“It’s time to call the surgeon,” I said.
“I know that I won’t be able to sleep tonight from the pain, so we either do something about it now, or wait until the middle of the night.
All of a sudden my mood had changed. Throughout the entire ordeal I was very calm and complacent, but now I was angry and irritable.
My husband promptly called the surgeon, who sounded distressed on the phone. He wanted to talk to me, but I couldn’t talk – my breathing wasn’t right, I was out of breath. He demanded I get to him immediately, saying that he should have known about this on Thursday night when it started, and not on Saturday, two days later.
“I am not going in the car, I can’t. It hurts too much” I was saying. The surgeon firmly tells my husband that it is very serious, and not to listen to me. “Get to the local hospital for a shot of morphine, and then drive directly to me,” were his instructions.
My husband got off the phone and arranged our neighbours to take our children, and then helped me into the car. I was so hot, nothing could cool me down. Even with the air conditioner on high and the windows down, it wasn’t helping.
We arrived at the hospital and I hobbled into the first chair I could whilst my husband spoke to triage: immediately someone from the ER came out and said my name. I said that I couldn’t walk, so a wheelchair was wheeled to me to take me out the back to a consulting room.
After I had been helped onto the bed, he put the blood pressure pump on my arm, and the result was fifty over zero.
After that, everything moved so fast. Someone hit the big red button on the wall and noises were happening everywhere. The doctor laid my bed flat –which hurt so much. My abdomen couldn’t handle being completely flat – I couldn’t breathe.
I was frightened but didn’t understand, I was being pushed through corridors there were so many people around me, I searched for my husband’s face -he didn’t understand either.
My clothes were taken off, there were needles being put into me, oxygen on my face, something was sewn into my wrist, my veins were not working – so they kept trying in all different places, there was someone inserting a catheter -it seemed to go on for a long time. The noise was so deafening, yet I don’t think I could hear a thing.
I was trying to send my husband ESP messages: “Overreacting much?”, “What are they doing?”, “Why are there so many of them?”, “What’s going on?” “Why are you letting them do this to me?” He didn’t seem to be getting the messages, he looked so sad, and so far away from me.
It seemed to take a long time. The doctor told me that he thought I had internal bleeding although a CAT Scan would confirm it once the radiographer arrived. After being wheeled through the corridors the CAT Scan revealed that I didn’t have internal bleeding, what I did have was a leak from my new stomach. A staple had popped out and all the liquid I had been consuming, along with my stomach acid, were leaking out into my body cavity and causing septicaemia.
The list of things wrong with my body seemed endless Peritonitis, Renal Failure, Collapsed Lungs, Tacky Cardic….. things my husband and I didn’t understand.
The doctor sat down and quietly told us that although I was stabilised, I didn’t have enough time to be transported to another hospital to be operated on. He said he had called in the anaesthetist and they would cut the entire length of my torso, open me up and ‘clean me out’. The only problem was that the hospital did not have an ICU for the aftercare. We had no other option. It was Hobson’s choice: ‘wait and die’ or ‘have a go and possibly not die’.
He gave me a soft rub of my shoulder and went to get some rest and food before he operated.