Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Things that go bump in the night.......

Saturday 28th January 2012, a lovely day ended with going to our friends house for dinner. We had a lovely evening, lovely food, a bit of wine and beer and a few board games to end the evening. 2am the next morning I heard my husband up being very sick in the bathroom and again 20 minutes later, this carried on till about 10am the next morning when he fell into an exhausted sleep. Oops, prawns I thought, we'd had them for starters the previous evening and they are not my husbands favourite food! How do I tell my best friend that she's given my husband food poisoning? Anyway he got a little better through the day, but was still too weak to go to work the next day, but was at last keeping things down.
I made a bland macaroni cheese for supper that night, which he ate a decent portion of, but when I came to eat it found I had no appetite and my stomach felt like a washing machine on the spin cycle! Oh no, was this me also going down with food poisoning, I doubted it, I am very rarely ever sick, only ever about 6 times in my life and mostly as a small child. However as the evening wore on I certainly didn't feel right, never actually had a stomach ache, just felt odd, getting colder by the minute and feeling a little odd. So pyjamas on, I went up to bed, decided on the spare room as I didn't want to disturb the husband as he was still not right, it was about 8.30pm by this time and I shivered under the covers for a while before falling into a very restless sleep. I woke about midnight feeling that I needed to get to the bathroom quickly, I needed a wee and my ileostomy bag desperately needed emptying. I got to the loo, but what happened after that I don't remember, except I woke up again on the bathroom floor and lay there for a while before realising where I was, eventually hauled myself up thinking that my head hurt and the next thing I knew was Bob shouting at me and shaking me, yes I'd gone down again and this time my back was in agony, my head was throbbing and I was wedged awkwardly between the loo and the hand basin, worse still, my stoma bag had burst and the contents of an obviously upset stomach were spread everywhere and I could not move.
Bob dialled 999 and within a couple of minutes an ambulance had arrived and 2 paramedics were in the bathroom scratching their heads wondering how they were going to deal with whole sorry scene. They were wonderful, from covering my modesty, and not mentioning the mess I'd created, to just worrying as to how they were going to extract me from my entanglement with the bathroom furniture! Eventually I was in the ambulance for a very uncomfortable 30 minute journey to the hospital. we went the long way via the motorway to avoid the discomfort of the many potholes on the normal route!
It was eventually decided, after passing out again, being sick and more unmentionable problems with my ileostomy that I had the noro virus, obviously passed on to me by Bob, who we'd thought had food poisoning! My back had been x-rayed and deemed OK, but by this time, my ribs were hurting immensly and I had two beautiful black eyes, but as I had the noro virus, I was taken to an isolation room where I spent the next week. The nurses were wonderful, they never complained about how many times they had to change the sheets or wash me, I felt like a baby, no energy, no appetite (and anyone who knows me knows that really is a sign to worry about!) Eventually they decided I was well enough to be put on the normal ward and the first time my feet hit the ground I felt as weak as a kitten, not having been out of bed for almost  a week. A few days later, as I'd suffered a head injury and gone unconscious, I had to have a CT scan of my skull to check for head injuries, so I was wheeled down to the all too familiar CT room by a friendly porter. CT scan was done and I was taken back to the ward, however an hour later my lunch was snatched away from me and told I had to go back for another scan, this time with contrast and I wasn't allowed to eat anything for a while. Again, back to the CT department, canular in, contrast injected through the canular and another scan done. I went back and managed to scrounge a sandwich for lunch and then decided to go for a walk as I was beginning to feel a little stronger and was getting a little stir crazy. On my way back into the ward as I passed the nurses station a Dr, whether he was a junior or registrar I don't know, said to me quite casually "Oh, I need to talk to you about your scan, they've found something they are a bit concerned with." I got that horrible sick feeling, my legs already jelly like were wobbling fiercly and I went cold all over, "What do you mean concerned with? Head injury concern or cancer concern?" I asked, "Oh, cancer concern" he said casually, "We think it may be a secondary tumour!" As you can imagine, my head spun and I had to grasp the wall for support, while all around nurses etc were just getting on with their normal jobs. I was furious all of a sudden and told him I was feeling very faint, had just recovered from noro virus and did he think the middle of a busy corridor was the best place to break this sort of news? He hung his head and mumbled probably not, at which I told him that I should hear this sort of news with some support and in a more private place! I never did get the support that day except that I rang my son immediately who I knew was working nearby and my husband came as quickly as possible. Anyway, my oncologist arranged an MRI scan and after a horrible two week wait I heard that I had a benign mass inside my head that was made up of lots of blood vessels and had probably been there years, not the best of news, but much better than it could have been, but now I've had another drug denied me as Avastin is not conducent with blood vessels that could bleed easily, especially in the brain!

You never know what is around the corner in this game, I met some wonderfully caring people and then again some people who are born with their feet firmly implanted in their mouths. Surely common sense tells you a bit of diplomacy is required when imparting bad news? I've had bad news several times now and it varies in it's telling. I know clinicians do have 'courses' or whatever in how to impart this sort of news, but do they actually listen, or think about what it is like to receive such news? Perhaps patients telling clinicians what it is like to live with the roller coaster that is cancer and all the emotions we go through, may touch a chord, at the moment from what I hear from other patients the imparting of such news or worse is similar to my own experiences. Clinicians, you only get one chance to get such news right, please make sure you do, it's what's left of our lives you're playing with.


  1. Thanks for this post. Awareness regarding this is required so that the number of Ostomates and this disease is reduced. Hope so that the Ostomy Lingerie will help them in making their life somewhat comfortable and painless.