Posts Tagged ‘colon’

Lazy Laura and the big hospital strop

Almost two years ago, as mentioned in C is for…, I had a bit of an emergency. Like a life-threatening, I-thought-it-was-some-mild-food-poisoning, extremely-rare colon thing.

It was a Wednesday, any old Wednesday, no forewarning, nothing out of the ordinary. I ate my dinner, felt a little ill, it got worse and worse til, by Friday, I hadn’t slept in two days and was becoming a little delirious. By 3am on Saturday morning, it dawned on me that it wasn’t going to be ok and I got scared and went to hospital.

It was supposed to be my first day back at law school after the Christmas break. I had all my books ready. I was hoping they could just give me a little painkiller and send me on my way and I could still make classes at 10am.

Then things went crazy. I didn’t have any time to prepare myself for it. I honestly thought I was going home in a few hours. Then all of a sudden, there were things being jabbed into me with liquid painkillers, there were x-rays being taken, I was in a ward full of people waiting for operations and, wait a minute, I was waiting for an operation! And they were talking to me about my colon and I couldn’t hear them properly through the haze of fear that was throbbing in my ears.

Anyway, I woke up from the operation later that day and proceeded to spend the next three days in bed, sulking over why I had become ill, “why me?” etc. Doctors and nurses would come round and be nice and friendly but I had turned into Little Miss Grumpy. I was having a tantrum at ‘Life’ and that’s how it was going to be!

I spent all day asleep, too terrified to eat anything so sleeping through meals or refusing them, then spent all night awake, with my headphones in, watching Supernanny or Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen on my little TV, gently weeping to myself like an idiot.

I was allowed visitors but mostly just watched while they talked. I think I had convinced myself that I was quite legitimately ‘depressed’ and that was that.

Then Danda came to visit.

“Try and get her up and about,” they had said to Danda. “She lies in bed all the time, she needs to be a bit more active if she’s going to recover.”

So Danda came to my bedside and shook me awake. I was sleeping, as usual.

“Come on, Laura. Let’s go for a little walk.”

I looked at him with my No Face.

“Come on. It’s been four days since the operation. You need to pick yourself up a bit. Don’t you want to get well so you can leave the hospital?”

I did my best quivery-lip, I’m-so-sad-and-ill face, which he ignored. What?! My sad face wasn’t working?! Panic set in. I’m busy sitting around feeling sorry for myself here! You’re interrupting me! Don’t you get it?

“Come on. Put your little slippers on. Let’s go for a little walkies,” as though talking to a child.

That was it. I had had it.

‘Danda, can I tell you a secret?”

He nodded and leaned close so I could whisper in his ear.

“I don’t WANT to go a walkies!” And I stuck my bottom lip out.

And suddenly he was laughing uproariously. He had to sit down and clutch his stomach. I heard what I had said and realised what a baby I was being and put on my little hospital-issue slippers and went for a walk down the corridor, which tired me out for the rest of the day.

But that, that little strop, that was the beginning of the recovery period.

These days, if I don’t want to go a walkies, I at least come up with a more decent excuse, like “It’s a bit cold,” or “I’m far too busy making this cup of tea” or “Family Guy is on.”

C is for…

CHICKEN!

In January last year, I got a tummy ache. Quite innocent-sounding, you think? I did too. I had just had a meal with chicken in it, so immediately assumed it was a bit of food poisoning. I had food poisoning about five years ago and so I remembered what it felt like. I thought I just needed to ride it out. I spent the whole night squirming around in bed, feeling awful.

The next day I thought it wasn’t too bad. I still had a tummy ache but, using my usual theory of illnesses, (if you ignore it, it’ll probably go away) I went to work and just ignored my stomach ache all day. When I got home, though, it was no longer something that could be ignored. Thankfully I had the next day off and planned to just sit around, waiting for it to go away. But it got worse and worse.

After another sleepless night, I couldn’t deny the need to see a doctor anymore. I went to an NHS walk-in centre and was prodded and examined and the doctor said it could be something quite mild, stomach cramps maybe. If it’s not that though, it’s something REALLY BAD and I needed to get to A&E. She gave me something to deal with stomach cramps and said if they didn’t go after two doses, I needed to get to hospital. I smiled confidently, it would be fine. It was just some chicken I had eaten. Of course it couldn’t be anything major. Chicken can’t kill you.

The two doses were taken and, as much as I tried denying it, the stomach pains didn’t go away. O no. By about 3am on Saturday, I actually couldn’t get around the fact that I probably needed to go to A&E.

I arrived and was examined again by a doctor with a worried face then given some liquid paracetamol. I felt a bit silly actually, knowing that it was just some chicken. I just needed to wait until I vomited or something, then it would be out. What’s all the fuss? I thought, with embarrassment.

Then a lot of things happened at once, I was taken for an x-ray (surely chicken doesn’t show up on x-rays… does it?), lots of needles with things in were attached to my wrists and then, the worst thing ever. A doctor, thankfully really friendly and understanding, but ultimately, the destroyer of my life, arrived with a tube thingy and said these words…

“I just need to put this tube in your nose and into your stomach to make sure it’s empty before we operate.”

And I thought, ‘IT’S JUST SOME CHICKEN!! HONEST! I CAN SOLVE THE MYSTERY NOW! JUST DON’T DO IT!’

He saw my terrified face and asked if I’d had it done before. I hadn’t but I didn’t need to have. I knew it was going to be the worst thing I’d ever experienced. It felt like he wanted something from me, a piece of important information about a terrorist attack or he’d torture me. I would have given up ANYTHING then, anything he’d wanted! I would have admitted things I’d never done, a murder, a theft, anything! Just don’t put that tube up my nose!

“When you feel the tube scratching the back of your throat, just have a drink of water and it will make the tube go to your stomach easier. It’s not that bad, honest,” he reassured me. Then he approached, with the torture implement in his hands and put it in my nose… and just kept pushing it. AWFUL! THE MOST AWFUL THING I’VE EVER HAD DONE IN MY LIFE! As instructed, I grabbed some water when I felt it in my throat but I was sobbing and feeling traumatised so instead of swallowing the water, I was just tipping the glass up against my face, crying like a baby and soaking the front of the lovely pink hospital night gown I was wearing. Awful.

Then they wheeled me to a new room, said I was next in the operating theatre, it was an emergency and I might wake up with a colostomy bag! I was a bit out of it, so I know they talked me through it properly but I was so distracted by the nose tube I couldn’t concentrate. I remember as they were putting me under the anaesthetic, I was still thinking, with embarrassment, about how they’d find a little peice of chicken and realise it was a lot of fuss for nothing.

In the end, I woke up WITHOUT a colostomy bag but WITH a ten inch scar down my front full of massive staples, was told it was something really rare called a transverse colon volvulus (where your colon twists around on itself – mental!) and written up in a medical journal.

And no, it was nothing to do with the chicken I ate.