…. ok, maybe not – But it could have been.
A couple of years ago, a few weeks into a new job, I started getting a real nasty pain across my back. This got worse as the day went on, culminating in me having to stop driving on the way home until it eased off.
That night, the pain got more and more intense and I was keeping Sarah awake. So, being ever chivalrous I told her to sod off downstairs and sleep on the couch…..OK, ok, so that would have caused me considerably more pain. What I actually did was head downstairs onto the couch for the worst nights sleep I had ever had (at that point).
The next morning, still in massive pain, I decide that it would be a really good idea to go to work. I still to this day have no idea what I was thinking, but try I did. It was at the point of pulling my trousers on that I collapsed backwards (and rather fortuitously) onto the couch. Pain the likes of which I had never felt before reduced me to tears, whereupon Zak comes sauntering downstairs and finds me.
“Whats up daddy?”
“Go and get your mum please son”
Off runs Zak back upstairs and tells Sarah that and I quote “Daddy is crying mummy, come and help him”. Now, you might all be thinking “awww, bless him”, you forget the male ego – All I was thinking was “Traitor, I will have my revenge when you decide to bring a girl home to meet the parents….”
Nah, just kidding – I was really pleased that the sight of his dad crying didn’t freak him out, and, at just under 3 years old, he was able to process the information and go get his mum.
Sarah arrives, notices (in this order) Dave on couch, trousers halfway up legs, Dave crying.
Once the laughter died down she decided to call the docs.
Now, it should be pointed out at this time that I hate hospitals. A lot. No really, I detest them. I will go great lengths to avoid doctors and especially hospitals. I am not a great believer in faith healing or anything hippy and new agey, I just believe that me and hospitals do NOT belong anywhere near each other.
The doctor arrives and I am now determined to show that there is in fact nothing wrong with me. I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for that pesky pain. Just as the doc has duly prescribed a day off to rest, the traitorous back pain flares up. I am now rocking backwards and forwards like a pregnant woman in the beginnings of labour.
Doc procedes to exam me again, only this time managing to find the exact series of spots that cause me to yelp, like a dog, a naughty dog that has just been hit on the nose with a rolled up paper for so much pee on the carpet. She made me yelp. Doctors. Are. Bastards.
I am then admitted to hospital immediately with gallstones.
Genius, morphine drip, TFT television I can pull just in front of my face and watch shite TV at the bargain basement price of ?10 per day. Oh, and a built in telephone that charges more than your average 0898 sex chat line (apparently). Did I say morphine drip? Possibly one of the best inventions of the modern world. Ahh, blessed relief. I don’t recall phone conversations with family, but apparently people were phoning just to hear my random blitherings for a laugh, such was the effect of the Morphine.
Anyhoo, they keep me in for a few days and I get the miracle recovery. No amount of radioactive toxic poisoning from various scans reveals even the smallest gallpebble, let alone stone, and they let me go home.
Sarah collects me and we head home. About halfway home (15 minutes), I start to get a headache and feel a bit sick. No problem, I will ignore it, that method has served me so well just recently…
About 2 hours later I have one hell of a migraine (just a headache, it will pass) and another hour after I start being sick.
This continues through the very worst nights sleep I have ever had.
By the next morning I was really struggling, to the point of being unable to even keep a glass of water down for more than about 15 minutes. The headache now felt like I was being forced to listen to Steps and the Fast Food Rockers on repeat in my own personal hell. Sarahs wonderful boss told her she could stay home and look after me, providing she did the first two calls of the day (she was a care worker).
She got home an hour or so later and by now I literally cannot keep a sip of water down, but I am hella dehydrated, so I keep drinking anyway (Catch 22 anyone?).
As I am not an emergency apparently, the ambulance says it could be 3-4 hours to come get me. I am now so badly dehydrated that I am starting to hallucinate. I have vague recollections of the next few hours. I remember my mum and dad turning up, a small fight when someone tried to take my water away from me. The car ride from hell to the hospital (every bump was like a million smurfs pounding on my head with their little hammers of doom…they have those right?) and being put in a private ward so that…and I quote “He doesn’t freak the other patients out”. Did I mention that patients are bastards. I will tell you about my wonderful neighbour patients in a future post….
It is at this point that I am relying on information provided by Sarah after I left the hospital. Apparently the following happened:
- I was carried into the bed (no small feat, way to go strong nurses and dad)
- Someone tried to take my water away from me
- I freaked
- Seriously freaked, like a small child when having his favourite toy taken away from him. I was hanging onto my water so hard they thought I was going to break the glass.
- I had no idea where I was, and apparently who I was
- I still wouldn’t give up the water..Sarah says I was literally screaming “You can’t have it, you won’t give it back” over and over
- Oh yeah, the sink was less than a foot away from my bed, water aplenty
Eventually I relented apparently, some time around the time that my new best friend, the lovely morphine drip, came to visit. Unfortunately, morphine drip clearly had far better things to do than take my pain away. So I basically stayed awake, rocking like those people that normally get given crash helmets on “special wards”, until my body could literally take now more and I collapsed with exhaustion.
Now those of you with any experience of British hospitals can vouch for this:
The number of doctors, nurses, ward assistants and orderlies available at any given time to assist in the treatment of patients is in direct contrast to the amount of sleep a patient has managed.
Basically each time my body gave in and I fell into fitful sleep, in they came to wake me up by turning on 1000w halogen lights, examining me, changing drips and taking blood samples. They managed to achieve all of this work in, probably, 1 minute over the time where I could have fallen back to sleep. Meaning I am now awake and in pain. Have I mentioned that doctors are bastards yet? Yes? Good.
In addition to the lack of sleep, the bloodwork comes back and with no small amount of joy, the doctor tells Sarah that I am not suffering from Meningitis. After the joy subsided, I was stricken by the realisation that noone had previously mentioned this as a possibility. Again, doctors..bastards…am I getting through?
So, in the absence of knowledge, they do what anyone would…they start giving me random cocktails of drugs in an effort to ease the pain. Nothing works, generally I throw up within about 10 minutes of recieving said drug cocktail…this means that they can’t give me anymore for four hours due to not knowing how much I had digested… repeat ad infinitum
I think I was like this for 4 days
- Rock with pain until around 2am
- Fall asleep as body can’t take anymore
- 2.10am, wake up to bright light and various proddings/exams.
- 2.25am, feel like I could go back to sleep
- 2.26am, proddings and exams finish..me now wide awake (albeit still exhausted)
- 2.36am, throw up tablets…call nurse
- 2.40am, nurse makes notes, recommends different drugs…which will be administered in 4 hours
- Rock with pain until around 6am
- Repeat throughout day…..
Good eh? I liked it.
Now, whilst I maintain that doctors are bastards…Ward Sisters, now they are goddamn angels or something else totally genius and amazing..
After 4 days of hell, I am at the 2am rocking with pain stage when I get visited by an absolute vision….the Ward Sister. She arrives in a blur of blue cotton…straightening, checking temperatures etc. I assume I am in for the usual nightmare cycle. Then it happens, and I remember this vividly, she stares at me rocking like a lunatic for a few minutes and says “Still no better eh? Right, it ends tonight”.
“What do you mean?” says I, at this point glad of the bedpan as I am thinking mercy killing quite frankly.
“Give me 10 minutes” says she, and leaves….
I then hear, what can only be described as, raised voices and “heated” discussion. I don’t know what is being said, only that this Ward Sister may be about to kill me. Sure enough, 10 minutes later she arrives back in the room with a tray containing a syringe….cue another bedpan change.
While focussing on the syringe, it dawns on me that she is talking to me..
“Now Dave, I am going to inject this into your dripfeed pipe and I need you not to panic. It is going to feel very strange and is important that you remain as calm as possible”
“What is it?”
“Morphine. I am going to deliver it directly into your bloodstream, are you ready?”
Now, when she pushed the syringe, I literally felt the morphine rush around my system and punch (what felt like through the top of my head. I lifted off the bed with the force of it and I immediately panicked (sorry Sister) and started hypervenilating. The Ward Sister quickly ran round the other side of the bed and started calming me down with very soothing speech and stroking my head. Within a minute I simply had a nasty headache – No more, no less.
Doctors may be bastards, Ward Sisters are genius – It’s that simple.
A day later I am on the phone to my nan, who is persuading me to have a lumbar puncture. A lumbar puncture, for those that don’t know, is where a doctor inserts a large needle right next to your spine. The purpose of this is to extract spinal fluid for testing. I of course was happy to do this without even the slightest argument…Hence the call from nan. Dammit nan, you were supposed to be on my side.
So eventually I get told that the procedure will take place at around 1am..the doctor arrives, looking like he really needs more coffee, and starts prodding my back. When asked why he was doing this, I am told that he needs to feel for where the needle goes in, oh and I shouldn’t move.
Thats right ladies and gentlemen, unbeknownst to me, this is a blind procedure, BLIND….as in CAN’T BE SURE ABOUT LOCATION
Sing it with me, “Doctors are bastards”
A short while later I am diagnosed with Meningitis (Yep, after they said it wasn’t already). Fortunately it was Viral and not Bacterial they say. Phew says I, caught a break there*
Everyone smiles and a days later I go home.
* I checked wikipedia for Meningitis some days later. Whilst Bacterial Meningitis is a really quick killer and I was definately lucky not to have that one…here is what it says about viral:
Patients diagnosed with mild viral meningitis may improve quickly enough to not require admission to a hospital, while others may be hospitalized for many more days for observation and supportive care. Overall, the illness is usually much less severe than bacterial meningitis.”
Doctors. Are. Bastards