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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

One week post hip op

It is a week ago today (about noon) that I had my left total hip replacement operation, and it has been such a positive experience. The Royal Bournemouth Hospital was such a different experience to Southampton General Hospital on so many levels.

I arrived in the dark as I had to be there by 7.15 to book into the Sandbourne Suite which has a very posh reception area from whence you go to a small consultation room to go through the final checks. Once you are gowned up and marked up to make sure they do the right thing, you go through into a waiting room. Had to wait until about noon, but as I was one of the first in I got the nicest chair which reclined so I was alright Jack! There was a delay because of a problem with the air-con in the theatres which was supposed to have been fixed at the weekend, and this delayed things by about an hour so, as the second on the list, I didn't get to walk over to the theatre until noon - with a teddy bear in hand of course.

I was on the ward by about 4pm and on to one of those wonderful hospital beds which is adjustable to suit you without the effort of having to move yourself. I was on an air matress for a day or so until they got me out of bed. When they did get me out I managed to walk to the loo, but this was overdoing it a bit as I nearly passed out when I got back to the bed so I had to lie down on oxygen, rather than sitting out. However I didn't need a blood transfusion this time and managed to get back on track by day two post-op, and making sure that I did the exercises in bed and some deep breathing. My blood pressure was a bit up and down the first couple of days, which is probably what contributed to the lightheadedness.

I have been taking Arnica pillules (homeopathic medicine) since about a week before the operation, first as a lower 6c dose, and then 30c post-op. This has really helped with the bruising and general discomfort, and if it wasn't for the staples closing the wound I don't think I would really notice there was much of a problem, although there is a large area of bruising which has been coming out. One of the nurses actually asked if I had actually had a hip replacement because the wound was doing so well. When they unpacked by stuff, once I got on the ward, they were immediately very suspicious of the supplements which I had brought with me which were then promptly locked away until a doctor could have a look at them. He said he couldn't officially prescribe them as he would be laughed at by other doctors, but when he found out what they were he said he would not object. He didn't seem to have any knowledge of the properties of even Arnica, which is very well known, and trotted out the usual schpeel about how none of this had been researched...which is so untrue. A pharmacist came along later to check my meds and make sure I had everything I needed and when I mentioned the Arnica to her she said that it was wonderful stuff. So why are they not routinely prescribing this? Who knows more about medicines - doctors or pharmacists? Obviously pharmacists as the chemical properties of medications is what they do. When a doctor needs to check if there will be any adverse interactions between meds they check with the pharmacist. So again, why is Arnica not in general use both pre and post operatively?  Think of the saving on pain meds and discomfort for the patient?

The staff were also very different from Southampton.  First of all there were so many of them - it was amazing, and secondly they actually look an interest in the patients.  Because there were so many buzzing around there were very few call buttons being pressed as you knew that you could just ask someone to do some little thing while they were passing, and they would either do it then, or actually come back in a few minutes as they said they would.  At Southampton it was rather a case of ring now and someone might come in half an hour and tell you they will be back soon, so then you could ring on a second or third occasion and possibly get something done.

The whole atmosphere was so different and more relaxed.  Staff didn't spend their time sitting chatting at the nurses station.  The food was very good, within the obvious limitations of mass producing food for the same time.  It was 'home' cooked and tasty and served on the ward.  Also I was impressed by the way that different grades of staff just mixed in to get the job done; the ward clerk or nurses helping with meals and a general lack of 'that's not my job' kind of attitude that I experience else where in life, both in hospital and work.  There was laughter on the ward, not the depressed and anxious silence that I have experienced elsewhere.  I had a lot of compliments on the fabric flowers I have wound around my crutches especially when I took a trip down to the Carol Service in the Atrium on Sunday afternoon, shortly before I went home.

Being Home Alone is rather nice as I can potter around in my own space, but the hosptial routine is quite nice as well as I am tending to lose track of time and day at the moment.  This is partially because I have not been sleeping as well because I can't get as comfortable in my own bed.  However with the flower power crutches in hand it is onward and upward...

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