25. Hello weekend!

I made it to Saturday morning! The drugs came round and a new nurse injected something into the cannula. I asked what it was and she said “paint stripper” super strong antibiotics – good a nurse with a sense of humour.

Just as the ladies with the toast arrived, so did Nick and a couple of doctors.  The one in civvies introduced himself and examined the new bionic boob. The one in scrubs looked on, as did a young woman in a dark blue uniform.  It all appeared satisfactory I was told I should put on a sports bra.  It was the first time I had seen the dressings on the lymph node incision and where my nipple had been.  I was surprised by the size of my new breast and the thickness of the tubes which made up the drains – both were larger than I anticipated.  (The young woman in the dark blue uniform was later spotted by Nick mopping the floor – she was part of housekeeping.  Presumably she was just checking that my wounds were clean.)

I told Nick about the spade/urine event in the early hours and I asked him to find out if there was a bath on the ward.  There was but it was not clear if it worked.  On investigation it appeared that it did.  One of the new nurses unplugged me from the cannula and I tentatively got out of bed, held on to the two drains and holding onto Nick made the trip to the bathroom.  The bath was huge, with a plethora of knobs and an Icarus sling nearby which I didn’t require as I could step up and in – had I felt more with it, it could have been fun to try.

The first job was to give the bath a bit of a rinse and then fill it up.  It was bliss! Nick washed me with hibiscrub and I sat in the warm water with my dressings out of the water and the drains hanging over the side.  Such a simple pleasure.  He then helped me out of the bath and patted me down, I put on one of my new M&S zip up front sports bras and nightgown and then walked back to the bay (past the side wards and two bays of men in various states as it appeared that Lynher ward deals with plastics, urology and Ent – all ends covered then). Back into bed and back to sleep until my mum visited that afternoon.  She was well armed with fruit and juice from the Marks and Spencer concession at the main door of the hospital.

The ward has its own rhythm which is punctuated with offers of tea “yes please, here is one of my ginger tea bags”, drugs and visitors – loads of visitors on the ward so it is noisy some of them may also be on drugs.  Thank goodness for ear phones and Spotify on my phone.  I dozed on and off and then remained awake during the night – not least as the bed was close to the nurses’ station and well-lit corridor so it was noisy and bright.  The same healthcare assistant as the night before was on duty, a thoroughly decent and sensible woman, changed the hourly observations from the night before to 4 hourly.    She had a cheery word to say as she took my temperature, bp and heart rate.  At the end of her 12 hour shift she walked home – a good couple of miles, did her housework and then went to bed.  She told me that she had already put her Christmas decorations up…  it was only the 18th November.

Tip:  have friends and family on hand to “nurse” you as the main things you need to recover which include rest and good food are in short supply in the Leviathan that is a busy hospital.

Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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