and "do a lap".  One of the nurses gave it to me early on because I kept throwing the clear bag and it's contents over my shoulder and she thought it might freak out the other patients!!  Fair call.
I asked the nurse what time my swallow x-ray was.  1pm.  Here was I hoping to be tucking into an apple juice by 10.  Bugger.  At about 10 I had two lovely visitors (who both spoilt me rotten, thanks again gals!) and just as we were getting into it, one of the orderly's came and gave me a 5 minute pick up warning.  Bugger that I had to end my chat with the girls, but it made apple juice that much closer!  
He wheeled me (I asked if I could walk, the answer "not a chance") down to x-ray in the dungeon of the hospital and into what I'm sure used to be the morgue.  It was so bloody cold I was glad I had my cardy on or I might have caught a sniffle!  The swallow x-ray involved standing between 2 giant x-ray plates and swallowing some barium (which looks like sherry but tastes like shit).  The radiographer takes multiple shots of the liquid going down into my stomach and then into my intestine, while making sure there are no leaks.  It was really cool to watch.  It happens much faster than I thought it did and swirls and dances around!
Dreaming of apple juice (it sounds pathetic, but after drinking water for more than 24 hours that tasted like metal, I was desperate) I asked "Is it ok? Are there any leaks? Is it ok?"  she told me she would have to go and get the guy in charge to have a look.  He came in and had a look and walked back out again.  Unable to control myself I pounced "Is it ok? Are there any leaks? Is it ok? Can you please tell me!" Apparently I was a bit loud and eager because he kind of jumped a bit and said that he was going to have a closer look and that they would let me know in the ward.  Great.  How long would that take.  After being wheeled back to the ward, I asked the nurse if she had heard anything.  She went to check and came back with APPLE JUICE!!!!!!!!!  That stuff is like liquid gold.  I was so elated.  Also because it meant that I could get the drip and cannula removed.  Hooray!

The next morning I had my bags packed and was ready to go home at 7:30am.  I text Ben and told him I was ready to go home now.  No reply.  Boo.  The surgeon, Dr R, came in at about 8:30 and gave me the once over and asked if I wanted to go home today.  I pointed to my packed bags.  He laughed.  He reminded me of what to do for the next few weeks and told me to make sure that I followed the dietitian's instructions to the letter.  Of course.  The drain was removed (ahhhh freedom from that uber stylish blue bag) and Ben turned up at 10:30 ("Oh I don't know where my phone is.  I haven't seen it since last night" typical!) and I went home.  There is honestly nothing in this world like your own shower, your own bed, your own couch and your own telly.  Heaven.

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