Oh for crying out loud.
So, for those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram, you would have seen that I was in hospital for a week
(extremely inconvenient, by the way, as it meant that I had to miss the GetYourBellyOut birthday ball AGAIN. FFS, will I ever be able to go to one of those?!)
In my last blog post, I mentioned that I had spent Easter going in and out of hospital for something called retrograde menstruation… but I now know that this wasn’t what I had at all.
It Can’t Be Sepsis Again… Can It?!
I was experiencing a ridiculous amount of pain in my lower abdomen, and it was steadily getting worse. I’d been taking codeine and paracetamol and they just weren’t touching the pain. On Tuesday night I went to bed at about 8pm after already having five doses of paracetamol that day, and I woke up at 10:30pm in absolutely agony, so much so that it felt very similar to when I had a perforated colon. Because of this, I decided to call 111 (Chris was at work on a night shift, so I had to leave him a few voicemails). I explained everything to the 111 people, including my history with my Crohn’s disease and perforated colon, and they decided to transfer the call to 999 and send out an ambulance to be on the safe side.
I had to wait about 3.5 hours for the ambulance which was fine because, while I was in a huge amount of pain, it wasn’t like I’d been in a car crash or had a leg falling off or anything. The 999 peeps called me a few times during this time to let me know and apologise, but it was just a really busy night.
By the time the ambulance arrived, I was doubled over and could hardly walk. The pain was horrific, and they did a load of observations and asked me lots of questions about my condition and the pain I was feeling. Chris then came home from his night shift and helped answer any more questions. They said based on my history it was best to take me in to hospital and gave me some oral morphine.
Gas and Air is the BEST!
By the time I got to the hospital, it was around 4am, and the oral morphine still hadn’t helped with the pain.
They decided to give me gas and air and it was AMAZING. (I swear, now I know why women in labour appreciate gas and air!) I was in a bay in the A&E bit for a few hours (poor Chris was falling asleep after his night shift at work). The gas and air certainly helped relieve the pain, but I managed to breathe my way through the whole canister and as soon as that stopped, the pain came back and it was just as intense as when I was waiting for the ambulance.
I was then moved to a Medical Assessment Unit. After that, my memory is a bit hazy. Chris finally went home to get some sleep, and I remember wailing in pain pretty much all night. Whatever pain relief I was getting, it wasn’t helping. I vaguely remember Mum and Dad visiting (possibly the next day) but I couldn’t tell you how long for or what was said. I don’t even remember how many days I was in that unit. All I really remember about that bit was that I had a CT scan, and that I was in so much pain that I couldn’t pass urine so they had to put a catheter in. That’s when I started to think that this was more urinary than bowel.
So What Was It?
I was moved to the gastroenterology ward and I had my own room and bathroom, which was nice now that I had a catheter to lug around with me, not to mention having my two ostomy bags – having my own room and bathroom just meant one less thing to be worrying about (ie. other patients). Eventually the results from the CT scan came back. The consultant popped round and I was expecting something bowel-related, perhaps a flare-up of my Crohn’s disease… but NO!
The CT scan had actually revealed two large ovarian cystic lesions (3.5cm on right, 5.5cm on left) and an enlarged kidney due to one of the cysts pressing against my ureter, which is what caused the infection and all the pain. The bladder was fine, so the only reason I was retaining urine was because of the pain (like my body basically just clenched!)
They switched me to a combination of IV paracetamol and Oramorph and it was practically euphoric. They gave me a crapload of heavy duty IV antibiotics too to fight off the infection. Eventually the pain started to go, and thankfully the catheter was removed and I was able to pass urine with no problem (actually it felt better, like my bladder was rebooted or something! Perhaps this infection had been going on for longer than I realised…?)
I was then seen by a gynaecological consultant, and they did a smear test and a few other swabs. They’ve also booked me in for an appointment for an ultrasound scan of my ovaries to work out what to do next about these cysts. It could be surgery to remove the cysts or they might just go away on their own. Obviously hoping it’s the latter!
Once the infection was treated and the pain was managed, I was discharged home… and OH MY, it was so nice to be home.
Don’t get me wrong, the hospital itself (Peterborough City Hospital) was awesome, and a MUCH better experience than Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) from 6 years ago. Granted, I don’t know what LRI is like now, but I am certainly glad I was at Peterborough for this week.
Peterborough City Hospital – My New Favourite Hospital
I have to say, Peterborough City Hospital a really nice modern building – it almost feels like a shopping centre rather than a hospital. It’s clean, fantastic facilities and the staff are all really nice. And the meal choices when you’re a patient? Jeez, I’ve seen posh restaurants have less meal choices than this place! You get a full menu to choose from and the food is actually really nice. Visiting hours are good (2-4 and 6-8) and having a single room certainly makes a difference; I don’t know if that’s the same in all wards, but where I was, I had my own room, and it not only helps with getting a good night’s sleep but being the introvert I am, I need my own space. Plus, as I eluded to above, having to lug a catheter and urine drainage bag around with me didn’t feel as bad in my own room as opposed to a bay full of other patients (and their visitors).
The only ‘bad’ thing that I experienced during my stay was that if you needed assistance from the nurse (eg. pain relief) during their shift handover, you were left waiting for quite a while. This was because the nurses are all busy during this time getting all the patient updates from the nurses on the previous shift. It’s understandable, but frustrating. It was the same at LRI and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the same in every hospital around the country. It just means that, as a patient, you are forced to plan ahead for the times when you ask for pain relief; if you ask for it half an hour before their handover, you should be fine. However, if you are a patient who is immobile and need help getting over to a commode, you can’t always predict when you need that, and you could be left waiting for quite a while… That being said, the Health Care Assistants were often available during handover, so while they are unable to administer medication, at least they can help with other things. Like I say, that’s the only ‘bad’ thing, and it’s not really something that can be helped… can it?
So now, I wait for my ultrasound and hope that these cysts bugger off on their own. I’ll keep you updated, of course. 🙂