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My Journey with NETs: Part Six

September 16, 2016

On my last visit to Sister Jane as an outpatient at Donald Gordon Medical Centre, she noticed that there was redness around the wound which felt warm to the touch, which she identified as infection, and urged me to report immediately to the hospital.
I was seen by another surgeon who was on duty in the wards, namely Dr. Sharan Rambarran. He admitted me to a ward, where he took blood and sent me for an ultrasound. On the evidence of a significantly high white blood cell count, Sharan arranged for an antibiotic drip; the ultrasound showed that I had fluid across the abdomen above and below the mesh.
Dr Anders Grotte came and looked at the wound and found that there was a weak abscess point on the skin which was about to burst, and on the recommendation of Professor Botha, he lanced this point releasing a large volume of infected fluid.
Once this had been drained, he fitted a colostomy bag to collect any residual fluid, and I continued in hospital being monitored daily still on antibiotics, and having blood taken on a regular basis. The colostomy bag was drained twice a day and the fluid carefully measured.
After three weeks of careful monitoring I was pronounced fit enough to be discharged, with a course of antibiotics to take with me. Back at Pauline and Mike’s home I continued recuperating, managing the drainage of fluid from the colostomy bag myself.
After about three days out of hospital, I started feeling nauseous, and when given supper one evening began vomiting. I retired to lie down on the bed, but soon developed a sharp pain on my right side, and continued backwards and forwards to the bathroom attempting to vomit. Through the night I experienced bad pain and eventually around 4am the next morning asked my wife to drive me back to hospital.
I was admitted in the early hours by Dr Sharon Rambarran who took blood and sent me for more scans – although the white blood cell count was up, though not as high as previously. I was put back on an antibiotic drip pending the results of the blood and urine cultures ordered.  The scans showed fluid under the mesh as well as the presence of a kidney stone in the right kidney – an urologist was called in and he arranged for me to be taken to theatre where he was able to remove the stone.
During the next two weeks I remained in hospital while they continued with the antibiotics and managed the continued drainage of fluid from the abscess point.
I was again visited by Prof Botha and his surgical team on a regular basis; in particular, Dr Anders Grotte devoted considerable time visiting me and reviewing my progress (in between long sessions in theatre with liver transplants and other liver operations he was involved with.)
Across the hospital environment I had made many friends amongst the medical staff, physiotherapists, food servers, cleaners, and the porters who tirelessly wheel patients backwards and forwards to radiology and theatre. Many of them were familiar faces back in visits in 2014 for liver surgery.
Eventually I was discharged for the last time and returned to Mike and Pauline’s home.
After visiting Sister Jane and Prof. Botha, and with their approval, we departed for Durban in early July,.
The fluid continued to drain from the abscess point and I left prepared to manage the daily dressings myself, and agreeing to visiting wound therapists in Durban on an ongoing basis.
In all we had been in Johannesburg for three months, two and a half months of which I had been in hospital.



September 6, 2016

We all have dreams and thoughts and prayers

As we approach the daily game,

Imposed on us by self alone

No, not the work of others here, who we can blame.


But is it true that I can set the very nature of my day

Exacting every ounce of blood, to push myself  beyond myself, and all for me?

But surely others set the pace, impose the rules?


But what of mood and hope and fears, and happiness (that fleeting trick)

Are these mine too to orchestrate?


Let me grasp the truth again – you say that faith is all we need, and everything I ever need I have to use?


Away with you, and take the trick – I never saw the point of it

Leave me to wrestle with my past, trusting my fear to hold me back

Lest I should fall.