Honey, I’m Home! (Escaping Hospital Hazards and Embracing Home Harmonies)

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you arrive home from a long hospital stay. Especially if there were multiple concerns about your overall health when you were admitted, or you were having major surgery.

In my case, I returned home 10 days ago from a two week hospital stay, following major surgery. I needed to have repaired a massive small intestine prolapse through my abdominal wall, and for a two in one offer, my stoma was re- sited from the left to the right side of my abdomen.

If you’d like more details on the procedure and my journey to the urgent surgery, this blog post link will fill you in….My Stoma Story Chapter Two, The Beginning of Blossom

Hospital Hazards

I’d like to say my hospital stay was uneventful, but as my health has become more complex over the years, so has each consecutive hospital admission.

When I first became a “frequent flyer” hospital patient, life was relatively simple. I took one or two pills, was generally mobile, and healed relatively quickly. Most stays were two to four days.

Fast forward to today and the picture couldn’t be anymore different. My hospital stays are always a minimum of two weeks up to six weeks. I have a medication list, managed by my pain management specialist, that could take up numerous shelves in a pharmacy. Even the nurses struggle to get the medication timing correct which all adds to the complexity of my overall care and hospital experience.

I carry so much luggage and equipment, it looks like I’m going on holiday. A wheelchair, walker, stoma supplies, and medication alone are way too much to deal with. Add in toiletries, nighties, and clothes to go home in, and you get the picture!

I am also only allowed to be discharged home nowadays if I have a “Hospital at Home” program in place. This comprises of daily nurses visting me at home, plus physiotherapist and occupational therapist support etc.

My last three hospital stays have also involved ward and room changes, not once per admission but three room/ward changes each time! The hospital is renovating and, on a rotational basis, closes wards to manage renovations and maximise roster scheduling to ensure a good nurse/patient ratio.

While I appreciate that I got better care every time I was moved, it’s always still so unsettling as you only get 30 minutes’ notice re your eviction. You suddenly feel incredibly homeless and stress levels rise no matter how calm a person you might be.

When you’re disabled physically, as I’ve pointed out earlier, you can’t travel lightly, and my husband isn’t always on hand to help pack up my room. Plus, I meticulously have to set up my room so everything is within easy reach from the bed, and I can use my grabber. My hospital room ensuite needs a toilet seat raiser, which needs to be reorganised each move, and it has to be found on the new ward, it can’t come with me……hospital policy! None of it is easy for me or hospital staff.

I’d also really like to know why on earth they always think it’s a good time to do your obs after delivering the news of your imminent move.

Oh Sam, your blood pressure is really high!”

No kidding, I wonder why that might be? Oh, the joy of hospital!!

By some wonderful miracle, my husband happened to be with me, or on the way to the hospital, for each room/ward move this time. I was just so grateful for this blessing from above.

My last room move before discharge was definitely worth it. The room was large and was like a hotel room. I would have happily stayed a few extra days just because of this room. However, the call of home is forever strong, no matter the 5-star hospital room rating.

Not only did the hospital create some “hospital hazards” but I created a few of my own this particular stay.

My first misadventure was when I flooded the ensuite and consequently the carpet in my hospital room. I can’t feel my feet, and I didn’t realise my foot was over the shower drain. The water had nowhere to go but all over the bathroom floor and out the door. Thankfully, a patient carer was making my bed at the time and saw what was happening. She came running in the bathroom to raise the alarm.

How embarrassing! They had to bring in the extractor machine to get rid of my mini flood. I felt like such a nuisance, but they assured me I wasn’t the first to flood the bathroom.

My second incident, while embarrassing, was mostly mortifying. The hospital stoma nurse had given me a new appliance bag/system to try. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I soon realised it wasn’t going to be my friend. Blossom is an active little stoma, and I awoke the first morning in my beautiful hotel style room to find I’d sprung a small, manageable leak.

Assuring myself all was well, I got to the bathroom as quickly as I could to deal with the situation. I then realised I had forgotten to get a fresh stoma bag, so I had to go back into the room to get one.

All was still under control, so I quickly put on a fresh bag. I was desperate to lie down due to surgical pain, on top of broken bone pain.

Hobbling with my walker back to my room, I saw my freshly made bed waiting for me to collapse onto. I couldn’t wait. I looked down to find my footing, and my heart sunk. There on the floor was a blob of “oops”! Clearly, my bag had been leaking a bit more than I thought.

I swung into action with disinfectant wipes (I never travel without them), and with my grabber holding the wipe, I scrubbed the floor like there was no tomorrow. I placed a bluey over the offending piece of carpet and reluctantly buzzed the nurse.

“I’m so sorry, I’ve had a bit of a mishap.”

The nurse couldn’t have been more understanding, assuring me I was the best “patient” cleaner they’d ever had, and they would fix it from there.

And so I was yet again reacquainted with the very noisy extractor machine, heralding the fact someone had experienced an “oops” situation! How embarrassing 😳.

The Harmony of Healing At Home

After dealing with a post surgical infection, my specialists were not too keen to send me home in a hurry. They could see the advantage of me getting more rest at home, having reduced risk of infection, and managing my pain meds better. Having arranged for nurses to visit me at home daily, to monitor my recovery and wounds, etc, finally gave them peace of mind to discharge me.

Coming home was and is bliss. I can make a cuppa when I want one, eat when I want to, or need to. Sleep whenever my body decides it can’t stay awake. I can shower when I want to, and I can take my pain medication on time, every time ensuring my pain levels don’t spiral.

There is no beeping at night, no being woken from a deep sleep to have my blood pressure taken, and a thermometer stuck down my throat.

I can watch a movie or TV show uninterrupted.

I can choose meals that are stoma friendly. I can go outside and smell the roses.

But above all, I can be with my husband and hold his hand all night as we sleep. If I can’t sleep, I can lie in bed knowing he is just beside me. His gentle breathing and even his snoring is so comforting. I count every moment together as a gift.

Life is short. It’s precious, and it’s fragile while being incredibly resilient and strong. My home is my safe place, and I’m convinced because I love it, and I love my husband, it’s the place that helps me heal in a way I never do in hospital.

I’ve had a few hiccups with a virus, causing me to lose my voice and have terrible mouth ulcers. I’ve had sleepless nights from pain and my stoma is healing slowly on one side due to separation complications, but each of these issues have been easier to manage at home and I feel I’ve now turned the corner in terms of my recovery.

I am heading in the right direction, and even though I have a long road ahead, I can feel that sense of healing harmony.

Love, Sam xx

Medical Musings with Friends

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10 thoughts on “Honey, I’m Home! (Escaping Hospital Hazards and Embracing Home Harmonies)

  1. Dear Dear Sam, thank you so very much for the update. I thank God you are home with Peter, and my prayers continue thanking God for your peace and greater comfort at being home, and for continued healing and, please God, no more “hiccups” in your journey! You are an amazing child of God, and a blessing to all who know you🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕🙏🏻💕🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You really have been through a hell of a lot in one surgery. Do you mind my asking how the small bowel prolapse (hernia?) was repaired? In the UK, it all seem to be mesh but I know mesh-free ways are possible too. I really hope you get on okay with the stoma on the other side. I was told if mine has to be redone again it’ll likely need to be moved to the left and I said “no, I’m right handed & I struggle enough with it on the right!” 😆

    The regular room changes sound like enough to give you travel sickness. Do you tend to have open wards there, with several beds in one room and a curtain around (like in the UK) or your own individual rooms? It’s a shame you couldn’t have had the last room you were in for the duration! Sorry to be nosy, I’m curious what the experience is like but it’s good to hear you got better care after each move.

    Hahahaha Sam, you rebel. I know your foot was on that drain on purpose, you just wanted to see if you could be let out early, like pulling the fire alarm in school 😉

    As for the stoma leaking, I get the mortifying horror when it happens but it’s so good the nurse was so responsive and kind about it. I had a nurse once come to empty my bag when I was in bed because I couldn’t get up. The bag had filled dramatically with the bowel meds I had to take and the nurse was just going to pull the bag open – I said “nooooo, please don’t”, I tried to move up a bit because I knew what was going to happen. I said I’d do it, she said “I’ve got it!” I said “could you please pull it down, not up?” Nope. She pulled it up and opened it, and it went everywhere. Everywhere. She left me in it all too. I was trying to get my antibacterial wipes to clean as much as possible but I was just left. It went all over my trousers (patients are pushed to put their normal clothes back on as soon as possible as part of the plan to kick patients out more quickly). The next day, I’d had enough because of some other issues there and discharged myself early. Still nobody would help me, I was so embarrassed, and I had no trousers. The lady at reception eventually took pity in the fact I was about to leave the hospital in my underwear, and gave me some scrubs for trousers. Not sure that makes you feel any better about your latest incident but I think stomas are meant to be challenging just to keep us on our toes! It never seems to get less embarrassing though.

    I’m glad there’s the Hospital at Home program because that sounds like such a good, supportive idea. Exhausting, but a reassuring thing to have in place.

    Anyway, I’ll leave my comment there as I’m sure it has sent you to sleep! I’m so glad you’re on the right track and I realise it’s going to be incredibly difficult for a while to get back to some degree of ‘normality’ and your baseline, but you got this. Enjoy the home comforts and rest up. We loves you, Sam! 🙏💜💜💜🙏

    Caz xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Caz, so lovely to hear from you. I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how you are?

    My Surgeon didn’t use mesh this time as he was concerned about infection complications. My understanding is he has just stitched me together with internal and external stitches. I have a phone catchup with him tomorrow and will be asking more about this.

    I’m coping really well with my new stoma on the right side. I’m right handed too so maybe that’s why it’s ok. I do keep feeling like my old stoma is still on the left side though. It’s a weird phantom type feeling. I also feel like stool is going to pass through that side too. It obviously can’t but it’s a disconcerting feeling.

    Hospital rooms are eithet private or shared. What you’ve described are the same as our shared hospital rooms. They have either 2, 4 or 6 heds in them, each in a curtained cubicle and they share the room ensuite.

    I’m a private patient, ( I have private health insurance) so I always have a private room with my own ensuite.

    Oh my goodness, your hospital stoma story is just awful. The lack of care for you breaks my heart. I’m not surprised you discharged yourself. I would have done the same!!

    Thanks for sharing Caz. Love you xx 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So funny, I think that the last time I heard of someone with a 2 week hospital stay in the US was there because he was unconscious. They discharged him while unconscious to an extended stay facility. Surprisingly he woke up 20 days later and asked what had happened. My wife and sisters agreed that they would not tell him what day it was for another month. It was crazy the date of the day was on the door, they brought him forward 2days for one. Sort of nuts for certain.

    I agree with you 100% hospitals are not a good place for sick people. My dad used to joke that about 70% of people who die in America, do so in the hospital. My dad’s take, stay the heck out of hospitals. I am positive he is right. 🙂

    Welcome home, please take care the worst is over, but thinking the worst is really the worst, well that is like saying car crashed into the wall and the driver survived. He is at the hospital now Whew, the worst is over.

    I am guessing not.


  5. Oh Sam, what a time you’ve had. I’m glad you’re home and hopefully, you’ll recover better at home in your own bed and with your lovely Peter by your side.
    Sometimes we need to laugh off those things, don’t we. If it makes you feel any better, I also flooded a hospital bathroom once. I was trying to adjust the temp and the tap thing came off in my hand. Water rushed out horizontally! I couldn’t get it back on and had to quickly put on my wet dressing gown and go to the nurses station to tell them. One of them went in to fix it and got soaked. That was really embarrassing. I never had another shower in there after that.

    Please take care of yourself. I know it probably seems like a long slow journey, but you’ll get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you made it home to recover from the surgery. And your stories are always raw and refreshing and helps me to see things are what they are and to get on with it. I hope you continue to heal up well and comfortably as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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