Sorry, it’s been a long break with no posts. That’s because I’ve been a bit sick, quite sick, actually.
From Wed 4th I started getting big shivering and shaking fits, called “rigors”. (I pronounce this riggers, yet for some reason, all the medicos and nurses pronounce it rye-gors.) Apart from the shaking, I felt OK, so I let it go.
Last Saturday morning I managed to slip out of bed at about 7am and found myself on the floor, too weak to get up or even crawl. I also couldn’t reach my bedside house phone, it being too far back on the bedside cabinet. My mobile was out in the kitchen on charge.
I spent an hour or more slowly crawling into the bathroom trying to find a away to pull myself up, with no success, so crawled back out again. Finally, with much effort I managed to reach my phone. I called my good friend KG and said “Help!” He could come out, luckily, but he had no way to get in, as the house is locked tight at night. So he called the police, who said they’d come here “if they had time.” Someone, they or KG, also called an ambulance, emphasising that I wasn’t injured or anything, just couldn’t get up.
While waiting, I tried to crawl to the door of my bedroom so as to get out and unlatch the front door. No way. I couldn’t do it. In the process I wet myself and my jocks slid off. Ugh 😦
Finally after about 45mins I heard shuffling outside my front windows and people moving out there. A while later I heard, “You get the crowbar and blanket,” then BASH, BASH, BASH as they tried to break a window. It turns out that I have laminated glass windows with film on the outside, hard to break. They bashed so hard on the sliding window of bathroom 2 that they damaged the whole frame. The police have insurance for this, and my house insurance will cover it too. They left their card and departed. Being still on the floor, without my glasses, I never actually saw them, just heard their voices. I do know two were females, and me stark nekkid!
The front door was open now and the ambos came in, also two females. They covered me with a blanket, then got me some fresh jocks and a T shirt. We had a good old chat, and Keith had arrived as well. It turned out everyone knew someone – small city.
Then an ambulance car arrived with the lifting device, a pneumatic chair. They slip the flat base under you, inflate that, then the next stage, and the next, and soon you find yourself sitting high enough to stand easily, which I did. Then, although I felt weak, I was able to walk around, so in the absence of any real symptoms, ie temperature or BP problems, or authorisation to take me to hospital (I guess), they left. Keith was still with me, and another friend arrived too, so I was OK. But thick headed! And weak! I couldn’t entertain very much and had to just sit there. Keith, in his usual commanding way, installed a support rail that I’d had waiting for something like this, near the bed so I can pull myself up.
Sunday I felt better, showered and washed my hair, and emailed the medical centre for an appointment with my GP for 9.15am Monday.
Monday 5am I nearly fell again. Very weak. I was so scared of it happening again that I dared not go back to bed, so sat up in a chair waiting. Six am, 7am, 8am, I was drooping and fell asleep, waking at 9.15am, the time of my appointment. Rushed to the car, forgetting my phone, drove to the GP (only 5 mins away). My BP was so low that I was dizzy, so he got a cannula in and started a saline drip into the vein. After a litre, I felt better, but was still extremely weak. He ordered an ambulance and so I was off to Joondalup hospital.
I spent five hours on a trolley in the Emergency Dept while they added more drips, litre after litre. Another cannula. Bloods drawn. Urine sample. Diagnosis: severe bladder infection which had moved up the kidneys. As well, X rays and a C/T scan showed a 4mm stone in my right ureter, blocking it, and the tissue around the stone was infected. So I/V antibiotic straight away, and an operation scheduled for the next morning, Tuesday.
The operation, a cystoscopy, went fine. I felt no pain. But they left a bladder catheter in, which I’m not keen on.
Sure enough, after lunch, the balloon of the catheter seemed to have shifted position and pain started, ramping up to 8-9/10, as bad as a kidney stone. I started groaning, then calling out, yelling, asking for pain relief. Nurses came looking concerned, but no authority; have to ask doctor, can’t find one. They gave me two Panadol, then one small Tramadol. Headache strength! Tiddleywinks! I need stronger. After about 40 mins they brought an oxy, but by then they had deflated the balloon, moved the catheter and almost instant pain reduction. Inflate the balloon again and things got back to normal. Ugh.
Later that night, a funny incident, although not so funny for the nurses. At 9pm, routine checks, but my BP was very low. Must be the machine misreading. Got another electronic machine, same thing. Got a manual machine and very carefully checked. No, no mistake, my BP was down to 80/31. The nurse hit the red panic button. Within a minute, the room rapidly filled with people, about 20 I reckon, all talking at once, one guy carrying the big red bag, the defibrillator. The noise! I felt fine. I said, “Thanks for coming. To what do I owe this pleasure?” I think they were relieved it wasn’t a real problem, but extra saline drip was wheeled in and I reckon they put in another three litres overall. The people slowly drifted away.
I mentioned that they all dressed alike, and I couldn’t tell who were the doctors, as it’s hard to see name badges at belt level and they weren’t using the usual badge of rank, the stethoscope around the neck. One guy came over and introduced himself as Dr Singh. OK, fine, no problem.
So that was Tuesday. The next two days were observations of BP, as we don’t know why it plunged like that. The catheter came out on Wed morning, thank goodness, not as painful as you’d think. But it took more than 24hrs to regain bladder control. Ugh, wet carpet, wet towels. I slowly came back.
So home again on Friday morning, collecting my car from the medical centre where I had to leave it last Monday for the ambulance ride. It was still there, dammit. It’s worth more written off than as it stands.
Very weak and tired for the first 36hrs, but much better now. Thinking about ways to ensure I can get out of bed OK, and a key-safe outside so someone can get in without bashing a window in, and a distress alarm. Easy.