After the drainage procedure the pain immediately subsided, and I suspect that what remained was due to the drainage rather than the abscess.
We will now deal with the bed. It finally arrived from a secret off-site location (after a second call was placed), at 9.30. That’s about 8 hours. I presume it was either stored a long way away, or that it was close and they pushed it all the way by hand. To suggest a third choice, that it took eight hours because they couldn’t organise a party in a brewery, would be a cheap shot.
It was a monster, requiring furniture to be moved round, and had a pump which operated constantly, and noisily, to keep the special mattress inflated (this strikes me as a bad thing in a piece of furniture designed to facilitate sleep).
There were other faults – the main one being that it was so high I couldn’t get into it unassisted. For some reason The Great Bed of Ware comes to mind. City Hospital is currently running a campaign (End PJ Paralysis) to encourage patients to get dressed properly and get active. Strange really, considering they seemed to go out of their way to render me immobile.
I won’t mention the the list of other faults, as several of them have already come back to me as bad dreams. It’s difficult to imagine anyone being traumatised by a bed, but I promise you, on top of everything else, that bed came close to breaking my spirit.
Once I had been assisted into bed, and we had addressed various problems with adjustments things took a turn for the worse when a junior doctor arrived with a cannula. I had hoped to avoid having one but it seemed that they couldn’t get enough antibiotics into me by mouth alone. When you think of the alternatives I suppose intravenous isn’t so bad.
As usual, it didn’t go in at the first attempt and the doctor decided to try my right hand. I try to avoid the right hand as I often catch it whilst doing things. In this case, I started by bleeding on the book I was reading; this wouldn’t have happened if the cannula had been in the left hand. Second, I caught it on the cuff of my nightshirt whilst preparing to wash next morning, This resulted in a cannula that stuck out at a strange angle. I got it roughly back in position and replaced the dressing as well as I could, but it wasn’t quite right.
The rest of the day passed in a haze of boredom punctuated by random bottom inspections. Dark forces are obviously afoot in the NHS, striking back at the rising trend of patient dignity. Under the guise of skin inspections to prevent bed sores, random members of staff wander along at irregular intervals and demand to see my heels and bottom.
I may refuse to show them next time, on the grounds I am a man, not a baboon.
Finally, Julia arrived to visit and help with my liberation. The first thing she did was point to a spot by my side and say “What’s that?”
It was the cannula. I must have plucked it straight out, which couldn’t have taken much effort as I didn’t even notice.
We asked a passing nurse to dispose of it instead of leaving it lying about. She didn’t seem grateful for our help in keeping the place tidy, but maybe she was just sad at the idea of losing me.