(Excess fluid in the scrotum)

 I have had a hydrocele for about 20 years, and never had a problem until the beginning of 2001. It then got quite extended and after an ultra sound scan, I had it drained - (half a pint of fluid was removed!). The scan showed no abnormalities in the testes, and the specialist's examination confirmed this.

A year later, I arranged to have it drained again. I expected it to be routine, but as I write under, it was not.

Friday, 19 July 2002. After having recovered from the depression generated by the diabetes, cholesterol, and blocked blood vessels in the neck diagnoses, I get yet more bad news! I was at the hospital yesterday having my hydrocele drained. Thought it would be a routine job, but there were two problems. There was blood in the fluid drained from the scrotum, and the right testicle did not seem quite right. So, I have decided to have the operation to sort out the hydrocele, and to have another ultrasound scan to check out the testicle. Keep my fingers crossed! If the scan shows an abnormality, it will mean I will have to go straight in and get it sorted.
I see the counsellor in two weeks time, and had decided to make it the last visit, as I have been feeling fine. Now I'm not sure whether to keep going or not. I'm certainly not feeling my best at the moment!

Friday, 02 August 2002. I had an ultra sound scan on the scrotum yesterday. The left testicle is OK, but the right one has small cysts and adhesions. The good news is that it is unlikely that the testicle is cancerous. The scrotum has to be re-sectioned to cure the hydrocele, so it is likely that the left testicle will be removed at the same time. I asked the doctor, "Will I be able to start a family?" He said that if I wanted to, it would be OK!

Tuesday, 29 October 2002. It is now exactly two weeks, to the hour, when I had the operation to resection the scrotum on 15th October. The surgeon, Mr Lewes did a perfect job! The good news is that there was not the extreme pain that I was expecting. The bad news is that things could have been done better. There were several failings in the system that caused the operation to be more complicated than necessary, and the follow-up to the operation left a bit to be desired.
Above, I mention that blood was found in the scrotum when it was drained the second time. After the operation, the surgeon told me that it was the worst hydrocele he had had to deal with. Because of the blood being in the scrotum for some time the inner sac had become 'like leather' and it had to be removed. He was very surprised that I had not felt any pain over the past year. The testicle was OK.
My question is, "Why, when I had it drained for the first time, was I not told that a blood vessel had been broken, or that it could bleed in the future?" I thought that the drain had been successful and that I could have it done again, (and again?). The only warning that I was given was that the hydrocele would most likely return. I had no pain, and so for a year, I had bleeding into the sac that lead to a potentially hazardous condition. I should have been called in for check ups. As it was, I was allowed to be in ignorance, for a year, and the complication was allowed to develop. This was a serious lack of professional care.

On the night after the operation, I asked a nurse if it was OK for me to take a sleeping tablet. She asked if I normally took them and I replied that I took one occasionally. She said that it would be OK. At 3am I got up to have a pee. (I had been walking about the ward, holding my drain bottle, in the evening) To facilitate the pee, I leant forward on the cistern, and then .................. crash! I had fainted! I tried to get up, but fell down again. The sister and nurse came in and tried to raise me. Feeling faint, I said to leave me for a while. I felt as thought I was drunk, or drugged. They let me lie for about ten minutes then got me into a wheel chair and then into bed. I didn't mind that, but in the morning the blame was put on me, because I took the sleeping pill. I don't think that it was the pill anyway, but 'they' did not want to take any responsibility.
The overall level of nursing was excellent. There was a shortage of staff and there were several agency nurses. I found it impossible to tell the seniority of the nursing staff, or indeed, if they were nurses or domestics. They all wore different uniforms, Some just white dresses.

When I was discharged, I was taken in a wheel chair to the discharge lounge and given lunch. I got into conversation with a South African nursing assistant. We talked of how she had a son back home and was trying to decide whether to settle in Britain or return. She had all her family in South Africa. We spoke for a long time and it made me appreciate the fact that I have only myself to think of. She also spoke of how she got annoyed and upset at patients blaming her for events over which she had no control. I suggested that she look on them as being 'disabled' and have sympathy for them! But, I don't think that she accepted my point of view!

As I was somewhat troubled in the 'between legs' area, I thought that I would be taken home in an ambulance and seen into the house. No! It was a saloon car and I had difficulty in getting into the bloody thing! Then, I was dumped at the entrance to the complex, with my bag, and had to sort myself out.

At the hospital, during the pre-admission session I was asked if there would be anybody to look after me after the operation and I explained that I had no-one. There was a suggestion of meals on wheels. I said that, if the surgeon said that I could walk etc. then I would be OK. They said that the district nurse would come to do the dressing and keep an eye on the wound. In the end, I was left to look after myself completely, both in the medical and domestic areas. I was given letters for my GP and practice nurse, and I was told to see the nurse the next day to have the wound inspected and dressed. When I visited the nurse, she did not want to know! She said that she would not see me again and that I should see the GP and chase up the hospital for a follow-up appointment! Even the receptionist was surprised at this and rang through to the nurse to see if I should see her again. The nurse said no! The GP told me that 'some' nurses do not like dealing with men's genitals! (big deal!!!) There were other bits and pieces of annoyance but I'll leave it there.

To summarise, I was dumped at the door, the district nurse did not attend, the practice nurse did not want to know ,and social services did not give a damn! So, for the past two weeks I have coped very well on my own. I got my own shopping, did my own cooking, and cleaning and I have even designed my own dressings! So, bugger 'em all, I didn't need 'em!

During the run up to the operation I had two ECGs. Both showed no evidence of heart problems. One nurse showed me the graph and pointed out the lack of bad indicators. So, do I have heart trouble? There's the big question. (See my heart details)

The diary entries of the time are here.
Thursday, 31 October 2002. My motto for the site is, "Share a laugh and shed a few tears" To give you a bit of a laugh I relate this.

After the operation I was keen to get back to 'normal' as soon as possible. I had a drip in my left arm, a drain in the scrotum and an oxygen tube up my nose. Back in the ward, about two hours after the operation, I asked if I could remove the oxygen tube. The nurse went away, returned and said it was OK. As she was removing the tube, I asked if it was OK to get rid of the drip. She went away, returned and said that it was OK. Can you picture an accident prone nurse!? She continued to remove the oxygen tube and went on to remove the drip. She gripped the part of the drip tube which was connected to the cannula, and made a few attempts at removing it. The pulling and twisting was a bit uncomfortable! Oo! Oo! Oo! She then said, "Silly me I was trying to remove the wrong part!" She then got the tube out and proceeded to walk away with the drip support stand. Oopps! She had got the drip and oxygen tubes entangled! No damage done and a giggle to relate. She really was nice nurse though.

To get you to shed a few tears.

In the bed opposite me, was a young fella of 19yo, and I got talking to him. He told me that he had just been diagnosed with Chrone's disease, a genetic problem with the bowels. For a long time his GP had said that it was just irritable bowel syndrome. The lad's discomfort increased, and he was sent for a barium meal. As the lad explained, this was not a good decision. It complicated his condition, and after a few frustrations he was admitted to hospital as an emergency.
I have about half-a-dozen horror stories of GPs not considering a diagnosis, other that the most common that he/she has experienced. I may develop this theme in a separate page. Of course, this can lead to a delay in treating the real illness with the consequent likely fatal outcome.
Four weeks after the operation all is OK. Still surprised at the lack of serious pain immediately after the operation.