Posts tagged 'haemorrhoidectomy'

Fannying around

Posted by on November 21st 2013 in Illness and injury

True to form, the Booking Centre staff managed to intentionally fcuk-up yet again...

By the time we'd left the house this morning, the thrice-promised letter of appointment hadn't been delivered. Undeterred, we turned up at Leicester Royal Infirmary well before the time arranged during the phone call with "Christine" c/o the Booking Centre and, as expected, I wasn't on the paper version of the clinic's patient list and my appointment wasn't "live" on the computer. What was on the computer was a marker saying that I'd cancelled the appointment. Hence no letter - in all probability it never existed, it was clear that the Booking Office never had any intent to honour the arrangement.

I tell you, I don't know how I managed to hold on to any semblance of fair speech. It was yet another example of totally bureaucratic bullshit that is spouted regularly by some of the lying feckers in the booking Centre, in particular the notorious "Christine", who no doubt attended the same School of Incompetence as Mr. Andrew Miller, the consultant who did my op and who, after I'd been admitted to the Emergency Ward a few days afterwards, misdiagnosed my condition as constipation and discharged me without treatment, saying that I should go home and eat prunes!

Of course, today's fiasco wasn't the fault of the clinic's desk-staff, so I couldn't let rip at her. She looked at the raft of bumped/cancelled appointment letters that I'd taken along "just in case", understood my angst, got on the blower, and somehow managed to "slot me in". She was a true professional - calm, caring, apologetic and pro-active - and I thanked her accordingly.

She told me that this meddling with the appointment system "happens a lot", that she took a lot of flak for it, and that she thought it wasn't a good way to treat people.

Hell, you don't say!

I won't bore you with the fine details of the consultation, suffice to say that the consultant seems to think that the treatment for skin-tags isn't surgery, it's Imodium. Further to that, I'm now awaiting the results of a blood-test for, of all things, Coeliac Disease. It all sounds far-fetched to me, I believe that they're clutching at straws and that they're trying anything to avoid having to actually fix their mistakes.

And just to add insult to injury, I've been told that my anus looks like a vagina! Now that I CAN believe, and I suppose it could explain why the NHS finds it so easy to shaft me time and time again.

It's a good job I've still got my sense of humour, eh?

Bumps

Well, it's been a while. There's not been much to blog about - no epic days on the hill, no gear-testing, no firm plans for much in the way of outdoorsy-stuff.

Our bonfire party went well on Saturday. I would have taken pics but due to the lower-than-usual turnout of responsible adults I was stuck on firework-ignition and bonfire-stoking all night so the camera stayed unused. Our over-the-road neighbours donated a huge pile of privet from their garden-clearance, it lasted a good five hours and the fire-pit is still aglow two days later.

The cardiac rehab folk at Glenfield Hospital are on the ball - we've already been to an introductory lecture about CHD and I have a couple of appointments coming up: one to arrange a suitable physio regime (although they seem to think that my current levels of exercise and exertion are above and beyond what their usual patients are expected to achieve) and there's a follow-up with the cardiac consultant booked for the start of 2014. Indeed, they've been chasing me on the phone to make sure that I'm going to attend. It's a slick system, they're real pros and they treat me as a human being.

Sadly, the same can't be said of the staff of the Booking Centre staff Leicester Royal Infirmary where they're desperately avoiding having to fix my arse after they wrecked it back in January 2012, and where I'm just a number to be juggled to make their stats look acceptable, not a person who they've made virtually unfit for employment.

I saw a brilliant Functional Bowel Service Specialist Practitioner (SP) back on 20th June, she taught me how to exercise specific muscles and insisted on a follow-up appointment no more than two weeks later because if I wasn't doing the exercises correctly I'd be doing more harm than good. Before I left the consultation we'd arranged for the follow-up to be on the 4th of July, and she'd made the appropriate entry in her diary.

Just two days before I was due to go in, the Booking Centre staff phoned me to bump my appointment to 5th August, and lied to me about the reason why. My protestations and explanations of the medical need went unheeded, and when I explained the situation to the SP in August she was livid when she found that I'd been told that she'd not be on site on 4th July - she showed me her diary which clearly indicated that she'd been on duty on 4th July and that some lying sod at the Booking Centre had told her that I'd rearranged my appointment!

I left that consultation with the promise of an appointment with a colorectal consultant within the next month, and true to her word the SP managed to get me booked in - I received a letter, dated 15th August, detailing an appointment on 25th September...

but on 19th August the Booking Centre bumped that to 30th October...

and then on 15th October they bumped it again, to 26th November...

and today I received a letter, dated 7th November, telling me that they had cancelled that. Not bumped, cancelled. There was no explanation other than "due to unforseen [sic] circumstances..."

And they wonder why my blood-pressure is so high!

They can expect me to be in touch soon, and they'd better have a damned good explanation of what's going on. One more bump or fcuk-up and I'll be naming-and-shaming, first in front of the Trustees, and second, if necessary, here on my lowly blog. Oh, and probably on a few choice online forums too.

I tell you; come the revolution, the liars among the Booking Centre staff will be first against the wall.

Second against the wall will be the Macmillan Nurse who, despite having numerous options for sensible parking, insists on obstructing my driveway whenever she visits our neighbour:

 

Consequences

Posted by on September 12th 2013 in Illness and injury

Yup, I'm back on topic...

That piles op back in Jan 2012 - remember that, and the aftermath of it? Well, it's still giving me hassle. I've not been able to exercise properly since the op because it makes the rear-end swollen and dysfunctional. Yes, I've had the odd good day in the hills but I've always paid for it during the following week.

Eventually they sent me to a bum-physio who taught me how to retrain the damaged/wasted muscles down there. They needed to be sorted before the NHS would even consider any further corrective surgery. I won't list the number of times my appointments were bumped, suffice to say that I ain't happy about it and that my next consultation (to arrange the removal of the large skin-tags and the repair of the muscle-damage, both of which resulted from the original op) was to be on September 25th but they've already bumped that to October 30th.

So... consequences...

My inability to maintain a proper exercise regime for well over a year has left me seriously unfit. I didn't read much into the aching torso thing when I went up Moel Siabod in July, I thought I was just lacking in the oomph department, and an occasional minute or two of rest combined with a slackening of the pack-straps allowed me to keep going.

Fast(?)-forward to three weeks ago and I was struggling on the flat. We were at a wood-craft fair, it was a very hot day and again I didn't pay much attention to myself. After a beer and a sit down in the shade I felt better, I put the whole affair down to the unseasonal hot weather, my unfitness and the need for the hydrating effects of real ale.

A week later and it was clear that something was wrong. Cutting the hedges became a task punctuated by rests and cups of tea. I thought that the aching in the arms and chest was due to the efforts of wielding the not-so-lightweight electric trimmers, but I followed the advice of all and sundry and took it easy for a few days.

Aldi had some Blood Pressure Monitors on sale so we bought one, just so that I could keep an eye on how my ticker was coping. The first few days of readings were fine (112/65, 80bpm for example) but a few days later I took a reading after tightening-up while doing a bit of leisurely gardening and the pressure result was a bit of a shocker - 212/125!

I went to see my doctor ASAP. The prognosis wasn't good. The doc put me on aspirin and nitroglycerine spray, and put me down for treadmill and ECG tests at the local specialist cardiac unit.

And that's where I was yesterday. They didn't need to do the treadmill test, the effect of the walk from the car to the reception was enough to make the static ECG results conclusive: Stable Angina. Against all expectations the tests indicated that apart from the effects of Angina I'm in really good nick for a 51-year-old smoker, with no respiratory or weight/fat problems at all. After a chest X-ray and blood-tests I was sent home with a big bag full of meds and the promise of a coronary angioplasty with stent implantation(s) within a month.

Of course, cardiac problems always trump colorectal problems, so I doubt that my bum-doctor will do anything more until the ticker's sorted, which puts me in a Catch-22 situation where exertion is good for one end but not the other.

Of course, this might all have been avoided if they'd properly managed my recovery from the piles op nearly two years ago. I'd have been back in the hills keeping in shape instead of getting progressively unfit to the point where I've started to fall apart.

I tell you, getting up those last five Wainwrights is proving to be more of a challenge than the previous 209 ever were 😥

Are you s#itting comfortably?

Posted by on November 23rd 2012 in Illness and injury

Good.

It's time for another butt update.

I should have seen my NHS consultant in July but, due to NHS cutbacks and issues with funding it turned out to be in October. Obviously there was no point in discussing the results of the Mebeverine trial, as I'd finished taking that stuff several months before. The long and the short of it was that my consultant had done all he could for me, and I was being referred to a different specialist, and I was given a choice of two - either the consultant who actually butchered my arse (and, the weekend after, discharged me from an emergency ward without examining me) way back in January, or a consultant that I'd not met before. I chose the latter.

While in that hospital yesterday getting my Dad repaired I took the opportunity to chase an appointment with that new consultant. I came home armed with his name and number, and today I was on the phone to his secretary trying to get something sorted out.

She confirmed that although no appointment had been made, the new consultant had agreed to take on my case and "a letter had been registered". In other words, he's sent a letter to his appointments manager asking her to arrange an appointment for me. That's as far as it went. I explained that my condition was getting worse rather than better, and I was passed over to said appointments manager.

That turned out to be an interesting conversation. Apparently they need to see me in the Functional Bowel Clinic. I can't have an appointment until the clinic managers find time to fit me in, and they can't fit me in because they have a...

wait for it...

are you ready?

A...

I must admit, that did make me chuckle. It was a great choice of terminology.

And then the chuckling stopped. It's no minor backlog. They're still making appointments for folk that should have been seen in APRIL!

Which, of course, means that I have at least eight more months to wait until it's my turn.

Eight more months of unpredictable sessions of thrush, pain and/or bleeding, eight more months of alternating between incontinence and constipation, eight more months of unnecessary hassle.

Fellwalking and so on will have to be risked rather than enjoyed. Wildcamping is a no-no.

Whoopie-fecking-doo.

Let me be the first to wish you all a Happy New Year.

My legs are grey, my ears are gnarled, my eyes are old and bent.

Apologies for the lack of regular posts. I fear that I'm becoming a virtual hiker...

 

Outdoorsy stuff

For me it's all on hold after the latest consultation. The expert reckons that I might have to wait another six months for my insides to heal fully, only then will they consider a further procedure to remove the tags and piles that were caused by the original op. Any exertion aggravates said tags, leading to inflammation, infection and blockage, this means that I only get limited exercise which in turn has led to significant muscle-loss and a reduction of core body strength. I'm now so unfit that wielding the vacuum-cleaner for only 10 minutes on Wednesday resulted in me straining my back and now I'm confined to quarters and popping the Ibuprofens. Looks like our week in Skye later this month will be a sightseeing tour rather than an opportunity to assault some classic ridges and peaks.

 

Olympics

Well, I have plenty of time to watch the events on the box as I'm pretty much a captive audience. Anna's down The Smoke right now on a school-trip, she was in the basketball arena this evening watching Team GB v France and Team USA v The Czech Republic, where the Beeb's camera caught her and her friends doing their bit of a magnificent Mexican Wave. After overnighting at Eton College she'll be spending the morning in Greenwich Park watching the equestrian events.

 

Astronomy

I have plenty of time for this too, but the weather's been naff at night. On the odd occasions when it's been cloudless the jetstream has been playing havoc with the seeing - the last time I imaged the Moon it looked like someone was pouring water over it:

 

 

 

Hailstorm damage

The Loss Adjuster's been around and we have agreed terms. We've already been paid out for damage to the outbuildings, primarily because I'd done the pricing-up myself, but we're still waiting for builders to provide quotes for the repairs to the house roof and the windows. There's so much property damage around here that we're on a long waiting-list for repair-work, we're looking at mid- to late-September at the earliest.

 

Ah well, never mind, things could be worse.

Striking out on a new bearing

Posted by on July 5th 2012 in Illness and injury

It was way back on May 18th that the consultant's secretary at that Leicester hospital told me that she'd contact me within a week concerning the follow-up appointment needed three months after my April 23rd consultation. Needless to say, since that conversation in May I've heard nothing from her, her boss, the Admin Managers or the appointments personnel. No letter, no email, no phone-call. It's an appalling, deceitful and shameful way to run a public service.

Here in the real world we've not been so idle. On June 16th I saw my GP again and at my request he was happy to refer me cross-border to a Coventry hospital for a second opinion. A mere four days later I received a letter detailing the consultation arranged for me and advising me that if surgery is required then it would be "within the NHS 18 week pathway".

I attended that consultation today and after examining me the new consultant decided that he would need to perform another flexible sigmoidoscopy, looking specifically at the areas that are painful and/or dysfunctional. Fearing that I'd be on the waiting-list for a long time due to the 18 week pathway, I asked for some estimate of when the procedure could be done. I was gobsmacked when the consultant checked his diary and offered to do the procedure on July 19th! He didn't involve an Admin Manager, a secretary or an appointments clerk, it was all agreed and arranged between us then and there, even before I'd risen from my seat!

I might email that Leicester hospital to let them know just how simple and easy such things can be, but I suspect that they couldn't care less.

Tonight I'm genuinely happy for the first time in many months. I'm beginning to believe that the light at the end of the tunnel is more than just the illuminating tip of a butt-probe...

Helen A. Handcart

Posted by on May 18th 2012 in Illness and injury

So, where were we? Ah yes, the three-month Mebeverine/Colofac trial (for which I was told to acquire drugs for only two months). As previously stated my flexible sigmoidoscopy took place on 23rd April and I am supposed to attend a follow-up clinic three months after that, so we're looking at sometime during the "backend" of July by my crude reckoning. Basic maths and all that. You'll recall my parting shot: "Now, dear readers, it's time to place your bets... the three-month follow-up appointment should be for sometime around Monday 23rd July... how close do you think they can get?"

Well, this morning I'd still not received a letter about the follow-up appointment so I phoned the hospital appointments people. The woman I spoke to was somewhat edgy and told me that there were no clinics arranged for the summer, she wouldn't tell me why although she said that she did know. I asked her if the place was closing down, she went quiet, then she got flustered, then she advised me to speak with one of the General Surgery Admin Managers.

I phoned an Admin Manager and she was a bit more forthcoming with information. She said that they have four consultants and in theory they work a six-week rotation. Of those four one is in long-term recovery after an op, one is awaiting an op and will be in recovery over the summer and one appears to be available for duty. And what about my consultant? They're letting him go on holiday again, regardless of them being short-staffed. And when he's not on holiday he will be dividing his time/loyalty between slaving for the NHS and making a fortune at the BUPA hospital. I think we can guess where his priorities will lie. They're trying to draft in more consultants but there are "funding issues" and "staffing issues".

She then advised me to contact my consultant's secretary so I made yet another call. Said secretary Helen told me a similar tale of woe - my consultant would hold no clinics before the end of August as he wouldn't have time for them.

Now I'm no expert but I'd have thought that if patients were treated effectively from the start, so as to reduce the chances of complications and the need for follow-ups, then the demands on consultants wouldn't be so high and funding/staffing issues would be less of a burden. Back when I was in Quality Assurance we called it getting it "Right First Time", and when it wasn't right first time we worked hard and fast to make it right ASAP. Mind you, industry was customer-driven - no customer-satisfaction meant no cash. The NHS isn't customer-driven, indeed it's difficult to tell if there's anybody driving at all. Maybe it's on Otto Pilot?

 

 

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that there are no clinics scheduled until September at the earliest, by which time I'll have been off my drugs for longer than I was taking them. What sort of three-month trial is that?

My consultant's secretary says that she''ll "get back to me" sometime next week.

Yeah, like that'll happen. I'll not be holding my breath.

The one good thing about this postponement is that we can now finalise our holiday plans. Skye in August. And when my arse falls off while I'm high in the Cuillin and they complain about having to treat me again because they reckon that I've overdone it, I'll take great delight in reminding them that my consultant has declared me to be OK for that sort of thing.

Oh, and the Mebeverine isn't making any positive difference anyway, but it does make the call of nature harder to answer and gives me so much wind that I could drive all of Wee Eck's windmills 24/7.

Irritable Bastard Syndrome

Posted by on May 2nd 2012 in Illness and injury

Well, I went for that follow-up consultation on Friday 2nd March. After the obligatory greasy-finger insertion I was told that must have a "flexible sigmoidoscopy" within two weeks and the consultant marked the ensuing paperwork to reflect that requirement. Needless to say, it didn't happen - after two weeks without said appointment I phoned the hospital's Endoscopy Department and they had no idea what I was on about. Eventually someone found the paperwork sitting in the in-tray, nobody had dealt with it. By then, the next available slot with my consultant was... April 23rd. There was much conflab twixt me (supported by my GP) and the hospital but they weren't prepared to bring forward the date for the sigmoidoscopy.

So on Monday April 23rd (eight weeks later, six weeks late) I went in for the procedure. The consultant couldn't see anything wrong with my innards but did note that I have skin tags... and haemorrhoids! His diagnosis was that the original haemorrhoidectomy and the difficulties encountered during the recovery period have left me with unexplainable symptoms of urgency and pain. He put me on Mebeverine/Colofac (135mg thrice daily for two months) and said that I should attend a follow-up appointment after three months. He said that Mebeverine/Colofac (a drug used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome) would be cheap to buy "over-the-counter" and so a prescription would not be necessary. Amazingly, he also declared me "fit for duty", saying that I was OK to do all sorts of stuff including fellwalking, DIY and garden groundwork.

Well, later that day we went to the pharmacy to get the Mebeverine/Colofac and were told that the bill would be huge (over £50), they couldn't understand why I'd not been given a prescription.

A day later and I was back on the phone having words with the consultant's secretary. She said that she'd contact the consultant, get things sorted and phone me back later in that week. She said that she thought that >£50 was a lot and that in her opinion a prescription would have been preferable.

As usual there was no forthcoming communication so this morning I called her again. She'd sent a letter that I was yet to receive (it was delivered a few minutes ago) which stated that "Mebeverine is an over the counter drug, which unfortunately cannot be prescribed".

Hmm... "cannot". That's not the same as "would not be necessary". Something awry there. Time for some more sabre-rattling!

Back at the pharmacy I asked the nice people there to do me a costing for my needs so that I could take it to my GP. The bill turned out to be a whopping £65.88! If my consultant really thinks that's cheap then he needs his head looking at!

Then it was back to the nice people at my GP surgery, armed with the costing, the sigmoidoscopy report and the consultant's handwritten note about what treatment I needed. About an hour ago I got an over-the-phone appointment with my GP, I explained all and after his incredulity had subsided he told me that he would write a suitable prescription for me and that I could collect it later today.

Result!

 

I have it in mind to visit my consultant, wave a copy of said prescription in his face and then rattle my sabre up his arse to see how he likes it!

 

Anyway, here are a few tips for any budding colo-rectal consultants out there:

  • Two weeks does not equal eight weeks. If you can't deliver (or can't depend on others to deliver) on your promises, don't make them;
  • Mebeverine/Colofac can be prescribed - my GP has proved this;
  • "Phoning someone back the same week" is not the same as ignoring him/her until he/she phones you the week after;
  • £65.88 is not less than £7.65, the current UK prescription charge. This is simple maths but needs a basic grasp of reality;
  • If you say that a course of drugs is required then YOU should prescribe it rather than leave the patient to acquire such a prescription from his/her GP.

 

Now, dear readers, it's time to place your bets... the three-month follow-up appointment should be for sometime around Monday 23rd July... how close do you think they can get? Last time they were out by a factor of 4, if they do that again then we'd be looking at April 2013!

Seconds in… Round Two!

Posted by on February 27th 2012 in Illness and injury, LMAO!

At long last I've got me a follow-up consultation:

Maybe I should send a reply?

I was thinking of something along the lines of:

"The patient will not always see the consultant (or his proxy) personally, the patient may send one of his mates from down the pub."

Not for the squeamish

Posted by on February 6th 2012 in A bit of a rant, Illness and injury

I wasn't intending to go into great detail about my haemorrhoidectomy, primarily because it should have been a routine day-procedure with a necessarily-uncomfortable but pain-managed recovery period, and also because it's an op that a lot of readers will remember with mixed feelings.

However, circumstances changed when post-op complications kicked in, so now I've decided to publish the tale so that folk considering such a procedure can get a handle on how it can go wrong, how the wrongs could have been righted or even avoided, and how impressively some of the hospital staff can

  • mismanage such complications;
  • regard with contempt the certain knowledge of a patient in need of help;
  • gather inaccurate information, analyse it, act upon it and disseminate it despite being told of the inaccuracies by the patient.

So, if you're interested in a frank and clear account, just click the little "+" sign or message below and all will be revealed. Worry not, I've not included any gory photos (although they are available on request).

 

Click here to show/hide the rest of the post

 

The story starts way back in Autumn 2011. External piles were giving me trouble so I went to my GP and after having the presence of external piles confirmed I got me a referral to a BUPA Colorectal Consultant.

The consultation took place in October. During the session I made it quite plain that I had been suffering with external piles. The Consultant did a full examination and confirmed that piles were present and in need of removal. I was given a choice - treatment under BUPA within a few weeks or treatment under the NHS before Christmas. Either way, the Consultant said that it would be a day-procedure that he would perform himself and he went on to explain the procedure and the equipment that he would use to rid me of all of my piles. I took the second option.

A while later I received a letter asking me to contact the hospital to arrange a date for the operation. I phoned ASAP to find that the soonest available slot would be sometime in late January... so it seems that the "before Christmas" offer was off, I suspect that someone at the hospital had over-ruled the Consultant. No matter, I booked the first available slot.

A week or so later the paperwork arrived. Loads of instructions, a date for the op, a date for a pre-assessment and that festrous green form.

In early January I went in for the pre-assessment. Nurse 1 did sats and pressures, pulse-checks, height & weight measurements, MRSA-swabs and general notes. Nurse 2 did an ECG-check and went through my records discussing Lactulose, lifestyle, smoking-cessation and the procedure itself. There was much discussion about nicotine-patches and the like. Nurse 2 had a copy of the letter from the Consultant, the part about being done before Christmas had been crossed out and marked "disregard", IIRC. Anyway, I was pronounced to be in fine fettle and was given the OK for the op.

I did all the right things on the lead-up to the op - I took the Lactulose, I cut down the smoking and I did the fasting thing.

Op-day (Wednesday January 25th) dawned and all was going to plan until I learned that the Consultant that I'd seen in October had subbed-out my op to a different surgeon. Hmmm... As usual I was one of the first to arrive and as usual I was the last one into theatre. That's the way my life works. Anyway, after the procedure I was told that all had gone well and I was allowed tea and toast before being given a home-pack of instructions and pain-killers (Diclofenac for two days and then Co-codamol). It was explained yet again that I had a pad in my pants and that I had a dressing of "special foam-like material" (hereafter referred to as "the bung") in my back passage (holding both sphincters open) to help to stop any bleeding, this dressing would come away on its own either within the first 24-48 hours or at the time of my first bowel movement. I checked the pad in my pants to find that it wasn't as described - instead of being in my pants like a liner-pad, it was actually stuck onto my arse with 2"-wide tape, forming a fully-sealed crap-retaining barrier. God only knows how I'd have coped with having to remove it in a hurry - it took me fully 20 minutes to get the damned thing off when I got home and needed the loo.

Anyway, back at home it was time for the first "performance". I was on the loo, desperate to crap, but the bung wouldn't shift. 20 minutes later I was still unable to move it so I had a warm bath in the hope that a little relaxation would help. I tried the loo again, nothing budged so I went back to the bath, at which point it all went tits-up... a very small bit of the bung appeared in the bathwater, the rest went the other way, up into my rectum, and stayed there.

For the next two days I was on a normal diet - 3 meals a day, good wholesome food - but I passed hardly anything because of the obstructing bung. On the third day I upped the laxatives but cut the food - there was no more room for it and I was feeling nauseous. I'd finished the Diclofenacs and was on the Co-codamols but they weren't cutting it, it was incredibly painful when I tried in vain to pass anything. Towards the end of the afternoon I phoned the hospital, explained the situation and they told me to come in to the surgical assessment unit ASAP.

When I arrived I was put in a side-ward and told that I was "nil-by-mouth" until I'd been assessed. After about an hour the assessment took place, it consisted of a doctor shoving her finger right up my arse and proclaiming that the bung couldn't be felt. She asked me to clench my inner sphincter but the bung was preventing me from doing so. She said that I wasn't trying hard enough because of the pain, I told her that the bung was stopping me but she wasn't having any of it.

She disappeared for another hour or so, during which time the evening-meals were served to the others but not to me, and a male doctor arrived and took some bloods. When the original doctor returned I asked her if I could eat and drink, she said that I could, she said that she would tell the nursing staff that I was no longer "nil-by-mouth" and she said that she would send a nurse with some food. Yet another hour later a nurse turned up with... a small potted orange juice (declined due to the acidity), some cheese sandwiches (I don't eat cheese) and a micro-sized potted blackcurrant ersatz cheesecake. Dismayed at my refusal of the sarnies, she went off to look for alternatives but I didn't see her again for three hours, and even then she didn't bring me any more food.

Eventually they put me on the ward proper and I was formally admitted for the night - I needed to be seen by the registrar and he was busy in surgery. I asked for food and drink but the nurses still had me down as "nil-by-mouth" despite the doctor's instructions and despite the ID board on the wall clearly stating "F+D". The Co-codamols still weren't cutting it, and I had to take them dry as water was withheld. Funnily enough, they expected me to down two cups of industrial-strength laxative drink - maybe they were expecting me to take it nasally? Eventually Chris went walkabout and provided me with a Mars Bar from the vending machine, hardly the most healthy of foods but it was heaven!

After Chris went home I dozed a bit between failed attempts to open my bowels. Sometime around midnight I was brought some water, and my Co-codamols were taken away and replaced with Ibuprofen on the basis that Co-codamols could have (but hadn't) caused constipation (makes you wonder why I'd been given them after the op, doesn't it?).

The registrar eventually left surgery and hit the wards sometime after 3:30 a.m.. I explained my predicament, he had a cursory non-invasive look at my butt-hole and declared me to be oozing blood and constipated. I explained yet again, with no lack of conviction, that I was physically blocked and wasn't constipated, stating that my gut-contents were sloshing around like a fairground goldfish in a plastic bag, and implored him to either get in there and remove the bung, or to insert a drain to allow the gut-fluids to bypass the obstruction. No, he insisted that I was constipated and he ordered me another dose of industrial-strength laxative. I protested but he just walked away.

After that I had even more urgent needs to open my bowels but nothing came to pass despite many painful attempts. Sleep was impossible, I dozed but got no rest. At 5 a.m. I went for a walk, having got permission from the registrar to have a ciggie in the smoking-shelter.

Some hours later and the ward came alive - the Consultant was on his rounds. By strange coincidence it was the same Consultant that had done my op. He didn't examine me at all - based solely on my notes he declared me to be constipated, recommended prunes and more laxatives, said that I was to be discharged and then disappeared after completing his rounds. I was gobsmacked at how he could have arrived at such a conclusion. Clearly there had been some mistake, and soon it became apparent that my notes were indeed incorrect... two nurses were doing the rounds during their shift-change and the departing one told the other that I was to be discharged because I'd opened my bowels. I went ballistic! I told them in no uncertain terms that I hadn't passed anything, the incoming nurse queried the discrepancy (as I shouldn't have been allowed out if I hadn't passed anything) but she took the word of the night-staff instead of my testimony and I was told to prep for home after breakfast.

I had one last discussion with the most senior person I could find on the ward. I explained my condition yet again and pleaded yet again for either a bung-removal or a bypass drain, I even asked if the bung would show up on a scan or if he could have a look for it with an endoscope but he was having none of it. He told me that I was wrong about the bung, it wasn't there, and even if it was it would "absorb water and shrink". I find that last bit totally amazing - how many things do you know of that shrink when they absorb water? Personally I think he was even more full of 5h1t than I was!

I gave up. Nobody was prepared to listen, they all wanted to guess. Before leaving I told them that their records were woefully incorrect but they were in denial. I pointed out that my discharge form, vetted by the registrar(?) that had OK'd me to go out for a smoke, stated that I was a non-smoker. They didn't care.

So, Chris took me home in a worse condition than that in which I'd arrived, and my faith in the hospital system had completely failed. What a waste of time and resources.

Back at home I was in dire straits - it was 5 days after my op and I was still desperate for a crap but unable to pass anything. After a sleepless night I made a decision - after the next round of painkillers I would get things sorted myself. I went upstairs, bit the bullet, aligned my insides as best I could, screamed every expletive known to Man and after 30 or so minutes out popped a large chunk of  "special foam-like material", followed immediately by five-day-old evil crap and blood, followed by my insides trying to prolapse. Jeez, that hurt beyond all belief but it was proof that I was right.

Over the next couple of days my incontinence managed to keep my emissions about in pace with my intake, but everything was painful and messy as it all had to be done in the standing position - sitting was a no-no as my innards would try to prolapse and nothing would pass. During those two days I had over 40 sessions on the loo. It was obvious that there was still more of that damned bung inside.

After a while external soreness set in and I started to get external obstructions too - my external piles had returned, they hadn't been removed, there was no new scar-tissue visible around my butt-hole to indicate that anything had been removed. These external obstructions were painful, engorged and bleeding after each motion. Angry? Me? You bet!

That night I could take no more. I phoned NHS Direct to find out if I could apply over-the-counter haemorrhoid-cream. They couldn't say, so they sent a night-shift GP from the hospital. He was very sympathetic and helpful, and he OK'd the use of the cream, told me to supplement the Ibuprofen (400mg) with Paracetamol (500mg) and told me to see my own GP ASAP.

First thing next morning I called my GP's surgery, they wanted me to go in but I couldn't as I was still incontinent so they sent a doctor sometime after noon. She too was helpful and prescribed some heavy-duty ointment (Proctosedyl) which was just about strong enough. She listened to my moaning about the piles still being there and suggested that I should visit the surgery as soon as I was able, to get my rear-end obstructions checked.

A day or so later I managed the short walk to my GP's surgery to get checked. 0.4 miles, half an hour. No need for a sat-nav to work out that one. After the appointment I shuffled home even more slowly, and just as I reached home I started to leak blood. Lots of it. Down my legs and into my socks. I got indoors, stripped off and struggled upstairs but just before I got "in the saddle" it all exploded. There was fresh blood and/or sloppy blood-clots everywhere - in the hall, up the stairs, on the landing, up the wall, in the pan, in the sink, down my legs, you name it and I painted it red! Major pain! Major panic!

I couldn't find the emergency number for the hospital - the letter was out of reach as I stood in the bath with the red stuff dripping out so I grabbed the mobile, phoned my neighbour and he raced round to the rescue. He's a star - he found the number, called it but got no answer so he called 999 instead. Within minutes a paramedic was wading through the mess as I stood in the red-watered bath. He was brilliant - full of concern, attentive and caring. In the bath we found bits of the bung with scar-tissue attached to them - clearly my "solids" had ripped the bits of bung, together with the scar-tissue to which they were attached, off my insides and I was bleeding from the open wounds left behind. Eventually it all stopped and I went downstairs to be assessed again. He suggested that I should go back to hospital by ambulance but he understood my reluctance after my being discharged in a worse state than I'd arrived in a few days before. Besides, I felt much better than I had before the bleed. We came to an agreement that suited both of us - he allowed me to stay at home on the condition that I would go back to hospital without fail if I had another such bleed that day. Meanwhile my neighbour had been busy cleaning up the mess - like I said, he's a star! I called Chris at work and she raced home in case I had another bleed but I was bleed-free for the rest of the day and overnight.

The next day I had another bleed, about half as much as the previous one. It happened under more-controlled conditions and was less messy and shocking. Again, I felt much better after it so I didn't call it in.

The next two days were much better but they were still painful, bloody and unpredictable.

12 days after the operation and I still think that there are more bits of bung stuck up there but there can't be much left. Still incontinent but down to about 15 times a day. Still on the painkillers, still on the laxatives, still passing blooded sloppy stools. Still feeling like I'm prolapsing after each crap, still got the painful external external obstructions and still on the cream. Looks like I'll have to have another op to get rid of these external bastards... which is all I wanted in the first place!

I'll update this post when anything of note happens.

Update - Tuesday 7th Feb: Woke from the first good night of sleep in a fortnight. No blood, no leakage, much less internal pain. I'd be ecstatic if that was all, but now I have thrush as well as external obstructions. Started a seven-day course of Metronidazole (400mg) to help to prevent secondary infections.

Update - Wednesday 8th Feb: Blood-free, starting to get by with fewer painkillers.

Update - Thursday 9th Feb: Passed another sizeable bit of bung, feels like all internal blockages are gone, this morning I could crap for England!

Update - Saturday 11th Feb: Regained full bladder-control - no more pain in prostate area. Finished the laxatives. Walked into town and back - first major exercise for over two weeks - was sore afterwards but it was better than having cabin-fever.

Update - Wednesday 15th Feb: No more bung since 9th Feb, still painful when passing solids. The insides still don't feel right - still feels like I'm prolapsing. Thrush is still a problem, and so are the external obstructions. Asked the hospital to arrange a check-up for sometime next week.

 

So, if you're in for a similar op, here are a few tips:

  • Beware the dreaded "special foam-like material" bung. If it goes up inside instead of down and out, get it sorted ASAP. Don't let the hospital staff ride rough-shod over you. I've been Googling for info about the bung material and have found that some references that indicate that some versions of the bung may be made from tissue taken from pigs... worth thinking about if you're vegan or otherwise opposed to porcine products.
  • Make sure that all of the hospital staff are aware of your true food/drink intake status.
  • Make sure that all of the hospital staff make accurate and true records rather than fantasy-notes like some of them made up for me.
  • Think twice about accepting Co-codamol as pain-relief if you're on laxatives - they fight each other.
  • Make sure that you get the op that you need, rather than the one that they want to give you.

Good luck!

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