Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doctors and Nurses

What a week! After feeling ill, and being sick, on Hannah's birthday, things took a major turn for the worse for Daddy...

After going all of Hannah's birthday without eating a thing (not even some of the delicious looking birthday cake), I spent the whole of Sunday night bowing down to the porcelain throne! It was not a pretty sight.

Come Monday morning, I still felt really rough, but had stopped being ill - still too rough to go into work, though! As the day went on, I began to feel better and better until, at about 5 o'clock, I was sitting on the bed chatting to Ruth. Suddenly a huge pain hit my side out of nowhere - it was like an explosion. I was writhing on the bed in pain, and then crawling to the bathroom to be sick. It was Agony, with a capital A!

Ruth telephoned for an ambulance, which took an hour to reach me with the rush hour (I found out later that it had had to come from Barry, as all of the Cardiff ambulances were busy - so that was bad timing on my part!). By the time the ambulance arrived, I was thankfully still alive, and had almost got the pain under control. You'd have thought that this was a good thing, but instead the ambulance men gave me a telling off for wasting their time. Thanks, guys, really caring of you!

Ruth wasn't going to let her Hubby take any messing, and politely informed them of how much pain I had been in, and also told them about the last time something like this had happened, and how they had thought it was my appendix but hadn't removed it. This seemed to convince them that it wasn't just a stomach bug, and they reluctantly gave me a ride to the hospital.

The pain started to return during the ambulance ride, and I was in quite a lot of pain again by the time Ruth had joined me at the hospital after dropping the children hurriedly off at Nanny and Grumpy's house. I was admitted into the emergency wards, and given my own trolley. They stuck in the antibiotics, pain relief and fluids (no catheter this time, hooray!), and booked me in for various x-rays and ultrasounds. So, I spent Monday night in the trolley bay... but at least, I wasn't feeling the pain anymore.

Tuesday came, and still found me in the trolley bay. During the day my trolley was moved from the main emergency ward, into the ward where people wait for surgery - the decision had been made to remove my appendix. The new ward was much quieter, and gave me the opportunity to overhear the patient in the bed next to mine explaining to the doctor how one of his tentacles was four times as big as the other! I'm pretty sure that he didn't mean tentacle! You don't know how much it hurts to try to stop yourself from laughing out loud when you've already got stomach pain.

Tuesday went on, and there was still no word from surgery as to when my operation would happen. Finally, at about 2 o'clock someone came to visit to get me into the surgery clothes, and ask me to sign the various pieces of paper which meant that I wouldn't complain if they cut me open. I then just had to wait for the final OK, and the porters would wheel me off to surgery.

The afternoon drifted past - nothing.

The evening drifted past - nothing.

The night arrived - nothing.

Ruth had been at home waiting since 2 o'clock for me to phone when I was out of surgery, so she wasn't too pleased when I phoned at about 9 o'clock to say that I still hadn't been in. Visions of me being kept in hospital for weeks (which is what happened last time) went through Ruth's mind as she put the phone down.

If only she'd known that 2 hours after the phone call, just as I was beginning to try to get some sleep (which I hadn't had for three days), the porters suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The time is now, the surgeons are waiting, let's go!

I was surprised at how calm I felt as I was prepped for surgery, despite the unexpected call. Even the anaesthetists talking about spiders as they put me under didn't make me panic! As I came around, though, I did frantically check that all my appendanges were still attached, and that there were no strange pipes or tubes coming out of my body. From listening to the nurses talking, though, I could tell that the operation hadn't been as straightforward as had been expected...

... it turned out that there had been nothing wrong with my appendix (and hadn't been the last time, either). The thing that had caused me all the pain this week, and a couple of years ago, was actually something called Meckel's diverticulum. No, I'd never heard of it before, either! Basically, when in the womb, there's a duct which connects the baby's umbilical cord to the rest of it's body. What's supposed to happen is that, once the baby is born, the duct withers away and disintegrates. But, I was one of the lucky 2% of the population who managed to keep hold of mine, until it started giving me grief. Still, if the surgeons are going to take anything out of me, then they may as well take the things that I don't need! (In fact, they also took my appendix while they had me open! It was a two-for-the-price-of-one offer that the NHS was running at the time!).

I immediately felt much better after the op, and was back on my feet in the hospital the next morning, eager to get home. I had a fantastic scar across my stomach, with some really mean looking metal clips holding it together (I've got the photos, but I don't think they're really suitable for the blog!). With no bad after-effects, I was released on the Thursday.

Free at last, or so I thought...

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