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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Things You Come Home With

   The first picture has to have some boat theme because of late this blog seems to have changed to a medical blog although, judging by communications from readers a lot of folk are interested in this side of our present life.

   This picture shows our current mooring--home for the last three and a half weeks. Canal and River Trust are fully aware of our situation and although we get logged on the system our overstay is acceptable. Obviously they can look at their sightings log and see our previous cruising has taken us all over the canal system, which recognizes us as genuine Continuous Cruisers.
   We have the one mooring space that lies between the edge of the winding (turning) hole and the bridge that spans the marina entrance. To the side of the boat we have a width of grass that enables Jaq to put up a washing line on favourable days, Monday was both sunny and breezy; Jaq caught up on the backlog of laundry caused by her travelling back and forth to the hospital.
   Just behind the camera is a lock, and a lane offering parking for visitors with access to the main road for Jaq to use a bus although mostly she has been given lifts by family and boaters on long term CaRT moorings opposite.
   Many thanks to the two Mikes (NB Albion Mills and NB Independence). Your help is much appreciated. Also to the lady who called across offering help to Jaq yesterday as  she set off to reverse back to our mooring spot from the water point. I soon realised why Jaq thanked her but declined help, as I stood inside the boat looking out--and watching in awe as Jaq took us to and from the water point.  Her words after were "oh I just had a good teacher." My answer is "no darling I am fortunate to have the best pupil in the world."
   In the last post I mentioned the boat resembling a small pharmacy and you can see what I mean in the picture below right, that shows just some of the items.
To re-cap: the original admission was for removal of  a cancerous tumour from the lower bowel and a temporary stoma (loop ileostomy) to allow the bowel to mend.
   I have a few pictures of my abdomen and the stoma but think some might prefer not to see them and others that do can have a Google. The stoma to me represents a new born baby that continually needs nappy changes and cleansing around what seems to be a never ending exit for waste products. Jaq calls it my "mini me" since it gurgles and chugs.
Complications set in during the surgery when they tried to fit a catheter into my urethra--it wouldn't go. The surgeon called in a Urologist (who just happened to be finishing up a surgery in the theatre next door) who inserted a subcubital catheter  directly into my bladder through the lower abdomen. I now have to return in the future for a small surgery to correct a narrowing and twist in the urethra.
   Meantime I now have two ways of emptying my bladder. Are you thinking if the natural way works why the catheter? When the Urologist came to see me I was having other problems and my attention was not 100%  so the answer was not absorbed into my brain. I think it was because the natural exit for the bladder might stop working. Anyway this is the reason for perhaps 70% of the goods pictured.
   The catheter has a tap and I`m told to use both systems when using the bathroom. Now this works fine and as you can imagine when in the future I am out and about a visit to the loo is easy enough.  A large supply of night bags are in the supplies but these are advised to be used at night in case the normal body alarm fails to wake me. The bag just connects to the tap and the bag hangs below the bed; in my case on the drawer front. There are some other things I won`t need and I have just handed them to the nurses that come daily to change my incision dressing so they can be used by others. The problem is everything is ordered at the hospital but my subsequent orders will be made by me and will be just for what  I need.
   These companies that  have their foot in the hospital door take over your supplies by collecting prescriptions. 75% of stoma nurses are sponsored and although general prescription charges are down stoma costs have rocketed. The complimentary gifts you choose with your order are costing the NHS a fortune. Things like individual wet wipes, disposal bags for stoma pouches, miniature water spray bottles, squares of lint for drying around stoma. Oh and a fancy bag to store everything with the promise of a travel wallet, to carry enough for a day or two away, to arrive with my next order. These so called complimentary gifts are just stuff you can get in the supermarket at a fraction of what the NHS is charged.
Some links Here and Here.
   I have had a needle phobia my entire life and have at times, had to have my arm held down when a needle comes near, in case I throw my arm away from the needle. Now during this two week stay in hospital I have had so many catheters put in and then moved, had daily blood taken from a new vein each time the fear has slightly worn off.
   Clexane  was prescribed for me daily as an anti blood clotting injection for about 28 days post op. Hearing that this will probably go on longer than the daily visits by community nurses changing the surgical wound dressing, I decided while in hospital to try and inject myself. My reasoning is to skip wasting the visiting nurses' time which might be used by someone more in need.
   Pinching a fold of skin between thumb and index finger, in the needle went and down came the plunger. I still don`t know how I do it but such was my fear that each time I take an invisible bow to a non existent audience. Just about 10 more to go.
   A lot of things came back with me to the boat but one thing that didn`t make it was Mr. C.  He quite literally got cut out of the coming home deal. I am still very weak but at least now  I can sleep for long periods at night and also doze in the chair during the day.

   Just a look back at a couple of memories to remind me  why I`m now fighting to get fit:
Moored in the heart of Lymm village on the Bridgewater canal.

The grounds of Dunham Massey hall just a short walk from the Bridgewater
 That`s it folks. I`m going to watch Man U on TV tonight. This view of the ground taken as we entered Manchester, again on the Bridgewater.


James and Debbie said...

I hated claxaine jabs after having a stroke a couple of years back. The needles were OK but the bruising was so unpredictable. At one point I had very little belly left to jab into that wasn't bruised, and believe me that made it one BIG bruise. Chin chin, all the best James & Deb

Carol said...

Sleep is a wonderful way to recuperate, fill your boots Les! You’re in good hands with your super competent boater, Jaq!! I have been to the places you have put on your blog, they are some of our favourites too (not sure about Man U though), we may even end up there when we are too old to jump on and off the boat. Take care you two. George

Anonymous said...

Life goes on and slowly with time the load of accessories and mementos of all you've been through will diminish. Rest rest rest. It took me a couple of months to begin to really recover from my ostomy and you've been through so much more and I'm sure the impact of the radiation has now caught up with you. Hug each other a lot.
Love from Pullman's Karen down in Death Valley.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs