Once again I am home alone whilst Hywel is on a hospital operating table. He had such a good week following the Tenovus Ball we were starting to look forward again and daring to think about going away for a short break not too far from home. Hywel has managed to get his tube feeds up to four a day, has eaten a little bit of soft food and enjoyed cups of tea now his taste improves whilst the effects of the first infusion of chemo wears off. On Saturday we went out in the morning for a drive in the new car Hywel has treated himself to, and his daughter Carly came over at lunch time to spend some time with us. Hywel had some soup and I made Elliott hotdogs. I used the small tinned hotdogs that are soft and mushy and asked Hywel if he wanted to try a bit of one. He had a really tiny piece which he chewed really well before swallowing, but it got stuck so he spent the next half an hour wretching, trying to eject it from his throat. Then all afternoon he felt as if something was stuck, and if he tried to drink anything he was just bringing it up again. After this had been going on for a couple of hours Carly and I suggested it might be an idea to go to A&E to see if they could help him dislodge it. Hywel was adamant he wasn’t going there as he would be surrounded by loads of illness and infection right in the middle of his chemo session.
By 6pm the situation hadn’t improved so I persuaded Hywel to let me at least make a phone call to let A&E know his concerns to see if he could avoid the waiting area. One of the Doctors said they would try to see Hywel quickly - as long as no major traumas came in in the meantime - but that even though there was a risk of infection it was important for him to be seen.
We got to A&E around 7pm and there were only five people in the waiting area. We were amazed - during my last couple of visits with Elliott the waiting area has been packed and we have spent four or five hours there. We speculated that everyone was out celebrating Wales’ victory over Italy in the rugby and Saturday night TV was keeping people away. We were seen very quickly and Hywel was referred to the ENT ward. He was put in a bed and given muscle relaxing injections and some Diazepam to try and relax him more. He was angry and upset that yet again he was facing another set back. He'd made plans to go out with some friends to an exhibition in Worcester the next day and he would now miss out and be spending more time in hospital. He was angry with me because I had given him the food which caused the problem, and he wished he'd just stuck to soup and liquids and accepted that that was all he could manage. He had been eating a bit of mash potato with corned beef and gravy a week or so ago so we had thought a soft hotdog sausage would be a similar consistency.
The buscopan injection didn’t make any difference, he could still feel the blockage and he couldn’t swallow any water. He was admitted and told the injections would be tried again in the morning and a decision made from there.
I asked my friend June to sit with Elliott when I realised we were going to be a while, she then stayed on so I could take an overnight bag back to the hospital. It was 11pm by the time I returned and it took me twenty minutes to find a way in! I dropped the stuff off and left after a quick chat with nurse practitioner who told me it was likely Hywel would need surgery to remove the blockage.
Hywel was less angry the next day but exhausted by all the wretching and not being able to clear his throat. They had tried the injections again in the morning but to no avail. His consultant spoke to me in the afternoon as he was on call that weekend and said he still hoped that the food might dislodge itself but that Hywel was on the morning list for surgery if it didn’t.
I sat with Hywel through visiting in the evening. He told me all he wants is for the surgeons to stretch things enough for him to be able to share a cup of tea with me when we drive down to Ogmore to sit by the sea. He will use his feeding tube as much as he can and stick to just soup. I spoke to Hywel at 9am this morning and he was gowned up and waiting to go down. It is now 11.30am and I am waiting for a call to tell me how it went. I’ve tried ringing the ward a few times but haven’t got an answer yet. Will let you know how it goes.