I was finally discharged this afternoon.
My consultant and the nursing staff couldn’t see any reason to keep me in hospital any longer, but struggled somewhat with the logistics. Essentially the Bank Holiday weekend meant that large parts of the non-emergency hospital facilities were closed, including the stoma care people who in theory needed to sign me off as being capable of self-management, and the pharmacy who needed to supply me with drugs.
In practice, having already spent 6 months with an ileostomy, I can cope just fine. Not only can I cope with emptying the bags, but I can cut the blank flanges to size and shape and fit the bags myself with no issues whatsoever. In fact, with the latest (updated) design of ileostomy bag, it’s now even easier than it used to be. The new flange design fits much more securely than the older design I was used to. Changing a couple of bags under the supervision of the nurses at least allowed them to be confident that I was competent.
I thought that the pharmacy might prove more of an issue, but in practice, it wasn’t. The drugs that I needed were almost all ones that I already have access to – paracetamol for pain relief and loperamide to help slow my digestion. The one difficulty was that I’ve been put on a months course of antibiotics, but the ward staff were happy to let me have enough antibiotics to “tide me over” until the hospital pharmacy reopens tomorrow.
So in the end, the choice was given to me; I could discharge myself (with my consultant and the nursing staff’s blessing) or stay overnight another night, and in all likelihood be discharged tomorrow. Which made for an easy decision.
In practice however, having got home, I was exhausted and pretty much immediately went back to bed. But at least it was my bed!