Knocked down again
So, after my break from blogging followed by my unplanned and unwelcome hospitalisation I was grateful to be back and grateful to be with you all again.
I should have realised. Things were too good to be true. I really don’t want to post another tough luck story but I can only tell my life as it unfolds.
In the early hours of Friday morning I started feeling slightly nauseous. Just the overproduction of saliva and a feeling of ‘something not right’. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew my body was up to something, I assumed it would pass.
A few hours later I started retching into a basin, nothing but saliva to show for my choking and heaving. Or, to use a great Scottish word, boaking. Brilliantly onomatopoeic.
It didn’t take long for the situation to worsen. The next attempt at throwing up felt exactly the same but when I looked down the basin was red, I had brought up blood. Not a huge amount but enough to ring the alarm bells.
I wanted to wait five minutes to see what would happen before calling the doctor but the volume of blood increased. Each retch becoming more violent. I could not wait any longer before reluctantly (if you know how stubborn I am you will understand that) admitting I needed help.
In all honesty, the doctor didn’t do much. He only needed 30 seconds to realise that emergency services were required, he called through a blue light ambulance request. It seemed like only yesterday I was waiting on an ambulance due to my blood pressure problems. Now I had a new concern. Frankly, a terrifying one. Staring into a basin of your own blood tends to do that.
It was round about now that my parents popped in. Timing was a bitch, why did this have to happen this morning? They were packed and due to leave for an 11 day holiday in Greece. I am not a parent but when my mother told me they could not go I understood where she was coming from. Still, I was not accepting it. I tried to sympathise but continually forcing home the message that they were going.
I asked them to put themselves in my shoes. If they could just imagine my guilt if this passed in a couple of days. I would be busy getting on with things while they were stuck here missing out on a holiday. One they had worked so hard for and deserved even more. They could always get back quickly if needed but that point was brushed over as quickly as I could.
Eventually, just in time for their flight, they conceded and left in tears of worry. Not the way I wanted them to start their holiday but in my mind it was simple. This was better than the alternative, them standing at the end of the bed in tears of worry.
I was lying on my side to help the blood flow into the basin rather than back the way into my lungs. The paramedics transferred me from my bed onto the stretcher and yet again the blue light cleared the way to the hospital. I don’t remember much about the short journey other than more and more blood. Every bump in the road rattled my fragile stomach.
This is going to be difficult to explain but the concept of time is irrelevant when I am in hospital.
I get by one minute at a time, concentrating on that moment, not what has already been or what is yet to pass. All my energy is centred on riding out whatever I face there and then. When a new minute begins the previous is forgotten. As the minutes become hours it becomes impossible to count back. Even an educated guess has no basis, all I am focusing on is that minute in time.
I can honestly say that lying in hospital that Friday, on my side watching my own blood spurting out my mouth, I have never felt worse. I cannot remember ever feeling so defenceless and vulnerable. I shouldn’t need to articulate the thoughts that were going through my head, it was one very long afternoon.
As time did pass I was bringing up larger volumes of blood. The IV tube pumped morphine into my system for the stomach pain and anti-emetics (to prevent vomiting). Neither had much impact. They also had to replenish my body with fluids and the blood I was losing.
They eventually managed to manoeuvre my body into a safe position for x-rays which came back showing a dark pool of liquid lying in my stomach. It was vital to get a NG (nasogastric) tube up my nose and down into my stomach. Anybody who has experienced this will testify to the fact that it is a disgusting procedure.
The plastic tube needs to reach the top of the nose before it tries to bend round the top and back down the way. You need to swallow constantly to ease this passing. Eventually, if you are lucky, the tube starts to move down the back of your throat. You need to open your mouth wide (while still swallowing) so the doctor can guide the tubing down the back of your tonsils and then into your oesophagus. From then on it’s a straight journey down to the stomach. As I said, disgusting.
With the NG successfully in place the doctor started to use a syringe and pull the dark, thick blood from the inside of my stomach.
All in all they reckon about ½ litre was removed.
Like last time, I won’t go into the details of the days that followed. Blood tests, x-rays and more blood tests.
No more complications gave rise to the verdict that this was a one off case of gastroenteritis. Apparently it could have been caused by anything. That does not sit well with me. Just like the blood pressure situation, I want to know what caused this. Without a cause I can only wait helplessly on it happening again.
Another knockdown, a painful one. Like those that have came before and those that will come to pass I took it square on the chin, got off the deck and got back on with the fight. It did take a little more fight out of me but not enough, not nearly enough, to keep me down.
Another knockdown but still no knockout.