From the end of March I started to have pains – pains like nothing I had experienced before (yes, worse than childbirth). My whole guts felt like someone had put a steel band around the inside and was slowly turning a handle and increasing the pressure and the pain. The first time it happened I thought I had eaten something bad – the attack lasted about three hours and eventually I fell asleep, exhausted. Thinking that was it, I was more than perturbed when it happened again – at work – and I had to lie down in the Finance office whilst my colleagues stepped over me until the attack passed. Only an hour this time though, so not too bad. But it happened again and again, and along with the pain came the vomiting – the night of one attack that started at around 8pm had me still being sick at 3am. Exhausting!
|Cows - because you don't want to see this post illustrated!|
It kept happening and during one attack at a training session at work a kind colleague drove me to the doctor, and waited with me until I was seen before taking me home. I have to say I was delighted with the diagnosis! Gall stones. Yes – horrible little lumps of solidified crud that build up in your gall bladder. Usually triggered by eating, when one of the stones decides to take a trip down the ducts, you end up with that excruciating, un-relievable pain. The doctor put me forward for a speedy gall bladder removal much to my delight. I was happy to be diagnosed because I knew the solution – laparoscopic cholecystectomy. It was a procedure I could also spell without looking up because I’d written a patient brochure all about it when I worked at the hospital back in the early 2000s.
Given how ill I was and how much it was interfering with work and my eating (not the best way to lose weight, but a good few pounds departed as I became almost frightened to eat), a speedy operation date was welcome. Then came the call – the operation was cancelled. The distress and upset in my voice were not ignored though, and instead of a date a month later, my operation was brought forward to that week.
A call on the Monday, a pre-admission appointment on the Wednesday, and the procedure on the Friday. One of my operation wounds is rather larger than anticipated as I think there were a lot of stones to come out – must have been a bit of a tug with that bag of marbles in my tum!
So this post is to say thank you – to the wonderful GP for diagnosis and referral, to the fantastic NHS for getting me into the system and offering me the choice of speedy consultation dates, and the efficient team at the Pinehill Hospital who managed to get me my operation quickly and looked after me so well during my overnight stay. My lovely friend Chris spent the week with me afterwards, cooking and caring for me whilst my brain was addled and my body not functioning properly. And more friends and family have visited, helped me with shopping and checked on me to make sure I am OK. One more week of rest, and then I’ll be back on form and independent as ever.
I’m not good as asking for help, but I have needed it and my friends, family and colleagues have been wonderful. And the cat - he's been keeping me company a lot. Thank you.