"Elective spinal surgery"

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

After a year of investigation and diagnosis, I was admitted for spinal fusion surgery.

The surgical team were communicative, friendly and reassuring.

I should also mention the ESP whose attentive examinations and explanations gave me the courage to undergo an anterior lumbar fusion.

I had no idea what to expect as an outcome since no promises are made.

I can truly say that now one month post op, my previous debilitating nerve pain is all but gone and I am again able to walk 5 miles pain free and am slowly returning to aqua exercise and other normal daily activities.

The first month post op is filled with challenges, mainly around balancing the pain meds against the level of residual pain from incisions, nerve healing, and fusion hardware finding its place in my back.

My in-hospital experience was very good, considering so many staff were involved in the various things done to me.

In general, the attitude of staff at the RD&E is really lovely.

Xray, porters, admissions staff, or staff...all really good.

I would like to recognise one particular Dyball ward nurse as being outstanding.

A thoroughly competent and assertive professional who really goes to bat for their patients.

They truly have a passion for their work and it shows.

Most of the ward staff were caring and businesslike; a couple of nurses had poor bedside manner and really soured the experience with their off hand attitudes.

I did feel the stress of being stuck in a public ward for several nights with the changes of staff every 12 hours, one can come to dread who will be the next supervisor, since some like to keep those fluorescent lights on all the time, even in daytime, and without acknowledging they shine straight in a patient's eyes.

All nurses should be required to spend 24 hours lying on a ward bed to,see the other perspective!

I had one incident where my cannula was becoming rapidly infected and the attending nurse would not remove it even though I was not taking any IV meds.

I felt I had to make a huge fuss to get some action even when it was obvious my arm was red and visibly swelling.

That was very distressing and the nurse involved never apologised or appeared to learn from the issue.

To this day, I still have a scar on my wrist and residual bruising down my arm from that incident.

Diet: can it be noted that the staff who serve breakfast are only offering cereal and toast to patients who are on narcotic meds...which are hugely constipating?

When we asked for something soft like prunes and yogurt, the first response was "oh those taste awful, you don't want that".

To be perfectly honest, the most pain I suffered in the days after discharge had nothing to do with my incision, my back, or nerve pain....it was from being severely constipated!

Note to staff:

Senokot may be a laxative, but it only made my constipation much worse.

Looking back, I would do it all again if necessary.

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Response from Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. I am delighted to hear that you are so happy with the care that you have received. I would like to thank you very much for your positive feedback. Kind comments such as yours are always gratefully received. We will ensure that this positive feedback is passed on to the relevant individuals and departments involved.

With regards to the concern you have mentioned above, we are very sorry to hear that your experience was the cause of frustration and inconvenience and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you. In order for us to fully investigate your concerns and address the issues you have raised, we would be grateful if you could contact out PALS department on 01392 402093 so that they can take some further details from you. We hope to hear from you soon so that these matters can be resolved. Once again, we are very sorry for your experience.