This is a post I didn’t want to have to be writing. It’s definitely one of those ‘that’s life’ moments, just when you think you are on top of everything life has a funny way of switching that around.
It all started the day of my last blog post. I’d had a niggle of pain in my abdomen, but put it down to a vigorous exercise class I had been to that week. It gradually developed into a hot stabbing pain so bad that I was reluctant to walk more than a couple of feet. So naturally I made an appointment at my local GP surgery where I was told it was just a scratch, to put some cream on and not to worry as it would heal in time. So I spent that week in bed and when by the Saturday it had become about ten times worse, decided I should take more drastic action.
NHS 24 were phoned where they assessed my symptoms and booked me an appointment that night at a local out-of-hours-hospital. They figured it would be best to get me seen by another doctor. By this point I was basically writhing in agony in the waiting room. You know when you just know yourself that something isn’t right? It was one of those moments.
So I was put in a wheelchair and wheeled into the doctor’s office where I was almost immediately diagnosed with sepsis (chills, temperature of 39.9C, pulse of 146bpm, severely low blood pressure). Doctor Patil was lovely and checked me over and diagnosed me with a suspected abscess that needed to be drained asap. So there I am being wheeled into an ambulance and terrified.
I almost didn’t have time to think about what was happening when I was faced with all my fears at once. Hospital for a start I had never been in other than as a visitor. I have fears of needles, blood, surgery, drugs and intense pain, all of which were being thrown at me at the one time. Because of the lack of surgeons I didn’t have my surgery until the Monday and by that point the pain had become unbearable and I welcomed surgery at 3am with open arms.
It was somewhat of a spiritual experience for me as I had been given drugs in the early hours of the morning to ease the pain which the doctors described me as having a ‘bad reaction’ to. I was essentially high. I spent the whole hour before the surgery in a constant state of deja vu, not knowing whether I was dreaming or awake. I saw faces in everything and in the dim light of 2am inanimate objects seemed to become people and move. Two heart rate monitors in the corridor became two people whispering about me. My IV drip became a mannequin with a scary face. It was a very bizarre hour for me.
When the surgeons wheeled me away for surgery at 3am I was convinced 100% I had been in the room before. I could predict everything everyone was going to say to me. There is a great quote by Marina Abramovic which sums up how I felt at that moment:
“When you have so much pain you think you will lose consciousness. So think ‘So what, lose consciousness’ and the pain goes away.”
Except in my case the pain went away with general anaesthetic. The anaesthetist explained the first drug would made me very dizzy which it did, the second drug knocked me out in 2 seconds flat. Woke up at 6am babbling like an idiot in my bed and was wheeled back to the ward.
I was discharged that night and I have been recovering since. There is essentially a giant hole in my skin where they drained the infection, and that wound needs to be packed, washed and dressed by a nurse every day. The packing is seconded only by the abscess as the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. It feels like hot needles being driven into your open wound. The wound also feels like a constant bee sting.
Nevertheless, I am getting there slowly but surely. It’s a slow process much to my annoyance and it hurts like hell to walk but I am trying. I WILL produce a degree show and I WILL be there even if it’s on a stretcher.
Oh on the plus side my business cards arrived :)