I’m not going to lie, writing part 1 was hard because I had almost mentally blocked out what I went through but being reminded of it made me feel happy that I now know what I have, I don’t have the terror of thinking I was basically dying. Writing this out has had a weird therapeutic feel to it. Anyhoo, this about my hospital stay in Swindon’s Great Western Hospital.
I arrived at A&E again, for a Friday late afternoon it was surprisingly empty. Some staff member asked me loads of questions where I essentially repeated my story over and over, struggling to talk because I had zero energy at this point. I was put into, I guess, extra A&E section, where it was for people at high risk. I had my pulse checked, my temperature checked, my heart rate checked, all were bad. I then had to repeat my story again to the doctor there (second time that day), she stuck a finger up my butt which hurt this time as my ass was friggin’ red raw, I had more blood taken, then left for a couple of hours with nurses checking on me now and again. I was scared, tired and had no clue what was going to happen to me. I had my chest and abdomen X-Rayed, wheeled back to my bed and left again. Finally someone told me I was to go into an observation ward for the weekend (obviously no specialists were on, only local weekend doctors), so I was put in there, hooked up with a drip to get my fluids, had a nurse ask me loads of questions, repeated my story for a third time then given a menu for dinner then my mum and step-dad bought me some basics as I never took a bag with me then left me. I was TERRIFIED! I had never stayed in a hospital before, I didn’t know what to do or what to expect. I had soup for dinner, something really acidic, given an anti-sickness tablet, something injected into my cannula (I think it was antibiotics, I can’t remember), then left to ‘sleep’. You can’t sleep in a hospital to be honest. It was the only time during my stay were I was given the window bay, so I spent most of my night looking out, hoping everything would be sorted tomorrow and I could go home. I dosed off and on, finally sleeping only to be woken up with a nurse putting something in the cannula again whilst checking my vitals. I was hooked up to a faulty machine that beeped every 10 minutes which I ended up switching it off, I wasn’t supposed to but it was broken so there was no point of it being on. I was done.
The next day I was cranky, angry and desperate. I hadn’t slept well, I was getting no answers and no one seemed to know what was happening. My mum & step-dad came to visit where I essentially broke down in tears because I just wanted to go home. I didn’t appreciate my mum snapping at me to ‘stop crying’ but I forget she was worried too and doesn’t cope well in stressful situations, I just wanted them to leave as they weren’t offering me any reassurance. I had my books though, they were to be my escapism over the 10 days here. All of Saturday nothing happened, although I did almost start a fight with a nurse who wasn’t happy that I hardly ate anything, again they are not specialists and didn’t understand that eating was pointless as it went right through me, I actually believe they thought I was anorexic. At 7 at night I was wheeled down to the x-ray room to have further tests on my stomach, wheeled back, told I was moving to another room as this was now to be the men’s room. New room, new faces, new people to re-tell my story to. Oh and I was put next to a drug addict who yacked the whole night, yeah I didn’t sleep well that night either. Sunday arrived and a head doctor of some description came to talk to me, re-telling my story for the fifth time to her. She told me I was going to the Neptune ward tomorrow which was the gastro ward. I thankfully hadn’t thrown up once since being in the hospital as the anti-sickness tablets worked a charm but I was still going to the toilet maybe 5 or 6 times where I was still passing nothing but blood. I had more blood taken from me and was actually a little happy that I was getting put into a proper ward. But I was given a paper hat, yeah it wasn’t a hat. They needed a stool sample. I remember sitting on it and doing nothing, it was like my colon was like ‘NOPE, NOOOO, NOPE.’ Finally I passed some bloody sludge, apologised to the nurse that that was all I could do, and hoped for the best.
Monday I was wheeled to the Neptune ward and dumped in a bay that wasn’t a bay. That’s right, they had run out of room and I was shoved in a corner where it had no buzzer, no lights, no plugs, no curtain. Nothing. I asked the nurse what I should do if I needed help, she just laughed and said ‘oh just yell down the corridor, we’ll hear you.’ As a shy person I can tell you I wasn’t going to be doing that. My cannula was actually starting to hurt in my right arm, I finally got hold of a nurse who looked at it and said, just give it a few more days. A moody looking doctor came by with some junior doctors, asked me to tell my story again for the sixth time, they all took their notes then the moody doctor actually looked super pissed and said ‘your GP should have put you here after the antibiotics didn’t work, gastroenteritis would never last that long and they should know that. I am really disappointed that you were left as long as you were.’ I actually felt better knowing that even they thought my GPs were jackasses. I was then left again with a promise of getting a proper bay when they free up some room. I tried to sleep in my bay that wasn’t a bay but it really was pointless.
From now on I can’t remember what happened on what days so I’ll just talk about the different events. I was finally given a proper bay, where I could actually buzz for a nurse if I needed, I had more blood taken which I nearly passed out from, even the nurse was like ‘I’ll stop now, I think you’re going to pass out’. I was bored as hell, in my 10 day stay I read 4 books, completed 2 quiz books & listened to every radio station they had. I was moved again to a different room, then moved again to the bay that wasn’t a bay where the head/moody doctor yelled at the nurses for putting me there, apologised to me then moved me back into a proper bay again which I thankfully remained. I had a flexiscope done. Head/moody doctor said ‘it’ll be fine, it won’t hurt, you won’t need any sedatives, none of my patients has had a problem with it’ fucking liar. I did ask for sedatives (oh & I had an enema which was the weirdest sensation ever), they didn’t work and I near hit the roof when the camera went up against my inflamed colon, I actually cried out in pain (and I have a high pain threshold), the nurses were super kind not that did shit for the pain. The head/moody doctor came into my room and told me it was colitis (so they thought) then left me to ‘sleep’. I didn’t, I phoned my mum still in tears from the pain I went through. The next day I had a lovely IBD nurse come speak to me who explained the results of my flexiscope, gave me a million leaflets on IBD, explained why I was going on steroids, the side effects, everything! Even more awesome was she was Scottish so we chatted about Scotland most of the time. I felt more reassure but I already knew this is what I had, the internet was right for once so it was no shock. Oh and I talked to a nutritionist but she didn’t really have much to offer as she straight up told me I was a smart girl who probably knew what I should and shouldn’t eat.
I had more blood taken although I had now had a collapsed vein (which meant they had to find different places to take blood), the cannula in my right arm had made my hand and arm go completely stiff and bloated and FINALLY someone removed it and said I no longer needed one anyway. The relief of actually managing to move my arm was magic, I felt I could sleep a little better too. Well during the day, fuck trying to sleep at night. I was in a room with three other old women, where one shouted NURSE (instead of using her buzzer) every 10 minutes during the night, I also had the bright ceiling light shine directly onto me, so yeah I didn’t bother sleeping during the night. At lunch times my mum would take me to the cafe for something to eat as the vegetarian options in my ward’s menu weren’t great and quite frankly I preferred the cafe food. I felt a little better, but I was still passing nothing but blood but definitely not as frequently, I sometimes had days were my stomach felt a bit dodgy but I put it down to stress. The steroids were clearly working for me. I spent another weekend in the hospital with a promise of going home on Monday. Although that weekend consisted of more failed sleeping attempts, an epic nose bleed, more failed attempts at trying to draw blood and essentially turning into a human pin cushion. But Monday was home day.
Monday arrived, head/moody doctor came to see me with his juniors trailing behind him and this is where I nearly socked him one. He explained everything to me again with colitis although he said that wasn’t a definite diagnosis, it could be Crohn’s as they saw the cobble stone effect in my colon which was more a trait of Crohn’s than colitis. He then turned to me and said, we could have more camera work done if you like where I said ‘no thanks, I’d rather wait until I’m healed, it hurt so much when I got it done.’ He had the audacity to fucking laugh in my face at that, I’m surprised he didn’t drop down dead from the look I was giving him, even the juniors looked awkward. I have just been through a horrible nightmare, with a traumatic experience with a flexiscope and you LAUGH at me. Even my IBD nurse advised me to not get camera work done anytime soon until I’m completely healed. So, even though I was still passing nothing but blood, I was given a prescription of steroids, calcium tablets and anti-sickness tablets and discharged, I went down to the waiting area to get my meds (was there for 4 hours, luckily my mum & step-dad were there), finally got my drugs, nipped into the car, drove forever to get home (tea-time traffic) and ugh, home. Mum did up my room and made my bed so it was the best sensation in the world to collapse on my beautiful, comfortable, soft, gorgeous bed. I had dinner which was macaroni cheese and it was the best thing I’d ever eaten. I had continued to lose more weight in hospital so my goal was to get my weight back as I was a friggin’ skeleton. That night I went to bed and slept (only woke up once, as someone in my dream shouted ‘NURSE!’ yep that haunted me for a few nights). I woke up in the morning feeling like a new person. I went to the bathroom and it was solid with a teeny tiny trace of blood. I nearly cried I was so happy. I told my mum and we both went ‘YAAAAAAY’
Happy to see poop. Yeah, this disease makes you be happy at the strangest of things. Part 3 will be about what I did after my hospital stay.