I had hoped to use this blog post to celebrate the fact that I’m wearing a bra again but I haven’t bothered. Being in hospital makes you do mad acts of freedom and being bra-less around the house is one of them.
Firstly, sorry for radio silence. I’ve been shattered to be honest and I’m still quite bruised. It didn’t help that I had to go back to hospital less than 24 hours after being discharged but more on that later. I am chez Edenbridge for some TLC, which by the way, is getting less and less every day. Phrases like use your arm properly’, ‘do it yourself’ and ‘get dressed’ are being thrown around more frequently. Back to normal then.
Confident that the ballooning and hoovering worked, I was discharged on Tuesday. I am now out of immediate danger because it was the fat-ass clot that was causing the heart attack/stroke risk but the pinching on my subclavian vein (it turns out this is quite a mega bit of anatomy) is still happening. If this isn’t treated then it will cause another clot and the whole process will start again. In order to ensure Clot The Second does not surface it’s nasty head, I have been sent home with three weeks worth of blood thinning injections in which one must stab herself in the stomach with twice a day. This is the second reason for me coming to Mum and Dad’s.
Remember that fear of needles I developed? It’s not quite gone yet. In fact, I was so scared of them (and stroppy on the day I was discharged because I was worried that they would just send me home whilst I waited for another clot to form) that I told the nurses: ‘Well if you leave me to do them, I won’t even bother because I hate them.’ Intervention nurse Ki. She has no fear of piercing her precious eldest daughter’s tummy repeatedly. In fact, she actually really enjoys using me as a dartboard… Anyway, Mum is teaching me how to do it because I am actually a grown-up who wishes to return to normal life. Plus Oli keeps calling me ‘bitty’ from that god awful Little Britain sketch. Bleurgh.
Less than 24 hours after being discharged, my hand started turning blue again, and as per instructed, I called the ward for advice. They told me to pack a bag to come back in. Mum and I traipsed up to London again to wait in A&E to be seen. Typically, by then my hand was peachy smooth and the on-call vascular doctor didn’t seem too worried. He gave me the choice of staying and being seen by the consultant the following morning with a small chance of having the operation to remove my rib sooner, or just go home and come in again for scans and things. By this point I was already feeling uncomfortable from the fresh cannula in my arm. Needless to say I opted to go home to my own bed. And by my own bed, I mean Clo’s.
Being told that I was going home came to me so abruptly that I never got a chance to say goodbye to my batty HDU roommate, Joyce. She was actually 95 with an amputated leg, was on day one of the thrombolysis treatment I was on previously, and judging by the amount of times she asked for it, a frequent brandy drinker. She was an absolute comedienne. Before the nurses can administer any drugs, they have to ask you your date of birth to check that you are with it. As you can imagine, you have to repeat this A LOT throughout the day. Joyce however liked to mix it up.
Nurse: “What’s your date of birth, Joyce?”
Joyce: “I don’t have one. I’m an orphan. I was found in the gutter. But if I had to give you a sequence of numbers, it would be thus…”
I do want to take this opportunity to thank y’all for all of your kind words, cards, gifts, confectionery, toiletries, knickers, worry, prayers, flowers, phone calls, texts and visits. I loved it all. Well, as much as you can enjoy having thoracic outlet syndrome, an eff-off massive clot, a blue arm and a pulmonary embolism.
Thanks to Shirley and Nat for coming up all the way from Somerset to see me just for the day and acting really polite when they thought I’d let one go (I still maintain it was my foot on the end of the bed…). Thanks to Andrew for not coming because I would be far too conscious about what amputee jokes you might have let slip. Thanks to my second mums (who also happen to be nurses) Clare and Sadie. Clare for using a whole can of dry shampoo and doing what you could with the grease ball on my head; Sadie for telling me my hair looked like an epic oil spill. Maddy for nearly giving me a heart attack from laughter and the other Sisters Edenbridge for all of your messages. Clo for cancelling her flight home to France and for generally being my other half. Max for walking dog poo on to the ward (see video below). Oli for saying that I looked good and almost convincing himself. Mum for making the trek up to London-town to see me almost everyday, only to get there for me to take one look at her and cry. Dad for supplying me with some top-quality food. Thanks to my cousin Jack for providing afternoon entertainment by passing-out and Aunty Mel for freaking out. Aunty Giselle for the beautiful bouquet of flowers (and telling me the view from her office was better 😉 ) and Maree for coming to visit me on the ward of amputees and old people, despite having a fear of catheters…
I’m sorry this is such a long post – I feel you deserve a thorough catch-up! I will be scheduled in for the op in a couple of weeks time. I was planning on heading out to the Greek island of Lesvos for a week to help the refugees at the end of February but I won’t be able to do that now. Clo will still be going so you can find out exactly what she’s up to over on her blog (which by the way is mega lol) here. *On another note, if you’re interested in taking my place on the trip, message me. I have flights where the name can be changed.*
Because I’m currently only temporarily cured, I’ll continue to update the blog but I’m sure you’ll all lose interest now that I’m going back to normal life! For now, I’ll leave you with a small handful of amusing things that happened in the days that I couldn’t write.
- On the Thursday I was supposed to go to theatre, no one had told me or the nurses that this was the plan. I wasn’t nil-by-mouth and no one was sure exactly what the procedure was. One person told me that would need to get to the clot via my groin so I would be under general anesthetic, one said I would need to go in half an hour, one said they can do it that evening under local. I was so confused I said I didn’t want to have it done until the next day. I was getting all upset. Then two men in red scrubs and theatre hats came up to my bed and said: “We’re the intervention team.” I nearly pooed myself I got into such a panic. I thought they were going to pin me down and take me to theatre anyway. It wasn’t until yesterday that it dawned on me that their job title is ‘Interventional Radiologists’. Duh.
- Whilst on the operating table, the doctor asked me what I do and I told them that I am a journalist for Heart radio. They said: ‘Hey, that’s our job too! Heart radio.’
- On the day I was discharged, mum helped me shower whilst Clo sat on the chair by my bed. Twice the doctor started talking to her because she thought it was me. This was particularly funny because she must have been looking awful to be mistaken for me in hospital.
- Joyce asked me for some bloomers so that she could feel decent enough to talk to the doctors.
- You know that theory that after not washing your hair for so long it will wash itself? This didn’t happen to me.
- Looking back at my last blog post, I was quite clearly high as a kite on pain killers. The spelling and grammar was horrendous!
Anyway, thank you all again! Love you all, Hollie xxx
Here’s a video of Max clearing to dog poo off of his shoe…