About Me

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I'm Carole, living in London, happily married and mum to two amazing boys.I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer in April 2010. Surgery took place in November 2010 and I now have a permanent colostomy...Spinal mets were then diagnosed in October 2011...In January 2012 I was told of further spread to the hip area (multiple lesions)..My life expectancy is now 6-9 months. Walk alongside me on the last part of my experience with this..

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

What happened next then....?

Okay, as you all now know, after successfully mentally getting myself into the 'right' place (at last) they then contacted me early Sunday afternoon and said 'Sorry, no bed so your op cannot take place this week'.

I also discussed the fact that I still had a cold with Sister J who telephoned and she said if I'd arrived there with a cold they would have sent me home without any hesitation for two reasons - my own safety during major surgery and afterwards (risk of chest infection/pneumonia) - also the safety of other patients on the ward who have seriously reduced immune function following their own surgery.

Monday morning Rab and I go off to do some things and we are out of the house from about 10am until approximately 2.30pm. By the time we get home there are 3 missed messages on the landline and a further 3 on my mobile (which I'd left at home on charge)
1st message - Hi Carole, could you give admissions a ring please. Many thanks'
2nd message - Carole, can you contact me about your admission please, this is quite urgent
3rd message - I need to speak to you now about your admission. You must now contact me immediately'
Similar messages left on the mobile....

So at 3pm I rang and said 'What's the problem and the urgency?'....
Answer 'Hello Carole, the surgeon wants you to come in now, as in, right now'....

I said that wasn't even a possibility as:
  • they had cancelled the previous day,
  • therefore my fortisip drinks (that were the previous week apparently so essential) to aid my recovery had not been taken,
  • the pre-op drinks had also not been started (again 'essential to aid recovery'),
  • the bowel prep should have been started by breakfast time and it was now late afternoon,
  • my son had been informed the operation was not taking place now this week,
  • and I have a lingering cold, blocked sinus' and headache and Sister had said I would be refused admission

Her answer?
'Well, Mr S wants you to come in right now for your operation tomorrow morning, he's not at all happy that we cancelled your bed and he wants you here. He will over-rule the Sister if necessary'...
(hmmm, not happy about that considering that Sister J was considering my safety and that of others - this now feels like a 'convenience exercise' e.g: you need to be here because his time is booked and your safety comes second to that)

My answer 'That's a shame, someone should have ensured that my bed wasn't cancelled then as right now I've moved into 'next time' mode and like I said I have a cold and nothing has been done that needed to have been done to ensure my welfare'

I felt so bloody stressed because firstly I'd got myself prepared then was told not possible this week and now being told 'back on again' as though it was for a minor op involving a 'local' not major 8 hr surgery involving a 'general'

They had me there at the hospital for my pre-op assessment two weeks before and as you know, it took from 10am to 3pm and left me completely overwhelmed with reading information and health information that was to be adhered to, so that my recovery could be as smooth and easy as was possible.
During this it was stressed to me over and over again that all the pre-op stuff was absolutely so essential to ensure complete recovery as quickly as possible - now suddenly it's all changed to 'None of that matters, just get yourself in here now' ....
Hell 'NO!'.....

So, I'm still here at home, and I'm now waiting for a new surgery date after I've shifted my cold and been given enough time to do the essential pre-op preparations.

The lady in admissions wasn't 'able' to give me a new date apparently - so I said 'That's fine, ring me when you sort it all out then'...

Trying to stay calm and in control of things only works when everyone works WITH you to ensure that happens.


  1. Tony and Loretta x5 October 2010 at 22:57

    I see you *couldn't* wait till tomorrow to tell everyone :)

    You know me Little Miss Impatient x

    Thought youd add aboout the gas leak too (or is that tomorrows post lol)

  2. You have got to be kidding me! Oh Carole, I can feel a law suit coming on for stress!

    Unbelievable, stunned!

    The incompetence of a process that is there to safeguard you is incredible and they wonder why we are so bloody nervous about going into hospital.

    Much Love and calmness comeing your way!

    T xx

  3. and another thing....

    I have seen the damage strep throat germs does to a leg wound so don't go near that hospital until you are fit and well!

  4. If this was a joking matter I would say that the surgeon was fitting you in to acommodate his golf schedule and he had just had a round cancelled. But as it certainly isn't in the slightest bit funny for you Carole I'll just say that like the rest of the country it seems your hospital is run by a bunch of....... MERCHANT BANKERS!

    Sock it to 'em kiddo

    David [X]

  5. Oh bless you....this is what I mean about hospital departments. They need to start taking someones feels into account before they start messing about with dates and beds etc.

    Keep yourself calm and you will be ready for ever they say is to happen next.

    Much love.
    Paula xx

  6. Carole, I am so pleased you were able to speak up for yourself. Such a pity your doctor was unable to communicate with you on a level that showed his first concern was for your wellbeing. So proud of you!
    Get well quickly.

  7. The pre-op drinks are not essential, they are all part of the enhanced recovery mumbo jumbo that the major hospitals are all following slavishly - all designed to get you out as quick as humanly possible. Bowel prep isn't used that much anymore as it just causes extra stress on the patient, simple fasting is enough.

    I had my colon removed without any bowel prep, and without any of the pre op drinks and all was marvellous.

    If you still have signs of a cold you could take some antihistamines and that'll hide it - that's what I did. Didn't really matter as one of the surgical team was full of the cold anyway!

  8. Unbelievable. Mr S must be absolutely convinced that you're going to do a runner!
    Glad you didn't drop everything and go. I bet loads of other people would have done. Well done for standing your ground - quite right.
    Hope your cold has bogged off now.
    love Shents xxx

  9. Hi to Anonymous,
    I have to pass comment as I'm in complete disagreement with you with regard to the bowel prep.
    It *IS* still used, so I'm not sure how you got away with simple fasting, unless you are maybe elsewhere in the world where things are done differently?

    Anyway, as gross as bowel prep is, it empties out the bowel properly therefore reducing the chances of picking up a bug in the wound area. I'd personally rather not be surrounded by tons of crap during the removal of my bum!

    As for taking antihistamines and hiding a cold, there is no way I'd want to be responsible for someone else suffering complications with their own recovery due to me hiding my symptoms from my medical team.

    My feelings regarding Enhanced Recovery is 'bring it on' and if I *need* to take supplement drinks and pre-op stuff to help that, then give me plenty of them as I'm all *for* Enhanced Recovery....but make your minds up, because it's *either* immensely important or it isn't that important.
    It can't just all change on the day.

  10. Oh joy,
    We should learn not to plan too well,things just dont happen as they should.Stay calm,have another brandy and enjoy the lovely (?)weather.I am off to Stratford on Avon for a few days so will catch up Sunday.
    Take care sweetheart,
    Rose xxx

  11. Rose, have a brilliant time in Stratford upon Avon...hope the sun comes out for you.

    Thanks Shents & Chez for letting me know you think I did the right thing. It IS hard to stand your ground against them at times, but I'm fast discovering that practice makes perfect - LOL

    Paula, you've also had your fill lately of hospitals doing things BEFORE they think, then discovering they've caused you immense stress afterwards.
    I'll be prepared for next time but I'm just not going to be treated as a 'rush job'

    David; 'Merchant Bankers' sounds about right at the moment :-)

  12. Tony,

    Re: nervous about going in....it's so true.

    Remember that I've already got all these concerns around infection (this is the hospital that according to it's OWN website info has only been free from MRSA for ONE week in the last year)..now I've got concerns around rush jobs and convenience.

    Anyway, I'm cool - I'm at home and I'm sorting out my cold.
    Sod everything else for now :-)

  13. Loretta,

    The gas leak....BIG sigh....that story went from worse to worse
    But the good news is, no long lasting harm done.

  14. Blimey, they really are messing you around aren't they :-(

    They seem so disconnected with the build up and emotional stress that this sort of thing causes.....how can that be good for recovery rates?



  15. Hellooooo Spidey **hugs** :-)

    Apparently I'm getting off lightly..I'm hearing about people waiting for open heart surgery who are getting cancelled just hours before surgery. These people have heart problems and they're being sent home after getting themselves mentally and sometimes physically ready :-(

    At least these postponements won't give ME a heart attack, unlike someone with a heart problem!

    Mum was telling me earlier about her friend who was admitted twice, prepared for surgery (pancreatic cancer surgery) then sent home after being told the bed was needed.

    We have a health service, we ARE lucky compared to some places but we still have 'issues' here.

    I'm so pleased to see you btw xxx

  16. Its no wonder you got stressed with anger! The admissions team messed up so let them lay in their own bed!! In the meantime you enjoy your own, get well soon sis xxx