So then we got to Thursday, with a certain amount of effort, it has to be said. Mario Kart helped and distracting people with packing, tidying, stories and stuff. Mum and Dad came and took the littler 3 away and we called the hospital to check her bed, only to be told they didn’t actually have one and could we not come till tomorrow. 🙄 Mostly this was good of course, less nights in hospital is always good, but “standing down” always feels a bit weird. Max stayed at work, Fran and i had a nice afternoon together, i went to work for a bit and then we took Fran out to dinner.
Couldn’t go to our normal favourite pub as it was full of the occupants of the 8000 (or so) motorhomes which has descended on the showground were in there. Why, i don’t know, surely the point of a mass convergence of motorhomes is to show people how cleverly you can pretend to be still at home in one? ANyway, so we went down the road to a pub we used to love but turns out to have gone badly downhill 🙁
I got breaded plaice, which was little more than deep friend fish skin served with small green bullets that was supposed to be mushy peas. Eventually i decided picking at it was pointless so went off to complain. The barman sniggered at me and called Adam, Adam wandered off past me to look for the landlady who eventually appeared, told me that plaice was supposed to have barely 2mm of white fish on it and when i pointed out the peas she asked “did you actually request mushy peas?” and when i said that it said “plaice, chips and mushy peas” on the menu, she gave me a look of disbelief and stomped off to get an menu and check i wasn’t lying. I wasn’t so she said “well, that IS what plaice looks like madam” and stomped off. No replacement meal, no apology, no offer of refund. I was horrified. Bloody awful.
Fortunately Fran and Max got good meals so i ate bits of theirs and then we left. We shan’t be going back to the Boltoph Arms Pub in Orton Longueville in Peterborough ever again on account of their shoddy food and the dreadful customer service offered by landlady downwards. And i sincerely hope that comes up on the search engines good and quick.
Up early to feed Fran her last meal at 6am (argh) and then got organised as quick as we could (not very quick). I had totally failed to sleep so was wibbly from the word go. Fran was completely calm and relaxed. Got to the hospital (multistorey carpark WITH more than enough spaces… amazing. I’ve done every hospital in a 40 mile radius Peterborough, fairly repeatedly, over the last 10 years and never seen that many carparking spaces before!) Went to the ward… immediately realised i wasn’t really gonig to be able to cope with the smell or sound of a hospital and had to manufacture a reason to go back to the car to regain equilibrium.
Fran remained totally calm. We all played Horse Show, drew Fashion Angels, played magnetic Fashion Angels, read, shopped, ate and drank behind Fran’s back and did al lthe boring hospital things that nurses always insist on asking “mum” – one of them even called me “Fran’s mum” – like i don’t have a name of my own. Tried to shirk all responsibility and get them to talk to Max but to no avail.
Max and Fran played giant Chess in the garden and she managed to draw with him a couple of times. She’s quite good! She had a bit of a strop over the magic cream on her hands (never has liked that, not even when she was 1!) but was mainly only irritated by being hungry. Luckily the operating list finally appeared and she was first (first being at 1.30pm on account of management meetings!) so then it was just a quick shuffle into a HUGE operating gown and straight off to theatre. Still not a flicker of concern.
(Amidst all this i tried and failed to take a picture of the anti germ notice for Alison… “Wash your hands. Here. Now.” It amused me.)
Max and i flipped coins for who went into the anaesthetic room and i…um… won. Again. Fran didn’t so much at flinch at the cannula (sp?) being put in although she said after that it stung and then drifted (slowly) off to sleep rabbiting on about black horses with stars on their noses. She totally undid me by turning over and pulling her arm tightly around Sam the Bear as she went, just like when she falls asleep.
I made it as far as the public area of Addenbrookes before bursting into tears just as Max was buying drinks and had to run outside and have a good weep in front of all the people on oxygen and drips having a fag outside. Probably did me good though, i’ve needed a good cry for a few months and it just doesn’t come 🙁 Finally got triggered by the tables in the cafe area being the same as the ones Max and i sat at for a very long time in another hospital though; stupid the things that can just be a final very small straw and whoops… there goes the camel 😳
They’d told us it would be a good 3 hours, so we retreated to the smallest corner we could find (outside dialysis unit 🙁 )and drank neat caffeine while both of us realised that while Fran was clearly completely prepared and ready, we were both a VERY long way from properly ready for it all. Which unfortunately meant that when they bleeped us after only 90 minutes we weren’t nearby enough and Fran had been awake and howling for us for 2-3 very long minutes.
I, of course, was convinced in that 2 minute walk back that we were being bleeped early because she’d died. I keep looking for that there retribution 🙁
Poor Fran was terribly upset; she’d woken up very violently and they’d had to hold her down and she was desperate for us to be there. She was in a lot of pain, mainly because her nose had bled quite a lot and had enormous amounts of packing in it which completely infuriated her. She couldn’t get her breath, she says now, and they were giving her oxygen because her SATS kept dropping (always we worry about SATS results!) She wasn’t in any danger, but she was distressed, both physically and mentally and it was a bit unnerving to see how closely they watched her. After a short while they decided to give her morphine, which then took ages to get and then it made the skin in her hand come up red and itchy. All a bit traumatic for her.
I think, because they just couldn’t get on top of her pain levels quick enough, she hasn’t really got over it yet. It has stuck in her mind (i have sympathies, she has been reminding me of myself post her and Josie’s birth) and so it hasn’t faded. She was in recovery for 2 hours and ended up going back to the ward still half needing oxygen, though she picked up enough right at the swap back so that she never had any once back there. But she was upset for a good while and took a long time to sleep.
Once she did, Max shooed me off to the Beans for much needed TLC which was doled out in almost equal quantities by Helen, Chris and SB (perhaps not so much by BB unless you could the sucked chocolate fish!) Darling SB had picked flowers for me and bought us all ice-cream. After much tea, sympathy and lasagne, i got some sleep – and some people didn’t.
Max rang to ask me to come back earlyish as Fran was weepy but once i got there she began to pick up and gradually got mobile (“bone harvest” really sounds so unpleasant). She played a lot of chess, beat a 12 year old boy which pleased her) and we took her for a wheel about, some lunch and some distraction therapy. I got a bit cross when her drug chart got lost between the ward and pharmacy and she had to wait an hour for painkillers that she needed because no one had a chart to tick. I don’t think, even though i understand the reasoning, that a 9 year old should have to wait an hour less than 24 hours after surgery, for a dose of calpol that both parents can categorically say she hadn’t had any of for at least 4 hours but in fact closer to 7 🙁
Bless her, i felt really sorry for the nurse, who gave me some meds to give Fran myself. It was that or leave and get some from Waitrose. Totally understand her difficulty… probably didn’t help that the lobby was full of papers saying “Addenbrookes loses 1000 patient records!!!!” that day!
Eventually escaped, after waiting for the meds, which turned out to be wrong and totally inappropriate for a 9 year old anyway so we abandoned them and just used Calpol and baby Nurofen – Fran is nowhere near ready to swallow Voltarol tablets and i wasn’t exactly reassured by the scribbled out doses on the side of the soluble paracetamol!
We got her home by putting her in Josie’s carseat so she could droop and snooze and settled her down on the sofa but hse just didn’t seem to pick up at all. We couldn’t get a smile out of her at all, nor even conversation. She barely wanted cuddles (she did eat for England though!) and just didn’t seem to engage. Not surprising i know, i felt very disconnected just with a black eye, so i can completely understand, but she was so ‘not Fran’ that we started to get a bit anxious. She and i snuggled up for The Secret Garden in bed and slept in our bed and had girly chat, but even then, she just seemed really low.
Thankfully, the return of the sisters the next day did do the trick and the sparkle has started to come back. I don’t think she’ll ever approach an op so blithely again though, i think this one has left it’s mark on her soul a bit 🙁
Still… she is quite pleased to be having nosebleeds not mouth bleeds now and is getting used to her new mouth. It must be a blooming weird feeling. Looking forward to her being a bit less bashed looking though, so we can all see the difference it has really made 🙂 I think that will make it worth it for her.