Saturday, 31st May, 2014.
The day started out like any other.
The Man was on his weekend off, so I woke him at around 9am. He got up and after getting himself sorted, he joined me and the little ones in the lounge. They were as lively as ever!
I didn't feel right. I felt very weak, very sick and had horrible niggly tummy cramps. I put it down to fatigue and possibly a touch of trapped wind! Mummies don't get ill, remember!!
The day progressed, and I couldn't even bring myself to get dressed! Even when my mum and dad called to say they were local and were popping in for a cuppa. I greeted them at the door in my PJs, having pre-warned them about my yucky state! They didn't stay long as they could see I wasn't well. Just long enough for a chat and cuddles with the kids.
Lunchtime, dinnertime, bath time, bedtime.
They all came and went and, through the niggling pain that was slowly getting more intense, I got things done. Thanks to The Man! I couldn't have managed the day without his help ... a statement I found myself making for quite a few days to come!
8pm, kids are in bed, and The Man is becoming quite concerned. I'm not good for admitting how bad a pain is unless I have to. Bad pain lead to being checked out and I don't like going to be checked out! It was only after some pestering from The Man and after finally admitting to my best friend the pain that I was in, that I decided maybe I should seek some advice.
I eventually gave in and called 111. They talked me through my symptoms and carried out their assessment on the phone. Then they said it. The one thing I didn't want to hear. The one reason I didn't call them in the first place ...
"We're sending an ambulance out to you. I'm paging one right away whilst you're on the line ...!"
But I only called for advice!
Whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I took some pain relief, as recommended on the phone by the clinician. The pain eased! For the first time in hours, I was kind of comfortable. Well, I wasn't writhing in pain, and that was a start!
By the time the paramedics arrived, the pain was still there, but very dull. They checked me over and told me they should really take me with them as there was little they could do for abdominal pain on scene. They also said they couldn't force me to go.
All I could think of was Munch. She has enough of a negative feeling towards hospitals as it is. For her to wake up the next morning and find I was gone and had been taken there would upset her too much. I decided the pain was bearable and that I would take myself to the local Minor Injuries Unit the following morning if the pain was still there. At least I could keep things as normal as possible for the kids.
10.40pm. The Paramedics left.
I fell asleep on the sofa with a hot water bottle.
The Man stayed up to keep an eye on me and so he could see to the kids if they wake.
2 hours later, and everything changes. One minute, all is calm and The Man is finally starting to relax, thinking that all the drama is over for the night, the next, I am awake, unable to move yet writhing around, unable to lay, sit, stand, crying at The Man, begging him to tell me what to do!
He called 999.
They promised to get a clinician to call us back, but to call again if my condition deteriorates.
10 minutes later, he calls 999 again as he becomes increasingly concerned that soon, he would be forced to wake the kids, bundle them in the car and take me to A&E himself. Once again, we were promised contact asap. 25 minutes later, I call 999 myself. By this time, I could barely speak through the pain. The Man had to take over the phone conversation halfway through.
Still no ambulance!
There I was, feeling incredibly guilty that I was putting The Man through this as I should have just gone with the Paramedics earlier in the evening.
By 2am, we were left with no alternative. I knew she wouldn't thank us for calling in the small hours, but I know she would have told me off if she knew we hadn't called and struggled.
The Man had to call my mum!
She came round straight away to either stay with the kids or take me to A&E.
We went with the latter. The Man should be the one at home in the morning to explain the situation to Munchkin.
After a short wait in A&E (not bad for a Saturday night / Sunday morning!), I was seen and taken straight through to the ward. Morphine was administered, but it didn't work. Bloods were taken, obs were recorded, more bloods were taken, then I was admitted. Dad came to take over from mum and he stayed with me whilst they moved me to a ward, examined me a number of times and told me I was booked in for surgery.
They still weren't sure what was wrong, but were going to perform keyhole surgery to detect the problem and deal with it like that.
This was all happening so fast! There I was, dismissing it as trapped wind!!
A few hours later, and I am waking up from the general anaesthetic, very sore and very sick. I turn my head to see my consultant/surgeon sitting next to my bed, waiting for me to wake. He brought me round, allowed me to drink, then vomit, and then compose myself! He explained that the keyhole surgery was successful but insufficient. On entry, the camera had detected that I had contracted appendicitis, but that the appendix had burst, so full surgery was necessary and a full incision was made to enable them to remove everything they needed to. He said he believed the rupture had occurred a few hours before I was admitted, and when I went through the events of the previous evening with him, he concluded that the appendix probably burst whilst I was sleeping on the sofa and if I had left it until the following day to be seen, I may not have been here to write this post today.
Once again, there I was thinking it was trapped wind!
So I had to stay in hospital for a few days to recover. I was devastated. I just wanted to go home to my babies. I hadn't been prepared for this, and nor had they. It just wasn't fair! I couldn't even get a good enough signal on my phone to keep in touch!
I was sore, unable to get in and out of bed without help and spent a great deal of time hooked up to an IV drip which was filling me with 6 hour long courses of antibiotics. I was covered in cannula needles, or bruises where others had been removed and had one of those horrible drains coming from my tummy. I thought I'd seen the last of them after having Plum!
However, there were some positives to my stay in hospital. Once I was moved to the ward, not everything was doom and gloom. I was on a small section of a ward, occupied by 3 other beds. Each of those beds was occupied by an amazing lady that I would eventually leave hospital knowing as a friend! The first that spoke to me was K. A beautiful, kind hearted lady who had been there for almost 2 weeks for an ongoing condition. We talked about friends, physiotherapists (K will know ...!) and sock monkeys. She opened my mind to a world of up-cycling and talked about her wonderful crafts. She made me smile for the first time in around 24 hours and made me realise that my time spent in hospital wasn't necessarily going to be so bad after all!
Next to speak to me was V. A wonderful lady and amazing mother to a lovely family. We talked about our families, our past, our present and our future. We spoke about our views on hundreds of topics and she took my mind away from the pain. Her daily calls to her children made me smile. She had been in hospital for 2 weeks, and they were clearly feeling the loss!
Then there was S. An older lady who had been admitted following complications arising from an earlier operation. One of the sweetest ladies I have ever met, and with a wicked sense of humour! But wow, did my heart break for her to see the pain she was in!
These three ladies made everything better! We laughed, we cried, we chatted, we complained, we shared, we listened, we joked and we generally held each other up when we needed to. When I remember my time in hospital, these are the ladies I will think about. After that few days we spent together, we know a lot about each other! Possibly more than we should!
I am still in touch with these incredible ladies, and I'm so happy that I am. Without them, my stay in hospital would have been such a struggle! I missed my babies so so much, and they let me miss them. They let me talk about them and I knew it was ok to feel sad.
So there it is. My unexpected hospital visit!
I am still recovering, and still limited in what I can physically do, but I'm getting there now. I'm just happy to be here, happy to be back with my babies, but also happy that life sent me in a direction that allowed me to cross paths with three beautiful women whom I can now call friends!