Had my prostatectomy on 19th Dec. The previous date was cancelled because the theater heating had failed and other ancillary staff were not keen on doing me No.2 on the list - this time there was no escape - I was No.1 on the list.
Surgeon and Anesthetist both explained all the dreaded things that could go drunk eerr wrong - including that this is not a guaranteed cure. (Every day was is a bonus - Xander). I knew all that and signed the consent forms without hesitation.
Surgeon informed me that it had went "smoothly". I told him previously he was the expert and that he knew what to do. In the end he was going to do what he thinks is necessary - I had also told him previously that the "cancer was the enemy" - meaning any nerve sparing would be a bonus.
I was not initially in pain after my op but I took very long in recovery because of spinal epidural and the anesthesia. Post-op my blood pressure fell to 90/45 so I had an IV saline, also had some special IV fluid and was given IV paracetamol.
No unbearable pain but when I ended up in the ward I burped alot (it was nice and a relief) and then vomited all the water I had drunk after recovery as an after effect from the anesthesia. And, it actually felt nice. Nausea is one of the after-effects but it was not too bad at all.
Trouble only started when I realised the bed was sinking right down the middle and my back was on fire. The night attendant was obstructive and downright should not be working in that place - she refused to help because I wanted to stand up just to relieve my back - she hid behind health and safety and that she is not supposed to touch me - another attendant previously did not have any such qualms.
I knew the night staff would not turn the mattress which was all that was needed - basically I was spoiling their easy night stint. Anyway I just gave in had more pain killers because it was already 4:00 am. This was the worst experience I faced in hosp. - otherwise every body was professional, helpful gave tonnes of advice and really accommodating.
In the morning I visited another PCa sufferer who underwent the op but who was much more strongly built than me and we exchanged notes he mentioned a Jamaican RiceBitter and another fruit that looks like a custard apple which are good for cancer. I told him about Pomi-T. This guy was hardly out of recovery but he was raring to go home.
Of course we discussed how we should fight for "Our NHS - it's not free we have paid thru our NI contributions but it is the greatest gift any country could give to their citizens". And, all us patients in that ward agreed. Nurses need to be better trained and paid more. Some nurses are burdened with so many admin duties that some have not even taken blood for testing for over 4 years - that is not on - they are getting de-skilled.
Also noticed that after-care is rushed and rather disjointed - Prostatectomies are numerous now - about 2 to 3 day and the after-care is very imp. and an extra day in hospital would benefit us for learning the following
(1) the right way of taking an heparin injection without it being sprayed back at you
(2) information about taking a your first poo with your catheter in <== that was exhausting and really really difficult - in the end I just went in with my finger after wrapping tonnes of paper around my cathether because I was so frightened of catching any fecal matter on it. I removed the hard plug of cack that stuck and phew! it was such relief. This was the biggest challenge I faced @ home besides trying to get fruitful sleep
(3) The plumbing of the overnight catheter bags was a problem the first night and my wife (bless her - realized how much she loved me - really regret all the nasty things I had said about her in the past - they were unwarranted - her bark is always worst than her bite) accidentally left the tap open and it leaked to the carpet but luckily we had put it in a plastic bag - so the bag is okay.
(4) You cant do this after-care on your own - you will need your family to show you some love - we learnt who are real friends are - because they cooked food for us - came over - make sure you dont kiss and wish any of them because you could catch a cold. And catching a nasty cough could put severe stress on your stapled wounds - in the first few days they need to close properly and heal otherwise you could end up being re-hospitalized or with a hernia at those sites.
The main reason beds are so much in demand is what I could see was that so many old folk who are ready to be discharged cannot go home because their kids and so called loved ones seem reluctant to look after them at home.
Luckily, Indian culture is still rooted in proper family values. In fact in India, a single family member is available to sit thru the night or the day to give the patient comfort - the NHS should look into this closely - if the relative is healthy - screened for infections - simple things like turning an older patient so that they are more comfortable in bed would be boon to the NHS
It would make us a more loving, friendlier and family oriented nation.
Sneezing with the staples in is very painful - use a cushion.
My surgical dressings did become bloody the cut on the navel esp. so on calling our beautiful NHS nurses - she told me no problems take it off let them air, dab them down with salty water - we were given a sterile liquid and sterile swabs, but plain salty water and clean paper kitchen towels should be fine. Thank You NHS nurses. It is imp. they do not continue to ooze and that they dry properly.
Take photos of your stapled wounds and send them to your friends - tell them for a prostatectomy you need to fix yourself like Arnie in Terminator. A Prostatecomy can make a Man out of you. You will become more grateful of the tiny mercies you never saw before and whenver you face a social, emotional & medical challenge you can look back on these days and say - ok - I survived this - I am sure I will continue to find a way to surmount this - there is always a solution.
An extra night to come to grips with all of these things would be beneficial for prostectomy patients - in terms of after-care which is crucial for prostatectomy ops.
Again I would like to stress - on ringing the ward - we got EXCELLENT ADVICE from the specialist nurses, and the ward nurses. The internet helped for the heparin injection and my third injection I gave it correctly. 45 degree angle. Pinched thigh skin. Push the needle thru - DO NOT Plunge the heparin yet - once in release the pinched skin NOW push the plunger right down - a nice plateau appears - eerrr - it hurts a bit.
All in all - so far so good - coping.
Every New Day is a Bonus.
We must fight to keep are NHS free and for all - it's the greatest gift any country can give to their citizens. The Gift of Life and from that follows the Gift Happiness.