Wednesday, June 4, 2008

May 21st 2008 - Hospital Admission

This diary extract outlines my radical retropubic prostatectomy from a fly-on-the-wall perspective. It will not be to everyones taste. The idea is that other men faced with Prostate Cancer may find it helpful in considering their own options. If you find the contents distasteful or undesirable, I'm sorry for your troubles!
I have kept a notepad outlining my RP and stay in hospital and recovery afterwards. It amounts to approx. 40 pages on an A5 notepad. I hope to post each days notes.

Today, I entered St Vincent's Private Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

It was an early start. We got up at 6am, with a taxi ordered for 6:55am, bringing us in fpor the 7:30 train to Dublin. I didn't find the taxi journey to the station too bad but, getting on the train was fairly emotional - call it magnitude 1. The journey was uneventful but somewhat tense. We got another taxi to the hospital - emotional magnitude 2. Then entry into the hospital building - magnitude 3. I would have given anything just to leave. I wondered if this would be the last time I'd see the outside world. Bear in mind that I'd never been in hospital in my life, so this was traumatic in itself. The positively healthy running persona has had a bit of a culture say the least!

Not long after I arrived bloods were taken, followed by SATS, B.P. 127/79, pulse 49, wt. 11st, 11 lb (OK, I've been comfort eating for a while!)

I saw the surgeon later and he expected that the op would last 2-2.5 hours. He is carrying out a nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy and will be taking the prostate gland, the seminal vessicles and the lymph glands. I should not travel outside the country for three months. (that's the end of my plans for two weeks in portugal early in July!) PSA results should be back in 2 days, with the pathology results in three weeks. The risks include a very remote risk of bowel perforation. If this happens, I will have a temporary colostomy. He says that I WILL be incontinent and impotent after the op. Strictures - a gradual closing of the uretra over months. If thsi happens, I'm to come back to him and he will perform a minor procedure to fix the problem. I will be seeing him every day while in hospital, except the weekend, when one of his colleagues is covering.

During the evening, one of the other patients in the ward was visited by some friend, including an elderly priest. F asked if I'd like to get a blessing from a priest and I said I would. The blessing was Matthew 8:14:17

22:40 Got an enema. I lasted 9 minutes before letting go. The nurse reckons I'll be in hospital a week max.

Feeling ok, but probably overtired. Not thinking too much about tomorrow - my mind is ignoring/numbing or blocking.

Tomorrow is shitty, but its got to be done - no way round it. So, after all the fear and dread, when the event is over, its just get on with things - I've got a life to live, people who care about me and for whom I care - then the comeback will start. As I generally advise beginner runners, "Rome wasn't built in a day! Take each day at a time. Small steps = big milesones!

My biggest fear for afterwards is incontinence. that would affect the quality of many things in my everyday life.

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