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Friday, August 22, 2008

long meandering post

well let me tell you about my crazy day at the hospital. I felt terrible the day before and didn't get up till about 4pm and thought to myself, how am I going to manage tomorrow? Anyway I did get up early and got a taxi to the hospital for my appointment at 9:30 - for a CT scan on my kidneys. They saw me pretty much straight away even though I was early. I had to lay on the scanner (with my trousers pulled down a little - though they did cover me with a cloth to preserve my modesty) and then the bed lifted up and down a few times and then passed through the large humming doughnut. It was a bit disorientating and I could see some machinery spinning very fast around through a window that went around the hole and I tried not to imagine that it was the machinery that was still and the room which was spinning around. A recorded voice told me when to hold my breath and when to breathe normally a few times as the bed moved in and out. I was feeling a bit disorientated then a little male nurse appeared from nowhere saying he was going to inject me with some "contrast" and that it would make me feel "a blush" but it was nothing to worry about. I started to feel a bit queasy just thinking about it, imagining it was going to be a huge syringe of thick metal gloop. He put the needle and tube in my arm which was okay but I didn't realise that wasn't the actual injection. I was passed through the doughnut again and he appeared on the other side to inject the gloop. I was feeling quite queasy by now and said so but he told me to relax and not worry. The next thing I remember was waking up surrounded by three or four women and the nurse while I was still lying in the scanner and they're all asking me if I'm okay and what happened. I didn't know who they were or where I was for about five seconds and I felt too weak to talk either. Eventually I realised I'd passed out but still felt too weak to really move or say much. They were all talking away, describing what they saw and asking me why it happened. A doctor joined the throng who asked all the same questions again and I couldn't really give them an answer. I told them I felt a bit sick so they hurriedly put a sickbowl on my chest, then 10 seconds later I spewed up but a lot of it when all down my new white tshirt. Sorry if this is grossing you out but I've hardly started. Eventually I felt able to get up and they helped me off the bed and I took my tshirt off and put on the zip-up sweatshirt which fortunately I had taken off and was still clean. They said they wouldn't continue with the scan and they may be able to use the pictures they already took before the contrast injection, and that there were stones visible in my pelvis (which sounds kind of vague - where in my pelvis? just rolling around, bouncing off my hipbones?)

Anyway, I hobbled outside feeling a bit lightheaded and someone went off to find me a bed to lie on and was told to sit in the chair in the corridor. There were 4 or 5 old folks sitting on trolleys probably waiting to be taken somewhere. I had only just sat down and I said to the lady who led me outside I was feeling a bit faint. Next thing I know I wake up on the cold hard floor in the recovery position again surrounded by nurses and two doctors, again bombarding me with questions and telling me not to move. I felt too weak to talk let alone move. One of the nurses was being really jolly and saying "oh I have this effect on men" I think she said it about 5 times during the whole drama, to anyone who came past. The doctor was saying "I think it's just a vaso-vagal" or something like that and was asking me if I had someone could come and get me. There really wasn't anyone in Cambridge that I knew with a car that could come and collect me right then. He said "is there any family, anyone from work, who do you live with?" etc. He asked me several times but all I managed to say was "no there really isn't anyone" and he told me I couldn't leave on my own as it could happen again and I could fall and kill myself very easily. A nurse said let's get you off that cold floor it can't be comfortable and I thought to myself actually it's very refreshing. Anyway they slowly helped me up onto a trolley and had a discussion on where to put me. Eventually they decided to take me to the neighbouring ward which I think was neurology, and I was wheeled away around lots of corridors and in a lift. Eventually I arrived and was left in empty bay, while numerous nurses came in and chatted to me. I remember one was a very nice australian one who was gave me a long speech about how I mustn't feel silly or worried and that she gets freaked out by the dentist etc. I would have like to chat more but just couldn't find the energy and I wasn't sure if I was fully conscious or not, it was all a bit of a blur. There was a very sweet nurse who stayed with me a lot of the time and put a blanket on me when I started to shiver. I think she was called Cheryl.

Anywayyyyyy, I think I was there about half an hour then they decided to take me to A&E where there would be people who could keep an eye on me and check me over. So I was wheeled off again, down numerous corridors, another trip in the lift, swung round many times, until I felt very seasick. I was parked in a corridor and Cheryl waited with me. I told her I was feeling sick again and so she went to find a sickbowl but came back without one. I told her "i'm feeling very sick now" and then spewed up a whole lot more, across the corridor just in front of someone who was walking past. I think he was a doctor. He looked at me and said " god, are you alright?" - kind of a silly question but what else do you say when someone spews in your direction... Cheryl held the blanket over my face while I spewed and spewed and it was now all down my sweatshirt too. I said sorry for making a mess and she said don't worry it's easily cleaned up. The other nurse came back and they wheeled me down the corridor and into A&E. The nurses there, took some blood for testing, gave me an ECG and numerous other tests. Then I had a drip in my other arm, so that was the third time I'd had needles put in me. At least a bag of clear saline didn't make me feel so queasy as a syringe of "contrast". So I laid there for several hours in a daze, occasionally answering questions of the nurses and registrar. Behind a curtain next to me, a very distressed traveller girl demanding morphine was wheeled in and demanded her husband to be brought. Then lots of brothers and sisters came too and I got to hear them all talking in their husky voices - I think it was pancreatis she had. Once the drip was empty, the doc said someone would come and take it out and then I could go home. I felt a bit stronger and was able to hobble to the loo in my gown and carrying the drip. I got off the bed and asked a nurse for some tissues to see if I could clean up my clothes enough to actually put them on, but they offered me a clean t-shirt which was a huge relief. It was actually a good fit and I shall definitely keep it as a souvenir. It's navy and has "saffron walden carnival" on the front and a picture of a funny leprachaun type person, even though saffron walden isn't in Ireland, it's in Suffolk... They keep clothes that are left behind in A&E to give to people that need them so it could have been a floral dress if I was really unlucky. It was now about 2:30. I hobbled outside and a few people stared as I had plasters all over my arms from the needles and the wristband still on. I called a taxi and a very friendly guy picked me up. He was very chatty and because I was still feeling queasy I was thinking "Please don't talk to me please don't talk to me". I thought I was going to pass out again and wondering what the hell I was going to do and if I should warn him. Fortunately I had the good sense to bring one of the paper sickbowls with me so when I was sick again I was able to use that. I apologised and he said it was okay and that most people don't come prepared. It can't have been nice driving and then hearing someone heaving up in the back. Anyway he got me home and finally I could get into my own bed. I slept for a couple of hours and when I woke up I thought "did I dream all that or did it really happen?!" The wristband was by the bed and I still had one of the sticky ECG things on me so yes it did. The whole thing was very surreal, and so silly considering I only went there for a harmless CT scan. Everyone was so nice and encouraging and sympathetic. I can kind of understand how some people become hypochondriacs or develop munchausen syndrome in a bid to get that kind of treatment all the time - but don't worry I don't plan on it. I think hospitals just make me queasy anyway....

what a crazy day eh. I still feel a bit sick and lightheaded but I think it's passing - it had better do...

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