Luckily the walk in centre is a short car drive away so we employed the services of our next door neighbour to take us over. We waited for around 30m when I went in and spoke to the doctor. For anyone who has ever gone to the walk in centre, 98% of the time, they won't even touch you and they'll just advise you to go the hospital. This was one of those times. The only medicine they prescribed was some fizzy pop (which apparently helps the issue). Up to this point, any solids or liquids have not passed the blockage but this time the lemonade went down with a little discomfort. It was my first feeling of optimism for 6 hours. I now had a choice....find something to eat and see how it feels or go straight the hospital. I opted for the former and we found a chippy and I took one chip from the packet and took a bite. It slowly went down and then stayed there. It hadn't worked. It's fair to say I was devo'd! I ran into the nearby KFC (ironically) to vom the chip (sans chicken). It was time to go to the real hospital.
We walked home and informed next door that we required a second ride. I took a bag of 3 hour essentials (ipad, headphones, snacks, kindle) and we headed to Aintree. During the walk in sequence I was relatively comfortable and the pain was dormant but the line chip had kick started it all again and by the time we arrived at the A&E car park, my chest pains were bad and I HAD to at least attempt to be sick to relieve the pressure. I ran out the car and did my business and signed into the A&E dept. We saw at least 20 peeps in the waiting area with varying degrees of smack-head esque conditions, one elderly woman I had seen in the walk in an hour ago with a nasty gash....on her head. My name was called 5 mins later and I couldn't believe my luck. My priority status must be severe. A guy took me in a room and confirmed my details and condition. Once I gave it all, the guy said "hmmm in not sure what they'll do, take a seat." I walked out and realised it was just a triage meet and greet. We had to wait along with everyone else.
Fast forward an hour and we're watching the waiting room TV, what channel would you imagine would be playing in an A&E? BBC1? SKY NEWS? DAVE? If you chose Dave then you'd be right. We saw 2 eps of QI, Russell Howard's News and some shit where they give two 'funny' people a suitcase of money and send them to Bulgaria. This was all debatable however as the volume was quite low and the whole room was on the edge of their seats for the next name called. Eventually after having some blood taken and a couple of vom trips, I was eventually seen by a real doctor in the ward. Questions were asked and after a 15m wait, a solution was given. I was to to have a camera out down my throat but not for another 12 hours which meant I had to stay in for the night. I was placed on a drip of saline fluids so I could feed without using my faulty throat and wheeled into the overnight ward.
I had planned no overnight stay so I had no spare clothes or toiletries. The porter wheeled me into a room with 5 other men, all over the age of 50 with various levels of pain. The guy with the most discomfort was next to my bed and constantly howled in pain whenever he moved an inch. It was then that I pulled my ipad out which would save my sanity for the night. It wasn't there. If pulled it out of the bag at home and forgotten to put it back and it was now too late to get it back. This may not be a big deal normally but in a condition where you don't really fancy sleeping with something stuck in your throat for fear of not waking up, it was devastating. To add to that woe, I had 24% on my iphone battery which basically means I'm fucked. Sarah gave me her kindle which consisted of a lot of chic lit tosh and we said our goodbyes.
The IV drip was in my left arm and the IV bag was immovable on the right of the bed which meant the cable had to go across my body and that wound me up as I sleep on my left and I didn't wanna accidentally pull it out in the night. I threw on two hospital gowns so there was no butt showage and I settled in for the night. It was a very restless sleep peppered with a couple of visits from the ward doctor and moans from the other patients.
I woke at 6am but I weren't to know that as I couldn't waste phone battery and a clock wasn't visible. I deregistered Sarah's kindle to my own account and found a cheap football memoir to read until the nurses came around to replace my saline. Then some cretinous monster came round who wore a nurses outfit but seemed like a simple waitress. She started asking patients if they wanted tea and breakfast. I assumed they would know the reason for my visit and not come near me but she asked me and when I said I can't eat or drink before my procedure she looked as if I'd just told her the storylines for next weeks Hollyoaks. She went off in a huff.
Around 11, it was time for my close up. A friendly porter took me over to the department and over there it seemed much more professional. I had 5 people looking after me and they explained the procedure. I'd have sedation and then a wire pushed down my throat which had a camera on the end. They would take a biopsy and lasso the blockage. There was just one problem....
When I woke up at 6am, I felt pretty good. So good that I had a strong feeling that the chicken bread hybrid had slipped down into my stomach. The only way to confirm if I was better was to eat or drink summet but that wasn't allowed before the procedure. I had a cheeky finger of water and it went down fine. I was 80% sure that it had sorted itself out and the camera would only confirm that. But with it happening so often, I may as well bit the bullet (if I could swallow a bullet) and see if the examination shows any permanent issue. So I kept quiet.
The procedure was HELL. They tell you that you'll experience major discomfort as it enters and minor discomfort during. I call bullshit. It was torture. I was on my side with someone next to me whose job it is to simply suction up the puke that comes from my gag reflex. THAT'S HER WHOLE JOB. It's like a medical fluffer. Anyway it felt like it went on forever but I assume it was 3 mins max. They pulled out the wire and any charisma I had beforehand had been obliterated. I was a pukey shaken mess. I was took back into a recovery room where they explained the results. As expected, they couldn't see the blockage but they did see why it was happening. It was narrow down there with some acidy stuff which causes it to happen. It was good to know I wasn't crazy but there was a sense of an anticlimax as none of us would see the chicken culprit. It's like Jaws but you don't see the shark.
They took me back to the commoner ward which if you can believe me, was to be the worst bit of the trip. They told me that I was to get something to eat (soft foods only) and then I could get discharged. The time was 11.45am. I left the hospital at 4pm!? I was so frustrated.
The food came round at 1pm and the same ogre brought it around. They gave me a plate. Bear in mind, I was to be told I would have to have soft foods. I was given crispy fishcakes and crispy croquettes. I told her the situation and she had the same gormless mong face that she pulled earlier. It took 45mins to find me a plate of ravioli which I wolfed down and it went down great. The time now 2pm I was ready to go, I pressed my button and asked for the IV needle to be pulled out of my arm. 25mins later, a young nurse came over and was milliseconds from removing it when an older nurse shouted and told her to take the IV out of the patient next to me. She got up, did that one and never came back to me. I was furious. I waited an appropriate amount of time and then begun to pull it out myself. The needle was th easiest bit, the hardest was the tape that stuck to my arm hair. I eventually got it off, walked up, out of the ward and placed it on the nurses desk in a bed pan and walked back to my bed. They looked dead angry but it's not my fault they were dickheads who didn't communicate with me at all. Next was the prescription I was waiting for. Apparently it was to be brought to me, again I buzzed for the nurse and said I'm perfectly capable of going to the hospital chemist and getting it. They said no. So I got dressed, bag packed and sat there with a proper face on. Sometimes the nurse walked past and I put on my best 'pissed off' face. It didn't seem to work.
Around 3.30pm, a real doctor came, summed everything up, what happened, what's gonna happen going forward and the medicine I need to take. After he left, things sped along and I was declared annoyed enough to leave. I made my departure and got a taxi. The driver was glad that "I wasn't a crazy".
So at 4pm I got home to my wife and mother in law tending to a major garden redesign. The missus informed me that I was allowed to feel sorry for myself until tomorrow morning (charming) and that there was food leftover from lunch.
I reheated the food and sat down. And it was tasty too. Chicken.