Just in case this would affect you, I want to state that this will discuss: vomit, surgery and female anatomy.
I’m just over three weeks post surgery and, as encouraged by Twitter, I thought it was time to update you all on what’s happened over the past couple of weeks! Note: it’s not the happiest of stories, there were some frankly disgusting moments BUT I’m so much better already and I’m so grateful for the NHS!
On Wednesday 7th February I was laying in bed when I experienced intense stomach pain not dissimilar to awful period cramps. But these wouldn’t go. I remember laying there contemplating calling an ambulance and having no idea what to do. I called my friend who was upstairs, as by this point I was unable to move, who encouraged me to call 111. The paramedic arrived and I was told I had a high temperature and low blood pressure. At this point, I was informed I could either go to the hospital with her as it could either be something serious or stay at home as it could pass. Me being me, I naturally couldn’t make the decision myself so my friends told me to go, better to be safe than sorry, right? I was admitted straight to majors and saw surgeons who suspected I had appendicitis, but they weren’t certain so admitted me to the ward. I am the luckiest human as my housemates (Katie, Scarlett & Ceri-Ann) stayed with me until I got settled. By this point, I was on morphine, other pain medication and fluids as I was nill-by-mouth.
Thursday was a blur of pain and exhaustion and a lot more pain. At around 2am I was told I was definitely suffering from appendicitis and I needed surgery. Despite having incredible treatment so far and having the most wonderful nurses on my ward I found myself in a difficult situation with surgeons. Although my health was decreasing I wasn’t in a ‘crisis’ and therefore they decided to postpone my surgery another day, despite
having kept me nill-by-mouth and promising it would happen. This was upsetting but I know how strained the NHS is. My dad had, however, come down to visit me which I was super grateful for as I really needed taking care of. Funny anecdote: When I was super spaced on morphine I found one of the doctors really hilarious and kept telling him so and told him we’d meet up at a later date.
Early Friday morning I was finally taken down to surgery and I just have to say how amazing the nurses and anesthesiologist was. I was super, super anxious and they were so calming and helpful. I don’t know any details of my surgery except that it went well and I came round really quickly. Once I got back to the ward my dad was waiting for me and I just spent the day really happy and resting, feeling so much better. By Saturday I was much better, my mum came to collect me and I got to go home!
Alas! The story is far from over. Around 5pm on Sunday I started to feel really unwell, as bad as I did before surgery. My heart rate spiked to 130 and my temperature was 38.5. Once again I found myself calling 111 and was told to get to A&E pretty quickly. My friend Katie came with me because she is an absolute angel. Upon arrival, I was pretty quickly seen, hooked up to IV paracetamol, IV fluids and was moved to majors. Unfortunately, it was massively busy and the staff just couldn’t deal with it. I waited in a corridor for ages and wasn’t given the medication I needed. Bloods were taken and I was informed I’d need a CT quickly. By this point, Harry had taken over on looking after me,
my amazing friends never once wanted to leave me alone so took it in shifts to see me. They finally got around to my CT and I have to say it was a comical experience. For those of you who have also had one, I wonder if you’ve experienced the same thing – when the dye is injected it feels like you’ve peed yourself and I just couldn’t stop laughing. I was then taken back to majors where all I can say is the treatment was horrendous. I didn’t see a doctor at all for a total of 16 hours, they forgot to check my blood results which when they finally did were majorly squiffy and I needed multiple IVs. They kept forgetting to monitor me or administer any of my medication. Thankfully my parents arrived and we bumped into one of the surgeons who I’d seen only a few days before who got the ball rolling. He saw my CT and saw that, thankfully, I didn’t have any infection or free-fluid at my wound site, got my medication and got me on the waiting list for a bed. It was safe to say the treatment really wasn’t good and I knew I’d be in the hospital for a while. My family returned home for work and rest and Katie returned to spend the night with me because she’s an angel. We were absolutely ridiculous and delirious and there’s a photo of us looking totally out of it and hilarious which perhaps I’ll share one day with you all. We were there for hours and come Monday morning Harry took over looking after me. When I finally saw a doctor it was confirmed that I was suffering from multiple stuck and burst ovarian cysts which explained a handful of my symptoms. Thank goodness I was finally admitted back to the ward so I got a proper bed.
That night things took a turn for the worst and the water I’d been managing to keep down stopped. I was throwing up even taking just a few sips of water or medication and for me, this was hell. As we entered Tuesday I was getting worse and worse and I was throwing up continuously despite not eating or drinking, the pain wasn’t improving with any pain medication and I was not looking remotely well. At some point, Katie and Scarlett came in to see me and came down with me for ultrasounds to check my cysts and see if there was anything else going on and I’m so grateful. My darling dad also came back to the hospital to see me as I just couldn’t function or cope without him. The doctors were deeply confused contemplating surgery complications, reactions to medications and essentially every other possible issue. Overnight something was finally revealed – when my IV paracetamol was stopped my temperature spiked straight to 39.8! Finally answers!
When the doctors came around on Wednesday and more tests had been done it came to light that I had a viral infection. It was suspected that I’d had this all along and, because my body is so damaged (bloody eating disorders), this along with ovarian cysts and appendicitis had all impacted each other resulting in my severe symptoms. Thankfully around lunchtime on Wednesday, I was managing water and all my symptoms were subsiding. I got to have tomato soup and slowly but surely I felt so much better and kept it down. That evening I was DISCHARGED! After the absolute whirlwind of that hospital trip, I have to say I was so excited to get out.
It was decided that I should go back to my hometown with my family because I was frankly too poorly to stay in Brighton or go to university. During my hospital visit my wound had reopened and unfortunately, it was still bleeding when I got home. My mum being the incredible mum she is managed to get me dressings and do the best we could. She came round to see me on the 15th, Thursday, too and I was so happy to be at home and resting. I also got friend visits throughout my time at home, many cards, flowers and so many messages and I can not even begin to explain and my gratitude can never fully be expressed in words. Huge thank yous to anyone.
On the 17th my wound was still open which was frankly awful so I had to go to the walk-in. Unfortunately, the initial attempt was unsuccessful so I had to return again that evening. This was holding so the next day mum, my grandparents and I went out for cake and, similarly to my first shower after surgery, this first venture outside was so wonderful! Note: the cake was incredible.
Heavens knows why my luck is so awful but I ended up having to go to A&E on the 19th as it just wouldn’t stop reopening. It was a horrendously long visit but I finally got to the surgical assessment unit and they found out the answer. No here’s the grossest part of it all. Upon observation, the surgeon decided that he would take swabs to test for infection. Much to my surprise he then proceeded to stab the next swab straight through my wound and there was an explosion of blood and tissue. It was vile. Following this, he informed me that my healing rates are off so my external wound was healing much quicker than the internal wound resulting in build ups of fluids and blood so the next step was to cut open my internal stitches and leave the wound open to heal differently. This was a little much for me so I got my mum in with me while they shoved a literal pair of scissors into my stomach and started snipping. Not something I wished to experience.
Thankfully this was the last hospital trip I’ve had! On the 23rd I got to return to Brighton to my favourite people and place and I’m resting and healing so well. My wound is finally healing properly and I hope to get back to university on Monday! I’m so excited. I’ve said it once but I want to say again: thank you to every single friend and family member who messaged me, visited me, sent me gifts etc – they all never failed to make me smile. And to my boyfriend, Erin, who is endlessly supportive and understanding. Here’s to making the rest of 2018 healthier!