Around 7pm on Fri evening, a nurse came to tell me there was a bed for me on Toghill ward, the other Haematology ward (one floor down from where I was for the SCT). I packed up quickly and was pleased that they let the porter transport my bags and notes in the wheelchair while I walked alongside.
I know I go on about this, but it feels so important to me not to lose my independence, mobility and not to become institutionalised. I think it’s funny that in the rooms there are signs from the physiotherapists suggesting all sorts of exercises to keep you fit and ensure that you’re well enough to go home, but the moment you mention walking around the hospital, they freak out for fear of being sued if you fall over. It actually makes me quite angry… yet again the world of litigation gets in the way of humanity!
So, back in Haematology-land, I soon managed to get my cannula removed, as the nurses are all fully trained in using a Hickman line. I mean, if I have to go round with tubes hanging out of my chest, they may as well get used. Right? Not only fully trained in using Hickman lines, but also more human and intelligent than the inane robotic nurses on the other ward.
On Saturday, having had a full 24 hours at a normal temperature, I was impatient to see the Registrar to see if I could persuade her to let me go home that day. She came, we talked and she agreed, although she said it would be early evening as she wanted me to have two more doses of IV antibiotics, around midday and 6pm, after which I could leave.
Around 2pm, I spoke to the nurse and asked about the midday antibiotics, which had not appeared. She apologised that I hadn’t been told, but the doctor had changed the plan and now wanted to give me only one more dose, which she would come and administer shortly. Shortly ended up being around two hours later, but it did happen. And… they wanted to take my Hickman line out before I left. The nurse assured me the Registrar would be with me before 5pm as she would want to go home herself.
So at 5:50pm I thought it might be time to check what was happening… and was told she would be with me in a few minutes. Yeah, sure! Eventually, around 6:30, I had a lovely surprise… the Registrar was Kat! Kat was the SHO (Senior House Officer) in the Renal unit whom I met when I was in hospital in February, who held my hand when I had the first bone marrow biopsy, who at that time was applying for a residency in Haematology…
And now here she was and no one better could be removing the Hickman line. She explained everything before and as she did it, did it meticulously, gently, with great care and a touch of humour. Apart from the sting of the local anaesthetic, the whole process was remarkably painless. It took around 30 minutes, most of which was cutting the flesh away from the cuff of the tube, which is designed to let the flesh adhere to it to hold it in place. For the final bit I had to take a deep breath in, then blow it all out while Kat gave a quick tug to pull the tube out. I have to say it’s so good to be rid of those dangling tubes!
After 15 minutes of lying still to ensure any bleeding had stopped, I could go home. It was now 7:30, but anyway Hurray!