After my MPFL Reconstruction surgery was cancelled on the day on Wednesday 26th February, it was rescheduled for the Wednesday just gone (04/03).
Due to being high risk and having a plan that had to be implemented before my surgery, on Tuesday my carer and I once again made the journey over to St. George’s Hospital (which is a bit of a nightmare to get to) ready to be admitted again. Of course despite talking to the Trauma & Orthopaedic Service Manager and the Bed Manager before leaving home, I arrived at the ward as instructed to find that, once again, no one was expecting me. After getting past the confusion, a bed was finally allocated, albeit in a bay with mostly elderly, dementia patients which I found very difficult, particularly given what I went through last week and with the surgery still to face.
On Tuesday evening, both the anaesthetist and one of the surgical team came to see me and gave myself and my Dad faith that everything would finally go ahead this time. My leg was marked up and ready once again, and I was told that due to the risks my case posed I would be first on the list.
My Mum & Dad left home at 0600AM on the Wednesday to be there with me, and then we waited for me to be collected for theatre. Due to being off of my feed and because of my Gastroparesis, my blood sugars had been fluctuating so I had constant IV Glucose to help stabilise them. It took until around 1030AM when the service manager came to see me saying that, despite it being booked, once again there was an issue getting an ICU bed due to emergencies that had come in and, understandably, were in a situation where they needed the bed more than me who needed it as a precaution after an ‘elective’ operation, albeit one to help improve my quality of life. The service manager was to go and continue to fight for a bed and would come back to us ASAP once she knew what beds would potentially come available as people were discharged or able to be stepped down from ICU onto a regular ward.
The wait was agonising; I think deep down I expected the worst although I was hoping beyond hope that the surgery would happen as the mental toll the first cancellation had on me was beyond what I can put into words. The service manager came back and, once again, it was bad news. There was no ICU bed – emergencies had come in who needed them and so there wasn’t one for me to go to after my operation therefore it was cancelled for a second time. I literally begged for anything to be done, the surgeon had even kindly offered to stay into the afternoon to operate then despite her only having a morning list if a bed became available, but we were told there was absolutely zero chance of that happening. I then asked if they’d do the surgery without the ICU bed if I was happy to do so, but, as I expected, I was told no as it was stated in black and white from the high risk clinic that I attended that an ‘ICU bed was essential’, and so the anaesthetist and surgeon couldn’t go against this instruction.
To be honest I just had, and still now have, no words. Nothing can describe the crushing feeling after getting psyched up for a surgery, the anaesthetic, the potential risks, pain, recovery and having to stay in the night before for it just to be cancelled on the day – and all of this for a second time. The thing is, I just don’t see a way out. My surgeon is very specialist and doesn’t practice at any other hospitals, however St. George’s is a major trauma centre and so I feel there will always be a patient who needs an ICU bed more than me having an elective surgery which can be postponed compared to someone with life threatening injuries.
I’m now back home after my second failed attempt at this surgery waiting for another date. I hope and pray with everything I have that it’ll be third time lucky, but who know’s? After the last couple of weeks, words just fail me…