So, I was now on my way to A&E, pretty fed up and little nervous as what could be going on. I assumed a block but didn't know how they even treated one if that were the case. I had read some horror stories but didn't think I was in any way poorly enough to consider those. For starters, I wasn't really in pain, when everything you read says that with a block you should be in agony.
We couldn't decide which hospital to go to, the one with my surgeon who made Margaret or the one with my consultant who knows me and my condition very well, we opted for the consultant one. Upon arrival I realised I had never been to A&E before! I wasn't a very accident prone child and although I've spent hundreds of hours in hospitals, they've never been in or via A&E. I was pretty excited to be going in, I'm a huge fan of medical based dramas and shows so found it really interesting... oh what a loser I am.
I checked in at the desk and sat down for what I thought and heard would be hours of waiting. 10 minutes later I was called in for my assessment. This is undertaken by a nurse who goes over whats happened, makes a file ready for when the Dr's call you when its your turn. She took down a couple of details before taking me straight through, out another door. To the poor people in the waiting room, it must have been ver confusing. There I am swanning in like I own the place, looking completely healthy and un-injured being taken straight through with no wait. They got me a bed within a couple minutes and had me dress into a hospital gown. I had ended up in Majors. For those that don't know in A&E there are three areas, Resus, Majors and Minors. Resus is for the critically ill, things like terrible breaks, strokes, heart attacks etc. Minors is the walking wounded, breaks, sprains, cuts etc and then there is Majors for the people in between who need urgent care but aren't in a life or death situation. Somehow I had walked right into Majors.
I was quickly surrounded by 3 nurses who were all so so lovely. I'm very used to being in medical environments so wasn't really nervous but if I had been they would have settled that straight away. they were all around my age, maybe a couple years older and it was nice to have a chat. I had all my OBS done (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature) before having a lot of blood taken and a cannula put in. I looked at my Mum, things seemed to be getting a little serious, quite quickly. I was given a bay, Number 12, which made me very happy as its my favourite number.
A Dr came to see me and I had to give the details for the 6th time that day, I then had an X-Ray of my stomach to see what was going on.
I then spent an hour or so waiting to find out the results of the tests. This provided excellent time for people watching, one of my favourite activities. After half an hour I knew what was going in most of the bays around me thanks to a lot of loud talking and nothing more than a curtain between us. The Dr eventually came back explaining that although my bloods were completely normal, the X-Ray had shown something partial obstructing my intestine. They weren't sure what this was, whether it was something medically that had gone wrong or food. She explained that she would be now talking to the surgical team about how to proceed and possibly how to treat it medically.
Surgical team?! Things seemed to have escalated rather quickly. One minute I'm ummming and ahhring about whether to bother to see anyone, the next they're talking about surgery! Thank god I had come in. I freaked out a little but tried to stay calm until I knew what was going on. My main worry was that my surgeon, who I really trust, is based elsewhere and I didn't know how that would work. The next time she came in, she thought that the surgeons wouldn't be getting involved (PHEW) and that the Dr's would try and treat it medically. When I asked what this would involved, she explained it would involved putting an NG tube down through my nose and into my stomach, to pump out what is in there. At this point I really freaked out. It's odd that I was more scared of the NG tube than I was about surgery. Ever since my awful colonoscopy experience a couple years ago I have a big fear of being put in pain, whilst awake, when something is out of my control. If I'm going to be asleep I'm not concerned at all but if I'm awake and know I'm out of control of what is being done to me, I really don't cope well. It's safe to say I got in a bit of a panic, which the Dr walked in on. Great! I'm always super embarrassed by crying in public, when normally I deal with things pretty well. She was really kind and explained that I would be being admitted to a ward and so wouldn't be going home today, I can't say I was best pleased but didn't have much choice.
They wheeled me up to the ward at about 11:20, I was placed in what seemed like quite a quiet bay on the Acute Medical Ward. There was just one other elderly lady when I got there who gave me a cheerful wave! I always try and make friends with the people in the beds around me, it makes the time there a lot less miserable. I had my OBS done again before being given a tablet designed to kick start my bowel in to moving. No mention of NG tube was made, which I was incredibly relieved at but also a little confused. Things went from surgery to NG tube to one small tablet in the space of a couple hours. I also hadn't been told what had caused the block or why it had happened. I felt pretty anxious, with the whole not knowing thing. I like to have all the information and to always be kept in the loop.
Mum left for the night about half an hour later and I settled down with an audio book to try and get some sleep...
Sleep never happened.
About 20 minutes after Mum left they finally turned out all the lights, it was about 1:40am ish, I was just drifting off when a lady was bought in, followed by a 3 or 4 person medical team. The lights went on, lighting up the whole bay. The poor lady was really poorly and had Dr's and nurses in and out for hours. She was in the bed next to me so there was no chance of not being disturbed. At around 4:30 she was settled for the night but she requested they leave the lights on... I was pretty irritated at this point and led awake desperately trying to drop off to sleep. This wasn't helped by the huge cannula in my right arm not allowing me to bend it or get comfy. Over the course of the next two hours, two further ladies were bought in, both elderly and unwell. At 6:30 the ward starts to wake up, with the shift swap over starting at around 7:00. I had made it through the whole night with not even a minutes sleep. I looked and felt like death, thankfully at some point during this eventful night, Margaret started to work a little.
For those that haven't ever had the pleasure of a hospital stay they are far from relaxing. They do a meds and obs round pretty early and I was given another tablet and breakfast before 8:30. Then the wait starts for the Dr's to get to you on their ward rounds. This takes time, depending where you are in the queue and how poorly those around you are. A gastro Dr popped in briefly very early on to let me know that from a Crohn's perspective things were okay. There was no obvious flare and nothing too serious on my Xray. He explained that as Margaret had started working he was sure the main Drs would send me home that morning. I was overjoyed and texted Mum to let her know. I was next visited by the main Dr who said he wanted to see Margaret work more before I was allowed to leave. I panicked a little as this was completely out of my control. When Mum arrived we did everything we could think of to get things moving; a walk, fizzy drinks, salty foods, water, a lot of orange juice and lying on my side. Margaret barely stirred but thankfully the Drs decided I was still able to get out of there and processed the paper work at around 1:00/2:00pm. I had the irritating cannula removed and was finally free!!
I was SO relieved but completely exhausted. I went home worrying that Margaret was still not working properly and that I was going to end up back in A&E. Thankfully over the next 24 hours she got her act together and managed to work again. They were never quite sure of what caused the block but I think it was down to food. Grapes, popcorn and lack of water are not a great combination. It's safe to say in the future I'm going to be very careful about what I eat and how much fluid I'm drinking. Popcorn is not my friend.