On Monday 12th July I woke up with a stomache ache. It was a feeling I recognised from a year or two ago when I thought I hadn’t heated up some risotto rice properly. The day before I’d cooked a frozen pizza which maybe I’d underdone a little, so that was probably it: minor food poisoning. I took the day off work and just lounged around the house thinking the pain would probably pass by Tuesday.
Tuesday I woke up with a different feeling, as if the pain had moved down a little bit, but it was more bearable than the day before, so I went into work. I said to my manager that I still didn’t feel 100% so I would probably do a short day. He didn’t mind. He suggested if it gets worse I go to the doctor. I said I would but knew I probably wouldn’t as I didn’t feel too bad by this point.
Having left the office at 17:00, I started to feel a little discomfort in my guts. By the time I got off the bus and started walking up on to the platform I was starting to feel pretty uncomfortable. By the time I managed to limp into the station toilet, thinking that’s what I needed, I was doubled up in agony.
I quickly realised that I didn’t need the toilet as the searing pain spread in to my groin, but I still remember thinking to myself: Is this one of those times where you would actually call 999?
Luckily Vic turned up so we got a cab to Epsom General. I was going crazy, sweating, my hands were going numb, but to cut to the chase, after giving me morphine which didn’t work, the doctor diagnosed acute peritonitis and put me down for emergency surgery. Basically my appendix had burst and was spewing out whatever poisonous shit that it does in these circumstances. People have died from this of course, and apparantly 100 years ago you basically had no chance, and even now after 48 hours of it bursting you’re still a goner.
Despite the emergency I had to wait several hours to be transferred to a bed at St.Helliers, and when I eventually got there they insisted on rediagosing me themselves, “oh, Epsom always say it’s urgent” wheeling me back and forth for X-rays to check for kidney stones, sticking fingers up my backside despite the doctor at Epsom already doing that, not giving me any painkillers because they weren’t allowed, and then telling me my surgery would be delayed. When the third doctor came round prodding me and said “yes… I think it is your appendix” I felt like screaming “oh for fuck’s sake please just cut me open and have a look”. I went in for surgery the next day around noon. Good job I didn’t have anything serious.
Waking up with a catheter, and a drain sticking out of my abdomen, was not the most pleasant of experiences, but they took the catheter out on the Thursday and the drain on the Friday, which enabled me to start learning how to walk and go to the toilet again. They let me start eating and drinking on Friday too.
Some of the highlights of being on the ward were the man next to me vomitting, and an elderly gentleman who regularly moaned to the nurses that he couldn’t move his leg, before being reminded that his leg was actually broken.
On Friday night I was moved to a ‘quieter’ ward for recovery, where I shared with a man who consistenly moaned about his pain, despite having a far less serious version of what I had (i.e. he’d had his appendix out before it could burst), and subjected us to conversational gold like this:
Patient A: “I’m looking forward to seeing my little girl later”
Wife of Patient B: “Aw yeah, how old is she?”
Patient A: “A year and 9 months”
Wife of Patient B: “Aw they’re great at that age. They walk around a bit as if they’re drunk don’t they”
Patient A: “yeah, well my mate once gave her beer and I said I wasn’t happy with that, you know, you can’t give beer to a dog.”
Wife of Patient B: “Er… are we talking about a little girl or a dog?”
Patient A: “Yeah, my dog. I call her my little girl.”
So as I write this I’ve been home for over a week, no longer in pain, finished my antibiotics and had my stitches out at the doctor’s, but still very easily exhausted. I’ve been signed off from work until 9th August. I’ve never had my diary cleared so quickly in my life before (including the Pistol Gang gig!).
I have watched several films including all 3 Godfathers, The Deerhunter, Quadrophenia, About Schmidt, Hot Fuzz, Rat Race, The Damned United, Apollo 13, along with the first 2 seasons of the Sopranos and several episodes of the IT Crowd. I have also read the Day of the Jackal. Quite a productive use of time I think you’ll agree.
Thank you to everyone who texted me, phoned me, facebooked me and visited me. Special thanks to everyone at work for buying me the Sopranos, but extra special thanks go to Vic for sticking with me the first night, and consistantly letting her workload build up to come in and help me with all the degrading things like washing me and helping me to the toilet.
Hope to see you all soon.