Previously… I would embark on a new and challenging journey of recovery – riddled with medical complications. As I was accepting my new reality, I would also endure the pain of being alive.

I was transferred to a communal room in Ward 4 after the medical team reviewed my progress during my 1-day stay at the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) on Sunday. I still had my Darth Vadar mask and cabling attached to my body, but psychologically, the move away from the ICU to another ward instilled a growing sense of confidence and my journey to recovery.

I was fortunate to have 2 nurses assigned to me during my transition, as my body was still tender and broken. I even remember one of the night calls that I made to renew my morphine canister that the elder nurse had ‘blessed’ over my future and that I would get through this bump and be back on my two feet. I remember squeezing her hands with the limited strength I could muster and I thanked her younger colleague who worked diligently during the late Sunday shift. The progress of my recovery moved forward when I no longer needed the oxygen mask and the morphine canister.

I remember staying in the communal ward for several days. I developed some complication as my stomach was shutting down. I was vomiting bile and the walls of my stomach was weak as a result. Even though I was no longer sporting the mega bandage that was covering my stitches, my abdomen appeared swollen and tight, which made it difficult to fully exhale deep breaths. Dr K had prescribed a special pill that would stop the vomiting, but as with all magic pills – there would be a side effect for something else. Fortunately, I never developed any side effects from the pill and I felt like I was on the mend.

Toward the end of the first week in hospital, I was moved to Ward 5 to a private room and I hardly seen Dr K afterward. The move to a private room was a real benefit, as I struggled to sleep in the main communal wards. By this time, I had fewer cables attached to me. I recall being cabled to IV drips and I still had a catheter tube. However, I realised that my catheter tube felt blocked. I could feel my bladder balloon inside.

For those who know me personally, I appear calm, cool and collective. When I was moved to Ward 5, I felt a sense of abandonment, as I was unassigned a doctor. Eventually, I was assigned a new consultant to whom I shall refer as Dr Andrew.

Little did I know that I had to improvise for attention, as I was concerned about the catheter tube and my bladder filling inside. I grew concerned due to the lack of fluids that was funnelling down the bag. As much as I hate causing a public scene, I deliberately relieved myself behind the door of my private room.

What I wanted to achieve had worked, as Dr Andrew was summoned within 30 minutes. He asked a nurse to reinstall the catheter tube so that I could take a literal piss once more (and more importantly, for them to monitor my outgoing liquids for any signs of infections and liquid intake). I was obviously emotionally distraught, as I don’t cause public scenes and it’s out of my character. I even apologised to the nurses on duty who had to fix me up and mop up the mess.

The next hurdle that I faced was seeing my abdominal stitches being removed, as it was up to 7-10 days since my open surgery. The medical team would then examine the tissues surrounding my Mask of Zorro operation.

~Richard

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