After a long time of putting on a brave face and slapping on a smile I finally cracked on Saturday morning. I have been plodding along, since I had the stoma separation, hoping it all gets better but have been in a lot of pain on a daily basis. I have been taking the maximum dosage of paracetemol and trying to kid myself that it is all getting better. With every bag change both the stoma site and the skin surrounding it was becoming increasingly painful. The actual gap has been closing and there was no evidence of infection that I could see, so I just assumed it was normal.
I hate making a fuss and am not very good at saying when enough is enough. I just keep on going until I crack. The last straw came after I spent the night constantly coughing and blowing my nose. The pain around Margaret became excruciating. I couldn't straighten up when trying to walk and when the stinging/burning pain got really acute I was frozen in pain. I think it took having this cold and feeling down right awful to give in to how bad I have felt; no more brave face for Gabi.
Me, very uncomfortable.
Mum rang the hospital who said we had to call 111 and I would be told what to do from there. I did this and spoke to such a kind lady who took all my details down and asked lots of questions. The questions required Yes/No answers, and each answer I gave led on to the next question. My answers led to a notice saying I needed a transit ambulance to come pick me up and take me to hospital. I was so shocked and my "please don't make a fuss" head came back. The thought of being taken to hospital via a transit ambulance is mortifying. After speaking to my Mum, the lady agreed that an ambulance wouldn't be sent but I had to be seen by a Dr within two hours.
The local hospital then gave me a call and I set off with my Mum for an emergency appointment. The Dr was so lovely, I hobbled in looking down right horrific. My face puffy due to steroids, my hair scraped back in to a bun, one blood shot eye, a completely blocked nose and a croaky throat. I was definitely not looking my best.
Mr Dr went through my symptoms and gave me a sympathetic look, telling me I was clearly trying very hard to keep on going. He made a very good point, saying that they could very easily treat the pain but what was more worrying was why I was in so much pain... something I strangely hadn't given much thought to.
He was concerned that three weeks on from surgery it really shouldn't be this bad.
He then wanted to have a little peep at Margaret. I sat there, holding myself awkwardly, trying to stop the pain as he had a good look. He poked around the area and I tell you I nearly hit the ceiling the pain was so bad. It really did take my breath away, and he was only pressing very lightly. He noted that the whole area around Margaret was swollen and slightly red. To look at, Margaret didn't look too awful or horribly infected but Mr Dr was concerned that there may be underlying infection underneath the skin.
I have taken a photo of poor old Margaret, but I'm not sure if you guys really want to see her, in all her ugly glory...
Mr Dr bought in his colleague, Mr Dr 2, who enjoyed having his turn at poking around (as you can see Margaret was very popular) sending me into agony again. Poor guys, they were so gentle and so kind but the pain was crippling. They did a swab of the area and had a chat about the best course of action whilst Mum and I put a bag around Margaret.
Mr Dr prescribed me two sets of antibiotics and my old favourite, Tramadol, for the pain. I also had a very kind telling off. He told me that I should never again sit around in this much pain, or with an infection, especially not after surgery. Infection can turn really dangerous and really nasty, very quickly. I have definitely learnt my lesson that sometimes it really is okay to make a fuss. I keep going and keep going until I crash and then it is all much worse than it could have been.
I was sent home under the instructions that if I did not feel better within 12-24 hours I would have to head back up to my surgical hospital to see the surgeon or someone more specialist on the colorectal ward. This is something I really do not want to have to do.
I am a bit concerned about the Tramadol as last time the side effects made me feel so weird and nauseous. It makes me feel like my arms and legs are floating and not attached to my body. I did work out that I need to have food in my stomach before taking them other wise they really make me want to be sick.
Despite their nastiness I am hoping that they will let me get some proper rest.
Since leaving hospital I have yet to have a good nights sleep, and I am a girl who needs my sleep! I barely get into a proper sleep before having to wake up to empty the bag, this is happening at 1am, 4am and 7:30am... Each time I wake up, I am instantly aware of the pain and subsequently it takes me about half an hour to get back to sleep again. I cant lie on my side which I find so so irritating. I wake up exhausted. I am carrying myself so awkwardly to try and alleviate the pain, causing me cramping muscles all up my neck, back and arms.
I really am in a sorry state.
After hospital I spent the rest of the day under a quilt on the sofa, feeling very sorry for myself. Luckily I had my trusty companion by my side.
My brave face and Flynny dog
Sunday was in general a much better day, although the pain had not improved I was in a much better mood. It is amazing how a bit of sun can make you feel so much brighter. I think my cold was also starting to lift, so I wasn't feeling so poorly. I slept in until 12:30, which I think is my record since I got out of hospital. Although my sleep was disrupted, I just stayed in bed and tried to rest as much as possible. My brother was playing an end of season game at a football day and I really wanted to get out of the house. I dosed myself up on tramadol and headed there with Matt, Mum and Dad. The idea was that Dans football team played the coaches and committee, but they were down on a few played so Matt ended up joining in! He obviously wasn't expecting to play so was running around in pumps and jeans against a load of 16 year olds. Dad headed home to prepare the BBQ and Mum and I sat, relaxing in the sun. Even though I wasn't doing much, it was just nice to get out of the house, do something normal and be amongst people. Now I have a very dodgy history when it comes to watching ball games, I have been hit on the head more times than I can remember. Somehow the ball always finds me, everyone always finds this hilarious, but I can tell you its blimen painful! Luckily, I got through the match with no football attacks.
As the day wore on the pain got really bad, it reduced me to tears it was so acute. Being in pain is extremely exhausting, and quite scary. I find being told I shouldn't be in pain, really worrying - what is going on in that tummy of mine?!
Me & Matt, Jakey being cheeky & a few snacks before the BBQ - all these things cheered me up
after a rubbish time.
Thank you all for your continued love and support, it really gets me through. I have also been trying to spread awareness for this disease as much as possible. If you could all share, RT or pass the blog on I would be so grateful. The more people that read it, the more people will understand the disease and the stigma attached to having an IBD or an ostomy will be gone.
Lots of love