Archives For swelling

The 10th of July.

Oooh I am very itchy. Apparently it is one of the many weird sensations one can get after liposuction so I took an antihistamine to try to counter it but it wasn’t really helpful.

I was able to take the sleeve off for a couple of hours this morning, which was very nice. The elbow and wrist have been squeezed particularly hard. Plus my hand is holding a lot of the fluid still; I still ask Fiona about that on Friday if it’s still there.

I spent my afternoon watching the tennis, crocheting and periodically visiting Dolly to see if she could be persuaded to eat anything, because she hasn’t since yesterday evening. I would go in, she’d ignore the food, but then she’d cry when I left. She has just eaten a small amount of fish, but then wandered off to look out of the window and howl. I do not understand this bloody cat.

The 11th of July.

The itchiness has calmed down today, thankfully. Instead, the issue of the day has been hand swelling – the garment forces some of the fluid into my hand, and it felt enormous this morning. I tried putting the compression glove on, but that just seemed to cut off the circulation to my fingers. Not ideal. Eventually I took the sleeve off for an hour this afternoon, just to give it a rest. My fingers are not shiny like they were earlier so it’s helped a bit.

My day has been remarkably uninteresting. I actually spent pretty much my whole afternoon lying on my bed with my feet up against the wall, trying to get some of the fluid that appears to have pooled in my feet to drain. I think I may have even fallen asleep. But after a few hours, it was too much pressure on my back so I came back downstairs. Sat with Dolly for a little bit because she is back to her habit of crying all the time. She does it whether we’re there or not, but I feel bad if I ignore her. Stupid weird kitty.

The 8th of July.

So, so tired.

I didn’t fall asleep until about 3 this morning because my arm hurt and I couldn’t get in a comfortable position and the sheets were a mess. Then I was woken up at 7 for my breakfast of toast, marmalade and coffee. I asked the nurses for my Tramadol, because the codeine did fuck all, and found that helped enough for me to be able to bend my arm, brush my teeth and sort out my bed a bit.

Anne had said I could go without seeing her, but I wanted to see what she thought of my arm today and find out what we were to do regarding dressings. She appeared at quarter to twelve, with Mommy and the nurse, which was excellent timing. She took off the bandages, peeled the sleeve down, then removed all the Mepores, trying not to tear my skin. It looks pretty amazing! It looks best immediately post-surgery, then the swelling will go up, but both arms looked nearly identical! And all the compression has alleviated some of the bruising. The nurse gave all the wounds that needed it a clean, then applied new dressings before putting a new sleeve on. So everything is good! I see Fiona the nurse next week, Julie in six weeks, and Anne in September. Then we just had to wait for pharmacy to send up my TTOs and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s an NHS or a private hospital, they still move at a glacial pace.

I almost match. I’m so happy.

The 9th of July.

Sleep was good. I lay on top of the sheet with my arm on a pillow and managed to stay there until a reasonable time. The arm was less painful, so I think that helped.

I have done very little today. This morning, we watched Christine mace-bear at a graduation ceremony over live stream, then we caught up on the Taskmaster finale that we missed while we were away.

Sarah came back with Dolly, who despite having a lovely time at the cattery, scratched Sarah and wet herself when it came to having to get in the carrier. Poor thing. She has gone straight under the chair.

We had lunch, then I sat with Dolly all afternoon, crocheting and watching Zootropolis. She has not emerged, just like Boris. Suddenly my trip to the Houses of Parliament on the 18th has become even more interesting. 

The 6th of July.

Ah, home again, where the water from the tap tastes good.

Up very early because we left before half past eight. First, we drove to Ipswich to drop off Christine at the station there, then we continued for three and a half hours to home. My back was horrific.

We got here just before one, so we had time to pee and have a drink before Mommy and I went to The Spire for my cross-match. The receptionist sent me to the wrong place, so we wasted twenty minutes waiting for someone who wasn’t coming. Thankfully, a member of staff was helpful, and suddenly everything happened very quickly. I went to the right place, and the woman in charge came to apologise profusely and make sure shit got done. A nurse came to get me, and she’d bleeped a doctor to bleed me. He had to have two goes, but he got what we needed. On the way out, we were stopped by the manager again, who qoffered us free coffee and cake! We said yes please, because we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and it was delicious.

We stopped at M&S on the way home to buy some dinner, then this afternoon, I have had my first Hibiscrub shower (I have to have another one in the morning) and a hairwash. Having to blow dry one’s hair in this weather is awful.

I do hope I sleep tonight.

The 7th of July.

Liposuction day!

I am exhausted, swollen, oozy and sore.

I got up early to try and drink loads of water before I had to be nil by mouth at 11. We got to The Spire at about twenty past, and someone from the ward came to get me and take me to my room. It was a slightly nicer version of an NHS cubicle room – pretty much the same, but I could lock my cupboard and I had a wardrobe. Fancy.

A nurse came to admit me and do blood pressure, sats and get a urine sample. Then they sent the doctor I saw yesterday to try and get some more blood from me because they were unhappy with the group and save from then. Unfortunately, my veins did not want to cooperate, and after two tries he decided he would let the anaesthetist try in theatre when they put my cannula in.

The anaesthetist himself, Gerwyn, came to see me next and we talked about all the boxes I had ticked on the form (he thinks I probably did break the record). We discussed the regional block, the risks, what else we might need to do. It all sounded very promising so that was grand and off he went. Then we just had to wait for Anne!

She came just after two o’clock and drew all over my arm to show where she was going to go in (basically everywhere), took some pictures for comparison, then I signed the consent form and it was time to go!

In the anaesthetic room, Gerwyn had two attempts at the cannula, unfortunately settling on the vein in the underside of my wrist, although he did put some local anaesthetic in first so it wasn’t as uncomfortable. Couldn’t get any blood but it was unlikely that I’d need a transfusion so nevermind. Then he ultrasounded around my collarbone to find the nerves he wanted to use to make my arm numb. We had to wait for it to kick in, then he started spraying me with the cold spray and poking me with a blunt needle to see what I could feel. Turns out a brachial block can’t numb the inside of the upper arm or the back of it, so they would try and get some local infiltration in theatre.

When we went in, I asked if we were going to do a Who, which they all found very amusing because nobody had ever asked that before, then they asked if I would lead it, so I did! I was prepped, made all clean, some leg massagers were attached to my calves to prevent me from getting another DVT, and a screen was erected in front of my face to keep the sterile and non-sterile areas separate. That was annoying, because I had wanted to watch. However, they asked if I wanted any music to entertain me, so I requested Death Cab. They were unsure until they heard it, and then they realised they are lovely so we just listened to them for two hours while Anne hoovered all the extra fat out of my arm. The noise is like a combination of an electric toothbrush and a drill. And in the places where it wasn’t numb and the local anaesthetic wasn’t reaching, it felt like she was shoving a long drill bit in and out of my arm. It was painful enough to get past just clenching my jaw – I screwed up my face a bit and even emitted an “Ow.” That means it is bad. If you are planning on having liposuction ever, I would recommend making sure you can be entirely numb, and if you can’t, be asleep. It’s not pleasant. When she was finished, all the little holes got stitched up, then covered in Mepore dressings. My entire arm is Mepore. Then, they had to try to get a compression garment over the top without messing up all the dressings. I had a quick look, and she was not kidding about the bruising. It’s rather dramatic. That was tricky, but they did a reasonable job. Blood and fluid has oozed out through it constantly since then, and it’s supposed to carry on until tomorrow evening. I’m not supposed to change the dressings for ten days, but I can’t see how they’ll still be viable even after tomorrow. I’ll ask Anne when she comes round in the morning.

When it was all done, at about quarter to five, I was taken to recovery, where we saw the very end of the football (It’s coming home!) and everybody told me how well I’d done. Anne said it went really well, and she removed a whole litre of fat. A litre! Even she didn’t expect there to be that much. After about half an hour and a much needed glass of water, I was taken back to the ward.

Here, I have had to do everything one handed, because my right arm was useless until about 9. I can flop it about, like Harry Potter does when Gilderoy Lockhart magics away his bones. I managed to get my phone out of the cupboard and ring Mommy, so she could come and see me because she wanted to. Then I rang Christine to tell her how it had gone, because it was easier than texting. I was brought the sandwich I’d ordered before surgery and some coffee, which happily did not taste like garbage. I was so hungry but it’s hard to eat an egg mayo sandwich with only one hand. Mommy arrived, I told her all that had happened, and she helped me sort out the sheets and shuffle myself up the bed. She left at about twenty past seven, and I lay and waited for my arm to come back to me, sending her a video every time the mobility moved up the arm a bit. By 9, I had regained most of the movement and sensation. It’s got its cons though – now I can feel again, I’m aware that it is quite achy. Will ask the nurses for some codeine, see if that helps. Then I will try to go to sleep. Not feeling optimistic.

The 12th of July. 

Venoplasty day!

Any day in ambulatory care means getting up before six which is not ideal, but necessary. I was last to arrive in my section, but that didn’t matter because I was third on the list, so there was no rush with my admission. I didn’t expect to go down until about eleven, so I was very surprised when a porter arrived at twenty past ten. The nurses didn’t even know, so I had to quickly go pee and put my gown on. 

Across in angio, I said hi to all the team, and Mr. Singh (who put the PICC in) came to consent me. Then Andrew came and we had a chat about the plan – it was left unspoken that this is our last shot. 

On the table, I was prepped, covered, cleaned. It is a testament to the greatness of the team that I have to be essentially naked in front of the whole room for a while but at no point did I feel undignified or unsafe. My groin was ultrasounded to find the vein, but there seemed to be trouble getting into it because I heard a lot of talk about scarring, then a dilator had to be used to hold it open so the sheath could go in. Then there were issues with the wires – people had to keep getting different ones from the wall. I think it was to do with the length or the stiffness? They were having to get all the way from the groin up to my neck, which is pretty far. They did a couple of runs with the gadolinium to check everything was in the right place, then it was time for fun and sleepy drugs. I got the nice, warm fuzz, then the discomfort of having balloons inflated inside you. I think they did maybe six inflations in total? They used the two biggest balloons available, in one site in the neck vein, one in the SVC and again a little bit further down. Then everything came out, and I had the awkward five minutes where a man leans heavily on my groin to stop the bleeding and there isn’t much to say. 

I went into recovery about twenty past twelve, where I had to stay for half an hour to make sure I was fine before they’d take the PICC out. When it came to that time, the nurses had changed, and the new one hadn’t done it before, so we had to grab a doctor to do it. The nurse watched closely, but there isn’t much to learn – just pull it out, then put some pressure on the hole. Then the nurse was able to ring the ward, where a student nurse said someone would come for me. Forty five minutes later, she rang again, and the staff nurse said she hadn’t passed on the message, and came straight away. I was fine; another nurse had shared her Jelly Babies with me and I only had twenty minutes of lying flat left. 

Back in ambulatory care, I asked Mommy to get the flowers and chocolates from the car because Emelda and Tracey would be gone by the time I’d be able to, so she delivered those and then got me some coffee and a sandwich, which I was only too eager to get into my face. Then we just had two hours to kill, so I was checking the tennis and talking to Mommy about what had happened in angio and what we do now. I have to keep my arm elevated a lot and try to squeeze the fluid down. We’re going to see if the massage people at the chiro do lymphatic drainage, and if that could help me. I’m also considering acupuncture. Anything that will get this swelling to go down. Anything at all. 

By half past four, I’d got myself ready to go, so I was given my discharge letter and we were out of there. I had a ticket to hear Matt Haig talk about his new book, How to Stop Time, at Waterstones at half past six, and I needed some dinner first. I ended up having a cinnamon crêpe and a chocolate milkshake because I am an adult and I can. 

Because of the wheelchair, I had to use the lift to get to that second floor, where the event was, which meant I basically jumped the queue. However, I chose to sit at the front which was good for watching the interview, but then I was at the back of the queue for the signing. However (and I honestly don’t know why this happened), some people near the front said I could go in front of them, so I got out a lot quicker than I might have. I just wanted to tell him how much I loved Reasons to Stay Alive. I’m so excited to read this new one. 

The 13th of July. 

Trying not to get sad. I’m pretty sure the venoplasty isn’t going to have worked. I’ve spent most of my day looking for effective treatments for lymphoedema. 

I had a chiro appointment this morning, which I was very thankful for because a) my neck has been really clunky recently and b) I wanted to ask about the massage/lymphatic drainage thing. Turns out my neck muscles have been recruited to help me breathe so they’ve got all stiff, and Trine’s not sure if they do this but she’ll find out on Monday. 

When we got back, I wrote a long entry about yesterday, watched two rather short Wimbledon semi-finals, and did a lot of internet research. There are the standard treatments of drainage massage and compression garments, but honestly they don’t sound very effective. There is a chance that acupuncture may have a small amount of benefit, but I’d want to know somebody who’d had it, not just pick a random practitioner. Or there are surgical interventions, and frankly I am leaning towards those. I will try anything. I just want my arm back. I want to not feel deformed. 

The 20th of February. 

I so want to be able to breathe normally again. Or at least, normally for me. To walk from the living room to the kitchen without needing to recover, to not need to spend the first hour of every day coughing up endless amounts of crap. I suspect Andrew won’t be able to get me in next week because he’ll be only just back from half term, so I have to be patient. I am just so tired. 

I spoke to the orthotics team this morning and I’m going in tomorrow at 9.30, presumably to be measured for a sleeve that goes over the hand. 

The rest of the day, I have been waiting around for Mommy to be available so we could bake brownies with the triple double chocolate Oreos in. At one point, we almost got started, then there was decorating chat, then Alison came over, so an hour after going to the kitchen, we began. I made sure we cooked them for the full amount of time, so hopefully they won’t be underbaked like usual. 

Good news! NHS England have announced they “are confident” that funding for second transplants will become available, but this is not yet confirmed. It also begs the question of what the hell has the anguish of the past six months been for? The pressure is not off. 

The 21st of February. 

I think the steroid eye drops are working – I had to wake up at quarter to seven, and it took much less time for my eyes to adjust to the light. Hooray!

Up early to see the orthotics team – Chris is on annual leave this week so I saw Pete, the clinical lead. I explained what had happened and showed him the pictures. He took some more measurements (and was pleased I had worn a jumper with easy arm access), and with any luck, I’ll be able to pick up the new sleeve tomorrow after haematology clinic. 

Before going home, we went into town so I could return the jumper I bought the other day, and I got a birthday card for Mommy. Her present is on its way, so if it arrives in time, I’ll wrap it on Thursday while the dining room is being painted and the fumes will force me to retreat to upstairs  

This afternoon, Daddy and I went to see Hidden Figures. It is really superb. I adored all of the costume, especially Janelle Monáe’s dress at the beginning. Loooove. I read an article about the three women (Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) in New Scientist a few weeks ago, and have been really looking forward to seeing it since then. I can’t believe I did not hear about these women until now. And I am worried that we are going back to the time they came from.

 

The 14th of February. 

Another Valentine’s Day without a media campaign, another day of no cards. Back to normal. 

Back at the chiro this morning, just to top up. I needed some work in the ribcage area still, but I can now take a deep breath without it hurting, which is always preferable. 

When we got home, I had time to write up a blog post, then Rosemary arrived just after twelve for one of the semi-regular lunches that she has with Mommy. While Mommy heated up the soup she made this morning, I explained what was going on with my arm, and all the various health issues I had over Christmas. 

This afternoon, I watched Katherine Ryan’s Netflix special, In Trouble, and crocheted just a small doily. No time for an all-day project today. I have ordered some crochet thread so the next ones I make will be not as large as the ones I’ve made so far. 

I just want it to be Thursday. I had a dream last night that I was going to have another venoplasty, but they cancelled it at the last minute because the door of my cubicle didn’t lock, and I was so angry. I can’t carry on like this. 

The 15th of February. 

My hand aches from all the writing I’ve done today but here I am again because needs must. 

I was woken up by Mommy stripping wallpaper in the dining room. Somehow, the sound travels directly up so it sounds like she’s doing it in their bedroom which is next to mine. Not the start to the day I expected. 

My breathing was pretty poor this morning, to the point where I needed extra oxygen after my shower. I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have it. After breakfast, I made another coaster/doily for Penny because she liked the grey one I did and it’s her birthday next week. Also, the crochet thread I ordered arrived, so I can make smaller, fiddly ones. And I got the new mug I purchased to replace the one Daddy broke yesterday, which is very speedy delivery!

After lunch, I sat down to plan my talk for the Midlands Marrow RAGM on Saturday. After two hours, I’d written five and a half pages, which I will have to practise to see how long it takes. I have twenty minutes, but that includes Q&A so I need to leave enough time for that. 

Clinic in the morning. Begging time. 

The 8th of February. 

I am so tired of spending every morning coughing, over and over, having to bring up crap from my lungs repeatedly. It takes hours to subside. I haven’t got an appointment for Andrew’s clinic next week yet, so tomorrow I’ll have to ring the lady I spoke to last week again. 

It’s been another rather nothing day. I have crocheted two coaster-type things, although they’re a bit big so are more like doilies. I am a grandma. 

We watched another episode of Case – it’s only on All 4 so we have to be proactive in watching it, otherwise we’ll forget and I do want to know what happens. I find it difficult to tell all the blonde Icelandic girls apart; they all look so similar. There’s another, similar drama starting soon called The Team so hopefully they’re different enough for us to keep them separate in our minds. 

Nothing else. Just want to be back to normal size. I’m doing a talk for some Marrow volunteers next week and it would be so nice if I didn’t have to wear an enormous jumper but I suspect I will. 

The 9th of February. 

So it seems 2017 is the year I become a pensioner, as I’ve made about five doilies in the past two days. They’re my new scarf – when I’m bored and have no larger project, make a coaster/doily. 

This morning, I made a purple coaster, and this afternoon, I did a larger, doily-type one while listening to 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields. They have such a wealth of material, I wish I’d known about them back when they might have toured. 

I had several phone calls to the hospital, trying to make sure I was going to get an appointment for Andrew’s clinic next week. I talked to the lady from last week, but she had no paperwork about me, so then I spoke to his secretary who was able to sort it out very efficiently and I’ll be seeing him next week. Apparently the compression garment people have me on their list as needing one urgently but still no idea when that might progress. 

This evening I had another Cats Protection meeting, although this week’s was not as long and I have no jobs to do. I am good at being the host, providing biscuits and doing admin.