I put up a Status Update on Facebook yesterday – “Second Tuesday in a row that sees me more down than up. Perhaps Geldorf was a day out?” This was a cryptic message which hid the fact that I’d woken up in another cold sweat, my T-shirt and bedclothes soaking AND I had “bumps” appearing on my face!
I woke Jenny with the somewhat direct message – “Bad news”; I’m not the most tactful of people as you can tell. She swung into action with magnifying glass, careful screening of the bedclothes and pronounced that “I hadn’t been bitten by cat fleas” (the cat had been on the bed the day before and that was who I was “blaming” my for my discomfort), and that she suspected that I had urticaria (hives) – an allergic reaction to something. This had to be confirmed of course by a visit to the surgery in the village even though we both spent some time on the Internet looking for likely causes and were pretty sure of what it was. I hadn’t eaten anything strange (apart from a mild chilli), but I had drunk the last of a red wine box the night before. Jenny had already drawn my attention to the chemicals that were listed on the box, and of course (as usual) I’d disregarded her advise, so I suppose I was ready to hear the pronouncements from my GP.
No red wine for you for a week (“and then it has to be a good one” – Jenny); try some anti-hystamine tablets and see if it goes. No idea about the cold sweats though! No temperature though, thank goodness.
After lunch my Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse called round to see me for the first time. AM listened patiently to my story (I even told her about this blog); looked at my wounds (pleased with them); took my bp (bit higher than earlier in the day); talked about the classes I would be attending at The Heath in early December; told me not to over exert myself (guess Jenny had nobbled her before the visit :-)) and that I had to listen to my body; but most important of all gave me some answers to some real questions that had been going around my brain.
- Q. What happens to the wire that’s keeping my breastbone together now – are there any “sharp edges” that may cause problems in the future? A. The wire is assimilated into the new bone as it grows.
- Q. I can’t feel any sensation in this part of my leg? A. That’s quite normal, the operation involves cutting a lot of nerves. These have to grow back and will take some time to do that.
- Q. When can I start using shampoo/shower gel? A. As long as you don’t apply it directly to the wounds it doesn’t matter if it “strays” on to the wounds as it’s being washed off. [NB Jenny had already purchased some E45 Shampoo, so that’s what I’ll use]
- Q. How long before I can do a long journey in the car? A. As soon as you feel you want to do it, but take breaks along the way to exercise the leg. [So I’ll be able to go and see my mother rather sooner than I suspected – that’ll be good!]
- Q. When can I sleep in a different position? A. Sorry, you’re on your back until Mr K sees you on December 1st. [That’s a drag, but I can understand why.]
- Q. Why do I get these cold sweats? A. It’s because when your operation was being done your heart was kept chilled, and then it was warmed up gradually, so your thermostat in your brain was confused and has not yet adjusted itself. It’ll work itself out, in time. [That’s good news, had begun to wonder whether there was something wrong.]
So by then end of this chat I was feeling much better. A bad start to the day had ended with some positive information. Thanks Alison!