Saturday, 24 May 2014

#18 More Accident and Emergency - Part Two

*this story makes no sense if you haven't read part one so if you haven't, go back one post*

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.

Adam Yates

Thursday, 22 May 2014

#17 More Accident and Emergency - Part One

On Sunday, a lump of chicken entered my throat and remained there for nearly 24 hours. This is that story.

For a good few years now, I've had trouble swallowing certain foods, mostly breads and meats. It doesn't always happen but often it will get stuck and I have two options that I have to negotiate as quickly as possible. One is taking a big swig of fluids hence pushing it down, or secondly, self vomiting and pushing it back up again. This situation happened on Sunday as I was tucking into a chicken sandwich. I decided on option 1 and drank some coca cola but rather than washing it down, the coke didn't budge it and instead I began to choke on the tasty black nectar. I ran to a toilet and threw up the drink but alas no chicken. It's at this point that I revert normally to option 2, getting my fingers down my food tube and kick starting a disgusting but necessary reaction. That reaction provided much mess but not that elusive lump of poultry.

The feeling I experience is hard to explain. Once I know I have food stuck in me. I AM able to breathe moderately easily and talk at times but over a short period of time, those luxuries expire and I'm forced to return to the toilet bowl and attempt another sick run. Whether the sick run brings up the food or not, the process gives me 5 or so mins of much needed comfort of sorts before the process is repeated. I spent over an hour in the disabled toilet in my workplace doing that process. In the meantime, my face begins to swell, my blood vessels burst leaving my head a blotted portrait of disgust (hence the blog picture). Also if I really give it a good go, my nose bleeds from the strain adding more awkwardness and distress. I text my colleague, tom to tell him my issue and not to expect me on the shops floor anytime soon. This was going the distance and I had no plan b.

I had started to time my cycle to try and see if there was a way I could get gone in between bouts of vomiting. I managed to get it to 10m so I got out, said my goodbyes and headed out the front door with my bag and my lump of chicken. I made it 5 mins but no more and I ran into the nearby Met Quarter toilets. There began another hour of throat torture. This was made even worse by the fact that unidentified men were unloading their bowels one cubicle away from me. They must have felt so grateful, able to use their toilets to their correct usage but little did they know, I was now, swapping my fingers to a standard pen, trying to tech my gag reflex easier. My vomitting strength was getting weaker and I was getting more uncomfortable. I then had to make a call, literally to my wife, to inform her of my plight. She has known about my food issue for some time and regularly mocks me for my inability to swallow my food, blaming my chewing skills for the problem. She was, however, sympathetic on this occasion and I told her my next mission...getting home.

I left the Met and attempted to get a taxi home. The driver must have found me wet rude and silent but little did they know that a) I was choking on white meat and b) I would have been silent regardless. I reached The Strand in Bootle, one of Europe's elite shopping mecca's when I couldn't last any longer. I paid my fare and ran in to find my next home. The men's and disableds was locked so I ran in the women's, found a attendant and played charades for 10 seconds to get her to open the bogs. I did my pukey business and resumed my journey with a second taxi home.

Once I got in my house, I relaxed but I was so weak with attempts it wasn't looking good. Plans were set in motion that I was to head for the local walk in, guided with my missus, driven by the helpful next door neighbour and our child minded by my mother in law on short notice.

And so began my trip 'into the system' and the second half of my nightmare....