Remember those troublesome chest lines? Since number 2 was fitted it just didn’t want to heal up nicely, constantly red and pussy, not ideal on your right boob. 😕
I was always aware of it, throbbing away. I was sure it would heal up soon. I’d had regular swabs of the site and one had come back positive for a nasty bug whose name was long and escapes me. They thought it would heal ok and my body would fight the infection by itself.
All was going quite well, I had tickets to see my beloved Bryan Adam’s at Wembley arena with my daughter Emily at the end of February. We had the Hilton booked and we were going to make a couple of days of it. It was in between dialysis days so as long as I left early Thursday to get back from London to Frome all would work out well. I really enjoyed the concert, BA as always was amazing and we had row 12 seats! 👌
We got back to the hotel room and got ready to go to sleep, I got into bed and started to feel like I was burning up, I often sleep warm in hotel rooms so put it down to a hot room and cranked the AC up, still I was burning up all night. The following day we left Wembley and headed back to Frome where I could dialyze. I will still buzzing from the concert and felt a little better.
The following day was Friday, one of my days at work now I was part time, I was feeling out of sorts all day, bit giddy, tired, but put it down to partying with Bryan, I’m not as young as I used to be you know!!
I was determined to make it until the end of my shift as I had more exciting plans! I was going to see Limehouse Lizzy with Sharon my bestie and Darin at the Cheese and Grain in Frome. I was determined not to miss it, I’d had my ticket for ages and having seen the Limehouse boys many times and become friends with Wayne and Greg I wasnt going to miss this for the world! I cashed up the till at work and went up to the office to finish off my duties. Nicks wife Mel came in while I was having a sit down, I’d come over hot and clammy and dizzy. She remarked I didn’t look too well, me being me, shook it off and got up and carried on.
I was leaving Route 2 to head straight to Frome to meet Sharon and Darin for a night of singing and dancing to the best of Thin Lizzy.
Had a good catch up before the show with them and told them where I was up to with treatment. I was driving home so no drinkies, but I felt like I’d been on the lash all night, proper woozy. Waiting for the band to come on I was feeling a bit wobbly on my feet.
The boys came on stage and they as usual gave us a great show, we were right at the front, always lovely to get a cheeky wink from front man Wayne. A couple of songs in and I was feeling rough as anything, a bit sick and a bit giddy again.
I can’t even remember what song Wayne was singing when everything started to go black, Darin must have seen I was going to go down and caught me and took me to the side to sit down. So embarrassing! Sat on the chair thinking I was going to throw up but trying to put a brave face on it because people were looking at me. I’d feel better in a minute I was sure, but every time I tried to stand up I felt giddy again. I sat the rest of the set out and after the show Wayne and Greg came over to see us and check I was ok.
Got hugs and kisses from the band and went away happy.
I went back with Sharon and Darin that night and left my car in the Cheese and Grain car park in Frome, I was due back there the next day to the hospital to dialyze so I’d get a lift and then drive my car back after my session.
Got home and went to bed, just couldn’t get warm, I shook with cold all night but my body was sweating at the same time. I thought I had a chill.
The following morning I got up and washed and dressed, then was sick.
They have a isolation room at the dialysis unit in Frome… so I thought as I must have a bit of a stomach bug, I would ring the unit so that they could set me up in the side room as not to spread my bug around to the other patients.
When I rang and explained how I was feeling they told me not to come to dialysis but to go straight to the ED in Bath, they thought I had an infection.
So off I went to Bath, Frome had called them to let them know I was coming to save me the long wait. They admitted me straight away and took bloods, I was getting used to feeling like a human pin cushion by now. I thought that they would possibly give me a dose of IV antibiotics and send me home with a course of oral antibiotics.
I had been waiting in the cubicle for probably 4 hours or so when the Doctor came to see me, I had a raging infection in my chest line and it was serious. Serious enough to be moved to Southmead. I had to wait for an ambulance.
They moved me up to a ward while I was waiting to be transferred and Steve brought Emily and Luke over to see me before I was transferred. I had something to eat but brought it straight back up, I felt like poo!
It wasn’t until 7.30pm that evening the ambulance crew arrived to get me, I’d almost resigned myself to a night at the RUH. So off I went to Bristol, again throwing up all the way. I was so sick that they stopped the ambulance half way and opened the side doors for me to get some fresh air. I can’t thank them enough for looking after me so well.
Arriving in Southmead I was taken straight up to 8b the renal ward, somewhere I was familiar with. I was given a lovely little side room all to myself, how fab I thought.
I thought they would put me straight onto dialysis as I had missed my session in Frome that afternoon, but it was late and they wanted the Doctor to check out my chest line in the morning and take it from there, they gave me a new cannula and another dose of IV antibiotics.
I settled in for the night and felt chuffed to have a private room, little did I know I wouldn’t have a decent nights sleep the entire time I was in there. Who should still be in but the screaming lady I had encountered when I was in before Christmas. She had been in long term and yelled all night. She was in the room just along from me and even with my door shut I could hear her screaming for someone to “help me” all damn night.
I came close to murderous feelings that week I can tell you, I imagined smothering her with a pillow.
The following day I saw the Doc and he said that I had a serious infection that would require a week of IV antibiotics and then a further three weeks orally if I was well enough to go home. They wanted to take the infected line out the next day on the Monday and wanted to leave me line free for 24 hours before they fitted a new one to reduce the risk of re-infecting the new line.
They would dialyze me today as I’d missed yesterday’s session.
I must admit the next couple of days were a bit of a blur, lack of sleep from the screamer and generally feeling poorly, I felt ill and tired all the time. I didn’t move from my bed let alone my room. I had no visitors and felt very sorry for myself and sad.
I remember one lunch time, I think it was the Tuesday, my phone rang and it was Helen my Sister, I was obviously not making much sense on the phone and got emotional when I heard her voice. She got off the phone, left her work and drove to be with me.
I didn’t know she was coming, I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my life. I’d not had the line removed the day before, I can’t remember why exactly, I think to let the antibiotics get into my system. So I today was the day, but because some of my blood levels were very high they didn’t want to leave me 24 hours without the line unable to dialyze, they wanted to remove the infected one and fit another straight away.
Now I knew how painful it was to have the previous one fitted and that wasn’t into a very sore and pussy boob. Now they wanted to take one out and fit a new one into my already very sore tit. I was scared. Helen sat with me until they came to take me to the procedure room. She said she would wait for me to come back.
Off I went, I’d had this done before and I knew what to expect this time, that didn’t help one bit. I knew it was going to hurt.
They inject you into the chest with local anesthetic so I was awake with a heavy sheet over my head, just a little hole over my boob where they would be working.
The line coming out was painful but then putting another in straight away was horrible, I cried and cried while the nurse held my hand. It seemed to go on forever, but I was only in there for just over an hour. They took me back to my room and I felt butchered. Helen played me relaxing melodies on her phone and stroked my hair until I nodded off.
She was my guardian angel that day. I am so glad I wasn’t alone.
New line fitted and back on dialysis normally for the rest of the week.
They took me down to x-ray after Helen had left later that evening to make sure the new line was fitted properly and in the right place. All was good, I would go back to my room and wait for my dialysis machine to arrive and they hook me up.
I waited and waited… finally at almost 10pm they came to hook me up for 4 hours of dialysis, just when I was getting settled to try and sleep before screaming lady got going.
I popped on my headphones and listened to Bryan’s new album Shine a Light on repeat for 4 hours. They disconnected me a just after 2am and I was left to sleep. I had to go to the loo, so a bit wobbly on my feet I got up and went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth, screaming lady was well under way by now and my room door had been left open. I went to shut it. I stepped out into the corridor took the door handle and promptly fell down in a heap on the floor. I led there for a minute or so, not thinking I was capable of getting up, then I heard the alarm bell go off, I had been spotted flopping around on the floor! Three or four nurses came to my assistance, I felt sick and threw up on myself and they shone a torch in my eyes and asked if I had banged my head.
I assured them I was fine, and just wanted to get back into bed and sleep, but because I’d fallen they woke me every hour for the rest of the night to check my obs!
I had to stay in for the rest of that week having IV antibiotics every 4 hours and dialyzing every other day. I was so relieved when they told me I could go home, it had been a very long and traumatic week. I had thought I was invincible but now I knew I had to listen to my body and other people when they would tell me I wasn’t looking too well.
When you have been used to doing so much, finding out that you can’t do the simple things is frustrating.
So in the last 14 weeks I had three chest lines fitted, all traumatic and I was determined I wasn’t going to need another.
My PD operation was booked for the end of March and I would be having a catheter fitted to dialyze at home.
Bye Bye chest line and hello to sleeping at night without a bra on, I couldn’t wait!