As some of you already know, up until last Tuesday, I was, as they say, “incapacitated”. About a fortnight ago, early hours of Monday morning, I awoke vomiting blood — after passing the dreaded “black stool” the day before (sorry about the detail, but it saves having to fill in the gaps for people individually… it’s surprising how many people are fascinated by blood and stool ). My father immediately dialled 999 and I was admitted to accident and emergency.
To cut a long story short, it turns out I’d had a stomach bleed (we think.) A few minor ulcers that didn’t really explain the huge drop in my haemoglobin level — something that it is now believed was a false reading — but, we assume, something that could explain the bleed I did have.
I won’t dress it up; it’s been a pretty tough couple of weeks for me. Endoscopies, blood levels all over the shop (top up the potassium, down goes the phosphate — you get the picture), a central line put in my neck (the carotid artery, I believe) when getting blood in through the existing line became untenable and my signs were so screwed up they couldn’t get a line in anywhere else (this was an especially enjoyable process involving a mini scanner and what felt like a hand drill going into my neck… even that took four attempts!)… and, of course, numerous other indignities to boot, such as catheters etc!
It’s fair to say, I don’t think I’d have managed it had it not been for the constant support of my parents — who were there for me throughout the whole process, questioning when I couldn’t and generally keeping me strong and sane. Love you, guys!
Also, of course, the staff of The James Cook University Hospital were — for the large part (I’d be lying if I said there were not one or two nurses I didn’t get on with quite as well) — were quite wonderful, and I would just like to take this opportunity to thank them for their help, care and expertise. I know quite a few of them will possibly be dropping by because, naturally, my father never being one to miss an opportunity, whilst attending to his other fatherly duties, also managed to push my book quite heavily! (At one point he was — I kid you not — heard to say “Just think, one day you’ll be able to hold the book up and say, ‘I took his catheter out.’”!)
So how am I now? Improving — quite considerably. I’m still extremely weak and very much doubt that I’ll be back up to speed up for a week or two, yet, but I’m on the medication for my stomach and already feeling the benefit (no acid reflux whatever I eat!) I will try to respond to everyone individually when I can but, in the meantime, thank you for all the kind thoughts and good wishes. They’ve meant a lot. Truly.