What can I tell you about the Radical
Prostatecomy? Extremely little, I arrived with prostate cancer and
five days later I left without prostate cancer and my prostate gland.
The operation had been postponed to allow me, Patricia and two
teenage girls to have our booked holiday in Teneriffe. The girls gave
me more to be concerned about than a mere cancer operation.
But now I was in hospital, I had been
informed about what was going to happen and the thoughts of an
epidural and the insertion of a catheter was causing a steep climb in
What happened next? I remember being
wheeled down to the theatre and then a period of fading in and out of
reality back on the ward. With my eyes closed there were black
creatures crawling over the ceiling and hovering over the bed, with
my eyes open they converted into hospital staff moving about the
ward. I eventually stabilised and became more focused with my
A patient in the bed opposite said
that everybody had been kept awake all night as staff seemed to be
very concerned about my condition. Evidently I had lost more blood
than I should have done and they were putting it back throughout the
night, but let's face it. I knew nothing about it. In fact my
anxieties about what I would be going through between arrival and
departure were totally unfounded. Before going to the theatre I was
not at ease about the thought of an epidural and the insertion of a
catheter, when I awoke I suppose I had had the epidural and I found
the catheter was in place, my fear then switched to its removal.
Visitors came, visitors went, the days
were long but the rest and recovery was needed.
A guy of thirty-five moved into the bed
next to mine, he had had the same removal of the prostate gland
operation as I had had. It turned out that his father had died two
months earlier and so he had been checked out and diagnosed as having
the cancer in its early stages. His choice had been to have the gland
The day came when I was told I could go
home as long as there was no problems when the catheter was removed.
I winced at the thought.
The nurse came, she told me to relax
and breath steadily, a steady pull and it was out in a couple of
seconds. Not a nice experience but it was not painful
I was given three urine bottles and was
told I could go home after I had used all three.
A little while later, job completed and
I was ready for discharge.
I have only praise for the way I was
kept informed, advised and treated right through from diagnosis to
discharge both at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and the Sheffield
There were two situations on discharge
that may benefit from closer scrutiny to save the discharged patient
from embarrassment or inconvenience
Firstly, after using the three urine
bottles, before being discharged I was asked if I was having any
trouble holding my water (was I leaking). Considering I had only just
had the catheter removed and then told to use the three bottles I had
not had enough time to answer that question. Considering that that
question was being asked in order to decide on whether to issue
incontinence pads or not, by saying I had had no problem I left
hospital without any, only later to realise I did need them. Luckily,
Patricia still had a quantity of pads left over from her late
husband's treatment, which I made use of.
Secondly I believe there had been a
transfer of responsibilities between NHS Doncaster and NHS Sheffield
in the handling of cancer cases. The Doncaster District Nurse was
unsure as to her role in my care as she had been told to refer any
problems I might have to Sheffield. This situation was never put to
the test as apart from the requirement of pads I never had any other
problems, but the pad situation continued. I requested pads from the
district nurse. A few days later the nurse brought me three different
types and sizes and told me to order the type and size I required.
This I did, and I was told I should receive them within five weeks.
By the time they came I did not need them.
This happened in 2007, I hope patients
are no longer being put in this position.
With a PSA level of 0.04 I am clear of cancer and my PSA tests have been reduced from quarterly to annually.
See next week what my partner Patricia and I are doing to raise awareness of prostate cancer symptoms.