Dedication of my nurse & new dressings

Eleven months ago I switched from nasogastric tube feeding to gastrostomy tube.  After a lengthy stay and several other stays in hospital with complications, sepsis and months of continual leakage.  It is apparent that the surrounding area is never going to totally heal.  The health professionals have tried their best.  I am lucky to have such a dedicated team. We have tried many different creams, ointments and dressings.  My tummy at times resembles an active volcano and erupts a molten lava of gastric fluid leaving my skin red raw, blistered and very sore.  After the trial and error of creams the best one and the one to stay is the cavilon lollipops.  They act as a barrier, and its a wonderful life saver I can tell you.  As for the dressings, well many have been tried and tested.  At one point I looked like I had been shot.  I was covered from my breasts to my waist.  The nurse on the ward thought it best to keep it all sealed.  This didn’t work, after several dressings later, we realised I am allergic to micropore, elastoplast,  dressings, and good old fashioned crepe bandage.  The dressing that worked was the foam dressing.  A hole was cut in the dressing and it was wrapped round my peg.  The only trouble with this is the amount I leak out.  The dressing takes the leakage but after a time it starts to sit on the dressing and then build up on my tummy.



My nurse, Evelyn, that comes in and changes my dressing at home noticed this.  Evelyn is a dog with a bone.  One day she came in with a booklet and a different dressing.

Do you fancy giving this a go?  She asked me. Can only give it a try was my answer.

So she sat me down and we went through the booklet together, she demonstrated how she was folding the dressing and how she was going to apply  it.    This dressing is designed to absorb the leakage.  And guess what – it does it so well 🙂   I have even noticed a reduction in the odour.  The combination of the barrier and the new dressings, my skin is much improved.   Its far from perfect and it will always leak.  But with the perseverance of Evelyn on the look out for a more suitable dressing life has become more bearable and a tad less painful.  Cant see me  shifting from the Keramax dressings in a hurry.  And as for my nurse well she is a star.

25 October 2015 – Blue light back to the hospital

The paramedics have me safely in the ambulance – we will have you there in no time toots, I hear.  ” just for you, I will out the blue light on, and his nibs, may press the nee naw button on the odd occasion”



I can hear lots of voices, familiar machine noises.  A kind voice calls my name.  I open my eyes and realise already I’m in the accident and emergency department.  We are going to put some monitors on you to trace your heart, put a cannula in to take blood.  Is this okay?  I nodded.  ECG done, blood tests taken.  They decided to leave the finger sats monitor on.   Everything seems to be getting done very quickly and there are a lot of staff around me.  Subcut morphine getting injected into me for the pain.  “We are just going to wheel you round to another room Elizabeth” as I’m getting wheeled round I see Steve catching up with us – oh boy am I glad to see him.   A feeling of terror fills my body, my heart starts thumping, everything was out of my control.  Steve’s gentle touch gave me the assurance I needed.

Parked in the bay, the nurse lifts my top, takes my obs once more, and gives me yet more morphine.  A doctor comes in, examines me.  Then the nurse starts some of the clean up process on my stomach,  I can only describe it like an overflowing septic tank.  The stench was awful, what was coming out of the infected peg site resembled a newborn baby’s first nappy.  The nurse used swabs and started to soak up the pus that was oozing out.  My stomach was making horrendous rumbling noises.  The pus was flowing and flowing and then erupted it somewhat resembled a geyser in ice. I felt the need to apologise for what was excreting out of my body.   When I did apologise the nurse would return with a comment such as ‘it’s fine Elizabeth,  and we’ve got to get all this out”  not once did she gag, make a face or give any inclination she was dealing with a foul smelling leakage – which helped a lot.

A young man dressed in a familiar uniform asked to wheel me along for a tummy X-ray.  He got me into the room and put the trolley parallel to the X-ray bed, with all the will in the world I could not get from one to the other.  The pain was excruciating.  He assured me he could bring the X-ray above me.  And so he did.

More cleaning, obs, yet more morphine; Steve tells the nurse he gave me morphine just before the ambulance left, and the nurse gave me morphine as soon as I got to hospital and then again when they started cleaning the pus.  The nurse explained to Steve I am in excruciating pain and need this quantity of morphine.  Im ready to get transferred to surgical observation unit.

Twenty minutes in the unit and the surgeon who did my surgery, Mr Paterson-brown was at my bedside.  Boy was I glad to see him.    The unit has a treatment room.  Mr Paterson-brown  acted Immediately.  He explained everything in detail to Steve an me: what he was going to do and how he was going to do it.  He used forceps to cut the flange of my peg to release it, this would let the horrid pus, infection escape out of the wound easily, he redressed it and. Told the nurses how to take care of me.    He arranged for me to get intravenous antibiotics and get transferred to the surgical ward.   The infection had got hold of me – my temp had gone up to 39.4 and I was feeling awful – septicaemia wasn’t a good feeling.   I found the world kept coming and going.  I was there but I wasn’t if you know what I mean.  Looking back it’s like a dream.  I got wheeled back to the ward of the surgical observation unit for the morning.  Then it was decided I needed a stay in hospital to get me better.  This would be a transfer to the surgical ward upstairs.  “Get you up to the ward, put you on some IV antibiotics, see the dietician, get your temp down, dressings done, etc – we will look after you” I hear Mr Simon Paterson-Browon say.  “How long will I be in hospital for?” I ask.  He looks at me and gives me one of his lovely smiles, that I’m sure makes many a nurse swoom, he pats my knee and gently says “we will get you to the ward and take every day as it comes I think, is this ok with you?” I nodded.  If anyone was going to fix this mess I had my money on it being Mr Simon Paterson-Brown.