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2007 - July 1st - Sunday

JH slept really well, and only woke up when her alarm went off.  It was Mary’s turn to flood the bathroom today – as she did not tuck the curtain into the bath adequately, but the bathmat mopped up a lot.  Mary emailed, her cousin, Jane Densham, from JH’s email box: Mary gave Jane, who had practised as a State Registered Nurse, a synopsis of JH’s postoperative progress.  In the afternoon, Lyn came round to visit, bringing with her red roses, and goodies of all sorts.  JH typed a letter to Rozee, sent her the photos of Ralph’s scale model collection, and hoped that she might drop Kathy a line in reply, as Kathy was hoping to join a Befriending Group – which is the sort of activity which Rozee gets involved with/in.  Further to the report of JH’s Midwifery Training in yesterday’s Herald: JH received a phone call from Betty Halliday, who had been delivering a baby when Freedom Fields Hospital was being bombed!



JH’s Third Postoperative Week was rather fraught!  On Monday 2nd July, it was very apparent to JH and Mary that JH had a florid wound infection – see details of management under entry for that date.  As JH was prescribed antibiotics she did, of course, suffer more digestive problems; therefore, it was very necessary for JH to continue her individualised regime for her bowel management!  However, JH did – of course – persevere in taking the antibiotics for the full 7-day course.  JH usually had an afternoon rest in bed, or forty-winks in a chair on most days.  At the beginning of the week, Mary went out and about, either doing her ‘own thing’, or running errands for the invalid – having always assured herself, before departure, that JH’s meals were catered for; Mary finally returned to her own home on 4th July.  Kathy was still having trouble with using the Hospital’s Patientline console but we did manage to have an exchange of emails.

2007 - July 2nd - Monday

Kathy rang JH: She was feeling very Happy!  She had had a bladder scan which was fine.  Pic and Bill had visited.  Lilian (her and JH’s fellow patient) continued to progress well.

JH woke up a few minutes before her alarm went off – having only got up once in the night to go to the loo.  Mary caught a bus about 10.30am - to get to her duties at the Oxfam Bookshop.  JH did a bit of emailing; she wrote a letter ordering 4 tickets, for Karen Paolillo’s talk at The Royal Geographical Society about Turgwe Hippo Trust, to send to the Zimbabwean Staff on Paulin Ward; she made a few phone calls, in particular, to In Other Words to order a copy of the text of Don Carlos which Mary had expressed an interest in reading – having seen a performance. 

JH showered and got dressed rather late in the morning, but it was not until the afternoon that she inspected her wound in the mirror – as the wound felt somewhat sore after she had dressed, due to her clothing abrading it; the lateral end of the wound felt distinctly lumpy along the edges and was also alarmingly inflamed; as JH pressed adjacent to one particular spot, about an egg-cup full of unpleasant yellow fluid issued forth from the wound – although a distinct hole could not be seen.  JH phoned up her GP’s Surgery and spoke to the Receptionist in the late afternoon; JH explained that her wound had started oozing and looked red and felt lumpy; the Receptionist was very busy with a late afternoon Surgery and so - although the Receptionist kindly said she would ask the Practice Nurse to call in the morning - JH was diffident of saying that she really thought that her wound should be seen by a Doctor that evening.  JH took her temperature on her old Fahrenheit thermometer: 99.4°.

When Mary came back at about 6.10pm, she took one look at JH’s wound and said JH needed to see a Doctor NOW or, to put it another way, the Dr needed to see JH’s horrible wound; she also observed that, when she had measured the wound a few days ago, the wound had only had one tiny red spot which she thought to be of no significance – but now remembered having noticed.  Mary rang the GP’s surgery; an answering-machine message gave her the phone number to call when the surgery was shut.  Mary rang this number and got through to Nurse Caroline Jackson to whom JH spoke herself: JH explained her complaint; Caroline replied by asking JH if she could get up to Derriford Hospital, to which JH said that both she and Mary did not think it was appropriate for JH to come up and sit for hours in the A&E Department!  However, Caroline disabused JH in so much as she explained that she was the Nurse for the Devon Doctors’ Deputising Service which held an evening surgery from 6.00pm to 8.00pm in Plym Day Case Unit – which JH had forgotten about (even after having passed the notice on the door many times), and Mary had never heard of!

JH rang up for a local taxi, Mary grabbed a sandwich for JH - just in case we were kept waiting a long time, and JH started to feel more collywobbly than she already felt - but none for herself.  At the PDCU in Derriford Hospital we were directed to the waiting room by the Receptionist, who kindly gave JH a glass of water to take some of her pills.  After 20 minutes JH was called into the Consulting Room where she saw Dr Donaldson, who told JH that he was pleased to meet her again, as he recognised JH from the time - some 25 or so years ago - when he had been an SHO on the Special Care Baby Unit.  Dr Donaldson prescribed JH a week’s course of oral flucloxacillin, and told JH that there was no need for him to squeeze her wound and get an eyeful (as suggested by JH just to prove a point), and also told JH that the wound should slowly dry up from the ‘bottom, upwards’; Mary asked Dr Donaldson if JH should have some dressings, and if she could continue to shower; Dr Donaldson replied that JH would only need dressings if she so wished, and that she could continue to shower.  Dr Donaldson took JH’s blood pressure which was a bit high but acceptable; JH’s temperature was 37.4°C – ditto.

At JH’s suggestion, Mary left JH in the waiting room and went off in a taxi (having summoned it from the phone in the main entrance) to go to the Pharmacy which was open in Roborough.  Whilst she was gone JH asked the half dozen or so patients in the waiting room if they minded if JH munched a sandwich; they would not have minded at all but then one of them spotted a notice on the wall asking patients not to eat or drink.  Mary returned in about half-an-hour, upon which JH obtained another glass of water and took her first dose of antibiotic.  The lady driver of the taxi was most amenable and sympathetic; When Mary came in to fetch JH, she told JH that the driver had switched off her ‘clock’ whilst Mary went into the Pharmacy, and also turned it off whilst JH was picked up.  We arrived back at 64 Colebrook Road at about 8.30pm. 

JH ate only one of her sandwiches on return home.  As JH’s cupboard did not contain any more tins of creamed rice pudding, Mary offered to make JH some custard; JH explained that there was a tin of custard powder in her store cupboard, which Mary had difficulty in finding.  Although JH was feeling very weary, and got fed up with hearing Mary shifting things around in the kitchen, it was only then that JH realised how hampered Mary is by her failing vision, due to the development of cataracts; furthermore Mary has to stand on a stool in anyone else’s kitchen to reach things, as she is usually much shorter than the resident occupant!  JH must keep reminding Mary to ring the Royal Eye Infirmary to ask for her appointment to be expedited.