Wednesday, 7 May 2014

One of my experiences at The Royal Bolton Hospital...not slagging the NHS off, but also not complimenting them too much either

Not a particularly cheerful post today I'm afraid....well I suppose that depends if you enjoy the suffering of others, but I shall work under the assumption that you're not!

Since 2006 I have been pretty unwell. Following an open air gig, and the epic wait to leave the carpark afterwards, I went from a 'gym 2 hours twice a day' girl, to an 'omg why have my stairs multiplied? I may die' sort of girl. After a begrudging trip to A&E (thats Accident and Emergency or 'ER' for any Americans reading), I ended up admitted due to a suspected pulmonary embolism. My blood was waaay too enthusiastic with the clotting thing. I had the District Nurse, or Rapid Response Team (snappily called RRT to match the rapid in the name, never mind the fact it ends up taking longer to explain to people what RRT is.) visiting me daily to inject clexane into my stomach. Now, this drug was, I assume, developed in a medieval torture chamber. They find a patch of, unbruised (more on that in a sec!), skin, then they inject the hell drug. It burns. As it is being injected. Now, I have a very high pain threshold, thanks to a particularly debauched 'yoof' with many, many drunken injuries, yet this hurt. A lot. I was also told not to drive, along with making sure I didn't bang my head, as the clexane thins your blood so much that you would bleed to death  before help arrived. So far, so terrifying. The injection site also bruises massively, and when you're having a daily injection of the stuff you end up BRUISED, A LOT. The nurse confided in me that grown man, well the 'I'm so big and tough' type of men, who insist on standing for the injection (as if that will impress any female?), end up pretty much passing out from the pain. Anyway, cue to a few days/weeks (I know it was more than a week but can't remember how much longer, just remember being ill!) later when I had a VQ scan (you basically have a tracer injected into you, and you breathe in some vapour, both radioactive I might add, to see if blood supply and oxygen is working properly) on my lungs....'just a small defect on one lung' (my response of 'well why the feck has my lung got ANY defects?' was ignored completely) they said, 'nothing to worry about' they said, 'we're not sure why your heart is trying to beat in time to dance song' they said. Discharged with no further action.

Two weeks, of getting more and more ill, later, my mum and I took my gran to hospital for laser eye surgery early in the morning. Mum told me I should probably go to A&E, just in case. So I traipse back to A&E, on a hotter than hell day, and get pretty much immediately admitted again. Sadly they had no bed available, so I waited in the day room, in full glare of the sun, until about 7 pm that night. I then stayed in a ward which looked after the very, very seriously and critically ill. I can't sleep anywhere but my own home at the best of times, but to be on a ward hearing the suffering of these poor people, who were coming to the end of their lives, broke my heart. The day after I had been admitted, the lady in the bed diagonally across from me sadly passed away. She was alone. The nurses, who were crazily busy of course, seeing as they are truly the ones that run hospitals, had no choice but to simply pull the curtains around and leave the poor lady there until they had time to wash her and ready her to be moved. The thought of this poor lady, dying alone, then being left alone after her death, broke my heart. I wanted to go and sit with her, but I didn't want to cause any trouble, so I didn't. I still haven't forgiven myself for that.

After a couple of days I was then moved to a ward which was basically the geriatric ward. The summer was still, rarely, in full swing and the temperature was beyond a joke. Now, anyone that knows me, knows that my body tends to run quite hot ('quite' is 'quite' an understatement), and that I radiate a lot of heat. So I hate the heat is the basic gist. I also hate hospitals, being ill, attention and putting anyone out, so hospital was all of my nightmares at once. I eventually had a repeat VQ scan (I did harbour a small hope of becoming a superhero thanks to the radiation, but sadly no luck). This one showed that the small and insignificant defect had grown somewhat. There was now virtually no supply of either blood or oxygen getting to my lungs.

I ended up on warfarin (heparin/rat poison) for nine months, visting the hospitals clinic weekly to have my blood checked to ensure it wasn't clotting too much. After nine months, which is three months longer than people are usually on it, with little improvement in my breathing and chest pain, they eventually referred me to a chest specialist who diagnosed costochondritis. Which is just a fancy name for stuff rubbing other stuff it shouldn't, within the chest region.

Cut to a few months down the line with no improvement, comes the asthma diagnosis. Well isn't that just dandy?! I haven't been physically well ever since!

I won't go into everything else on this post, as its already long and don't want it to become an epic, but I will post my ME/CFS journey at some point. Hopefully things will be much more cheerful on other posts though!

Thanks for reading!


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