A couple of weeks ago I travelled to London for my fourth ablation. I arrived a couple of days in advance. On the Wednesday I attended the hospital for a pre-op appointment. During this time I saw a specialist cardiac nurse and a consultant aneasthetist. The aneasthetist had read my notes thoroughly and was fully aware of my stay in Intensive Care last May. As a result she had taken the precautionary measure of booking me a bed on 'High Dependency'. She concluded by stating that her preference would be for me to be transferred from the recovery room to HDU for monitoring. This to me was extremely reassuring. Due to the complex nature of my heart condition my surgeon always 'blocks' out a full day for me in theatre. I am usually in theatre by around 8.30am.
Due to increase in demand in the previous year patients now have their pre-op as a day case rather than be admitted. I was asked to return to the hospital very early the following morning (7.00am). After arriving that morning I went for a shower (all patients are asked to shower ) . I then got straight into a hospital gown (far too big) and waited. The final element was signing the consent form. I was told there were two people before me, I don't know why, but that didn't particularly alarm me. It probably should have given the length of time I require in theatre.
On a different ward a friend of mine was waiting for a procedure having being admitted from an outpatient clinic. She had being waiting for several days. She had told me that her chances of a slot in theatre were high today. Again. I still didn't make the connection. I popped over to see her and learnt that she was now having her op. I was pleased for her. After about 1-2 hours I was getting a little restless , maybe it was nerves, that I hadn't yet gone to theatre. I asked one of the senior nurses what was going on... and then asked him what the chances of cancellation were. He told me that it was unlikely, as my friend's case was considered much simpler. It turns out that she was more complex than they originally thought. Her procedure took 1-2 hours longer than expected.
After another 60-90 minutes a senior consutlant came in and told me I had been CANCELLED . My heart sank. I was sooooo disappointed. My surgeon (female) came up to see me and apologised for the cancellation. She stated had I been a simple case we could have gone ahead.....but going to theatre now would mean we had a strong chance of still being there at midnight!!! Her next available slot would be 6-7 weeks....early July.
I was expecting to return to North Wales 'on the other side' and in recovery. Instead I face several weeks-months wait for another date and in many ways life is 'on hold'.
I just hope that we are not cancelled next time and that the HDU and ICU beds are available.
I am now waiting for another date.