A cheeky pre-op update

Hiya, me again. Off to hospital again. Same old…

Except it’s not the same old because this time I’m prepared *flexes muscles*. This is the beauty of a planned hospital trip, I know what to pack, what not to pack, what time to arrive, where to go and I know roughly how long I’ll be there for.

Here’s what’s going in my bag:

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(A cheeky illustration drawn by me.)

Here’s a brief lowdown for all for you – I promise I won’t keep you long.

Oli’s coming in with me to St Thomas’ Hospital for 7am (for real I have an early start) and I’ll be nil-by-mouth. I’m on the morning list but you never know someone might be a higher priority to me so hey ho. The op should only take around an hour and I should only be in for 24 hours, 48 if I’m in a lot of pain. Then I’ll poodle off on my way home to Hotel Mum and Dad for a couple of weeks because it’s logical – they have heating, food and Max who will *happily* be my slave. My personal nurse. Pahahaaaaaa.

However, I must let you know that there is a possibility that they could open me up and decide that it’s too dangerous to remove the rib. This is good really because I don’t want them to take any unnecessary risks. But bad because you know, I want my life back!

Here’s just an update on what I know so far:

  • There’s nothing wrong with the way my blood clots. This is a good sign that the cause is very likely to be a pinch on my vein, so a cheeky rib removal should do the trick. This means I can fly! Hello Barcelona for Chloë’s 21st! Travel insurance has gone go considerably though… B*****ds.
  • I’ve been back at work for a few weeks now, splitting my hours between being in the office and being at home. Typing hurts. I think the cause of the trouble was sitting at a desk that isn’t the right height for me. It’s probably given me a bit of bad posture, I’ve built up the muscle and then it’s pinched on the vein. So I’ll have to get something done about that.
  • I’m loving telling people I have a syndrome. Particularly when I call shotgun on the front seat, or if something I do isn’t quite right. People tend to get awkward when I say: “Yeah but I have a syndrome, a genuine disability. That’s why I can’t sit in the back of a car.”
  • I’m likely to be off work for two weeks plus, but we’ll just see how I’m feeling afterwards. One step at a time eh?

I’m not going to lie, I’m bricking it a little bit so I won’t pick up the phone to anyone before the op, and straight after I’ll be high as a kite so I won’t pick up the phone to anyone then either. Don’t be offended! But Oli and mum will be on hand so drop them a text if you want a response tomorrow!

Until my next blog post, read Chloë’s post about her trip to Lesvos. She worked her balls off helping the boats come in from Turkey over night and the Dutch press are all over the work they were doing – she even made it to their news. Chloë B for Prime Minister, I say.

Read ‘When one door closes…’ here.

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Chloë helping a young boy off the boat from Turkey, as caught by Dutch cameras.

 

 

Alcoholics Anonymous…

My name’s Hollie Borland. I’m 23-years-old. It’s been 22 days since I last had a drink.

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When you’re hospitalised on payday and you don’t spend much money. Hello new boots…

This is karma, I know it. It’s because I said I was going to do Dry January and then kicked off the first day of the new year with Buck’s Fizz (and after the orange juice ran out, just the fizz). And then when I vowed to start on the 2nd, I gave up again on the 3rd because I was at Mum and Dad’s for a roast dinner and it was beef and red wine goes really nicely with beef.

All I can do is take solstice in the fact that I spent the weekend at the Hill residence in Somerset and definitely drank my fair share in booze. I mean the last drink I had was with one of Shirley’s encréable roast dinners (pork avec scratchings) and the beverage of choice was Prosecco. Mother will be proud.

I tell you what, I really would fancy a glass of wine. Maybe Blossom Hill White Zinfandel. I know it’s a cheap and nasty wine but I love it. So much so, I even thanked it in my dissertation acknowledgements. But alas, alcohol thins the blood and as I’m already on blood thinners I don’t fancy taking the risk. My Fizz Fridays have been reduced to watching others neck the booze whilst I tuck into my ginger beer (which by the way, I also believe is the nectar of longevity. This clotting process has actually aged me into a grandma. Next I’ll be reporting how I think cream soda will increase your chances in love or something.)

Can I just point out that I can still have a good time without alcohol. People, and I don’t mean to sound sexist but it’s particularly the men in my life, seem to think that because I can’t drink I don’t want to go anywhere. Which I do, I definitely do. Visit me please! Or I can meet up with you? Just accept that if it’s an evening thing, I may be reduced to a pile of duvet by about 8 o’clock, asking you to tie my hair up because my arm aches. But trust me, it’ll feel like a right old knees up to me!

Can you believe how long I’ve whittled on about alcohol? I was taking the micky but I actually think I might need to visit AA… (Nb. To my employer/any future employers, this is a joke.)

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My dissertation acknowledgements.

Anyways, I had another hospital appointment today, this time with the vascular consultant. It was just to talk through the operation/what the process is/what the risks are/do I still want it? It was bit scary but I had mum there so it was all okay. I won’t bore you with all of details, besides talking about the risks is always a bit frightening. I have a provisional date for an op, which is 15th March. I’ve also worked out that I can get to Barcelona by train so I’m feeling a lot more positive right now.

I also had my pre-op assessment today. I was actually booked in for this on Friday but the consultant was keen to get this done. He couldn’t find my notes but said hopefully the nurses won’t get too mad about it. I replied: “Well, if they get angry at me I’ll just tell them I have a syndrome.” Thank God he laughed. I’ve still not learned to be politically correct yet…

Anyways, it’s not all about me (although it definitely is), Chloë is going back to France tomorrow, albeit for four days. She’s only popping back in Saturday night as a stop off before heading to Lesvos on Sunday, ironically so we could travel together (ffs). Alas, it is the time to accept that one’s baby sister is no longer her playmate at her beck and call but has to get on with her own life. However, it’s okay, Max is still here. *In a sing-song voice* Oh Max…

Don’t forget to read all about Clo’s trip here.

Speaking of Max, he’s currently going through the process of applying for a sports scholarship to uni’s in the USA, y’know, as a back up to apply to UK unis as well. Recently he found out that he totally smashed his SATs and already has universities interested in him. I can say this because I know he doesn’t read my blog – to be honest I’m not convinced he can read at all – but he’s actually one of those a-holes at school who is really clever AND good at sport AND really popular AND a nice guy AND actually quite funny AND all of his teachers love him AND so do his mate’s mums (WAAAAAAY). So yeah, I’m pretty proud of him too.

Oh and Oli because he’s putting up with me on a daily basis (Oli: “Hey Hols, how was your day?” Me: “Today I put a wash on but I’m too tired to cook dinner.” Oli: “That sounds interesting.”) He has also taken to playing ‘blue’ songs on his computer at random times of the day. For example, I’ll be in the bedroom and I’ll hear Deeper Shade Of Blue by Steps. Or he’ll be in the kitchen singing I’m blue dabadee dabadi. And the other day, when I was really worried about my hand as it’s still going blue, he played the theme tune to Casualty. But any who, despite visiting me every day in hospital, he still managed to bag employee of the month! Winner, winner chicken dinner.

Has anyone got any news for me? I’m aware that I just keep harping on about my own health and I’m worried it will soon start to be very boring for you, but it really is my life at the moment. I’m back to work but still at home so I’m sort of stuck in my own irritating company. With nothing else to do except listen to my body when it’s tired, I’m actually quite a boring person…

Patience is a virtue.

‘Patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace. And Grace is a little girl who wouldn’t wash her face.’ – I don’t know the origins of this. I read it once in Sophie’s Adventures by Dick King-Smith.

When you’re a patient, you need to be patient. Seriously because sometimes it can be a long-ass wait.

After being discharged, I went to Hotel of Mum & Dad for some TLC (I use the term lightly). Everything was made so much better with Clo at home, it was like something out of Pride and Prejudice: it was like I was Jane, cooped up and ill at Netherfield Park and Clo was Lizzie who had come to look after me. Although I don’t ever remember reading how Lizzie asks Jane to nominate her for a Sports Relief Young Carer award… Also sharing a bed with your sister does not qualify you for a young carer’s award Clo.

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Me and Clo. Or alternatively Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, BBC style.

You will also remember I was with the ‘rents because mum had to give me the injections twice a day as I was a total woos. The process could take up to half an hour of me just staring at the needle on my stomach, determined to do it myself, only to beg mum anyway. Anywho, I got in to a situation where I could do everything, except pierce the skin – which is stupid because I can’t even feel that bit. All Oli had to do was sort of tap my hand, which he was happy to do, so I could come back home to Wimblebum with my fellow womble.

I feel so much better but I’m really good at just sort of cracking on with things. Although my arm isn’t blue any more, I still get knackered quickly and I can’t lift it up without it feeling uncomfortable. The other day I did the hoovering and it knocked me out for two days. What a shame. I’ll really miss hoovering…

The uncomfortableness is still there because I’m still not well yet – a gentle reminder to me. My arm is still being pinched and there’s a bit of clot left in my vein that is unlikely to ever go away. The doctor says that for the rest of my life, I won’t be able to do any repetitive action with my right arm because the vein just won’t ever be 100%. She said: ‘Do your hair every so often, but don’t spend ages doing it.’ You heard it here first folks, if my hair looks crap it’s because it’s a medical condition…

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We ate pizza to keep me sane.

Believe it or not, I’ve been keen to go back to work, partly because I miss everyone and partly because I was pooping it about going on to statutory pay. Feeling well enough, I tackled the hustle and bustle of The Big Smoke today. I went in later and left early to avoid ‘rush hour’ (which we all know is way longer than an hour). It made me realise what a-holes we commuters are. I know I look fine but I asked for someone’s seat and they said no, I was bashed around like nobody’s business and people tutted when I wouldn’t walk faster down the stairs. I know I’m not disabled but I think I might get a blue-badge and stick it on my forehead, just to prewarn people… Needless to say, I’ll be working from home for a bit now!

Seeing everyone at work was great. Like a proud kid in the playground, I showed everyone my bruise on my left arm. It’s still green and yellow and overall quite disgusting. But bruises like this only occur every so often and, like a soldier showing off their war wounds, I proudly paraded it around the office. I took even more pleasure in saying it is my ‘good’ arm. I got super amounts of sympathy, it was great. Really though, it turns out that I’ve been living in my own little bubble for a few weeks so it was so nice to escape, even if it was for just a bit.

I had a hospital appointment today too. It was one of those holy-cow-it-really-was-such-a-close-call-but-it’s-going-to-take-longer-than-I-thought-to-get-sorted-and-recover kind of appointments. I had previously been given a date of February 23rd for the operation, which is a week on Tuesday. I had been thinking ‘great. And a couple of weeks of recovery after that and I’ll be better’. I’m already beyond gutted that I can’t go to Lesvos to help the refugees but Ol and me are planning on climbing Ben Nevis in April, I want to meet Clo in Barcelona for her 21st also in April, I want to go to Mike and Amy’s wedding at the beginning of April and I’m supposed to be walking the ‘Moonwalk Marathon’ in May with mum. These are all of the things that are getting me through. But today was one of those days when I realised that I just won’t be able to do it all. And that’s crushing.

They need to postpone the operation because of the extent of the clots in my lungs. Clots in lungs are never good but I was told today that I have many, massive clots in the centre of my lungs. The risk of a heart attack or a stroke was just so high. It’s an actual wonder how I hadn’t just keeled over. But I didn’t so we mustn’t dwell on that. Anyway, you can’t get rid of clots in your lungs with medication – it comes with exercise, keeping the lungs working. I still have those clots which makes exercising exhausting so it’s going to take a while. But I’m feeling much better which is a good sign apparently and I’m on the blood-thinning medication so a heart attack/stroke is highly unlikely to happen.

If the doctor’s were to operate now, they would need to take me off of the medication for 24 hours pre-op. If I was on them and they cut me open, I’d be at risk of just bleeding forever. Not an option one wishes to explore. However, because I still have these clots in my lungs, I’m at a high risk of them getting worse if I come off the medication. Even 24 hours off the drugs could leave me with more clots so I can’t have the op yet. Does that make sense? It’s so complicated! Basically they need to monitor me for a bit before deciding on a date for the op. This just means that I have to put life on hold for a little bit longer.

And then there’s more. The doctors don’t know what caused the clots in the first place. They think it’s the pinch in my vein but they can’t be sure until they operate and then monitor me for months to see if there’s a difference. And if it was the pinch that caused it, what caused the pinch in the first place? It’s going to take months of monitoring, months of patience.

I’m not sure I can fly at all. This greatly ballses up my plans. If there was ever a time when I have felt a bit sorry for myself, it’s now. I’m 23 and I’ve got shit to do! But these things happen and I’m trying to stay in good spirits. Patience is all I need… If you have any spare, please feel free to post it to me 😉

Speaking of good spirits. This will make you laugh. So whilst I was in hospital, some little s**t hacked my PayPal account! Bought himself over £150 worth of stuff, including Calvin Klein boxers, an Armani t-shirt and a hoodie. How do you know it was a ‘he’, I hear you ask. BECAUSE THE IDIOT PUT HIS DELIVERY ADDRESS ON THE RECEIPT. So, James Conrad of Flat 5, The Wool Factory, 30 Marble Street, Leicester, LE1 5XD, they’re coming for you. No more Dominoes pizzas courtesy of me thank you very much!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention: they’ve moved me on to the pill form of the medication, so as of tonight I don’t have to have the injections! Wahoo. Heaven forbid if I am ever diagnosed with diabetes, or if I become a heroin addict, I’d be crap. (Is it heroin that you inject? I haven’t the foggiest).

FullSizeRenderAnyway, I’ll just leave you with this: 

I think we all have problems with the NHS because we’re British and we’re super good at queuing. When we’re ill, we turn to the NHS to help us out. We queue to get an appointment at the doctors’, we queue for hospital appointments and we queue for treatment (often behind someone who is coughing their lungs up and forgets to cover their mouth with their hand). So I think what drives us bat-poo cray is when someone jumps that queue and is seen before you. But you have to suck it up and man up and accept that that person’s problem is more urgent than yours. Be thankful for the fact that you don’t need to be rushed anywhere – you can’t be that much of an emergency. Just be patient and always bring a book with you.

 

Back to bras (sort of, not really…)

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.

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Princess Hollie is out!

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.

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This is my ‘good arm’.

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.

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Working on a beauty and lifestyle desk has it’s perks! Thanks to the gals and Zach at work for the essentials!

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.

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This was his name, not skin colour…

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…

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Thank you to Nan and Grandad and Aunty Giselle for the gorgeous flowers.

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… 

Happy anniversary to me! 

*Warning. This post contains information that may offend, including needles, veins and the misuse of a bed pan*

Today marks the day that I have been in hospital for a week. By 5pm tonight it will be 168 hours. More importantly, that’s 168 hours without fresh air. I’m starting to worry that when I do go outside I might feint from all of the oxygen. If you’re planning on visiting me any time soon, instead of bringing me chocolates, could you endeavour to bring me a jar of fresh air? I’ve asked Oli but he threatened to fart in it. Needless to say the trust is gone.

Today is also a day to celebrate because I brushed my own teeth. Granted, I had to hold the toothbrush still and shake my head from side to side but this is a big deal okay? My right arm is out of bounds – it has to stay flat so that I don’t kink the tube (more in that later) – and my left arm had gone bluey, greeny, purpley, swolleny, difficult to movey, can’t hold my phoney due to the bruising caused by the attempts to take my blood. Honestly, it got to the point the other day where they tried three times in my hand and once in my foot and still got nothing.  Me finally being able to eat post 14hrs of being nil-by-mouth. That is one sweaty forehead.

So on Friday I went down to theatre for a local anaesthetic (ew so I’m awake for all of it) and a procedure to put a tube in to my blocked vein in my right arm and then a wire inside that until it reached inside two thirds of the clot. They then used an infusion of drugs to target the clot directly. Because the drugs thinned out my blood, I’ve bruised everywhere and badly!

I’ve been bed bound with two even gammier arms. I’ve mainly slept – I did have a few tears but now I’m so dehydrated that it’s almost just salt in my tears and it stings my eyes and the worst bit is, I couldn’t  even wipe them because I couldn’t bend either of my arms! I’ve been kept busy by loads of  great visitors  though- I’ll write more about it later as I’m a bit tired now.

I’m not going to lie, being on HDU sucks. I’ve never been so hopeless and in pain. And a trick I’ve learned is not to hold in a wee and save it up for minimal bed pan usage – there will be over spill!

I’ve just come back from the theatre where I am now clot free! Yay! But the bad news is, it grew over night instead of shrinking so they had to removed it with a vacuum and a balloon (kid you not). It has gone now but because it grew, it would mean that I have had it for a long time and that it’s likely to come back and sooner rather than later. It looks like the plan might be for me to have an operation to have my top rib removed to create more room for my veins to avoid the kink.

I arrived back from theatre two hours late to find Oli, Max and Clo chillin’ which was lush. Even better when Dad arrived with the Subway order! What a lad. (Btw I’ve been nil by mouth for the past four days, only being allowed to eat in the evening. Terriblé)

Because I’ve not moaned enough, where my blood pressure has had to be taken almost every hour since I’ve been here, I’ve come out in a lovely red rash on my left arm. And my right arm also has a rash because of the clear dressing over where the tubes were. So I’m now on antihystemines too.

Anyway I’m knackered now. I have more to write but I’m just too tired. Thank you everyone for the lovely messages.

90-year-old Joyce has just moved in to the bed opposite me on HDU. The nurse asked ‘are you allergic to anything?’

Joyce said: ‘Not really. But if you were to offer me a bit of brandy I wouldn’t say no.’

Joyce is winner. Off her rocker but she’ll be alright…

Here’s to laughter

First of all, a shout out to Maddy Ilsley who was making her way to see me at Guys Hospital when I’m at St Thomas’. Gold star for you.

Second of all, if I have a heart attack it will be from laughing too much, caused by Maddy, Oli and Clo. My chest hurt so much from laughing, as I can’t breath properly normally let alone with a fit of the giggles. Clo brought a right proper picnic which is great because the hospital food is shocking (I’ll address this at a later date. It deserves its own post, trust me). I had to kick them out just before 9pm for fear of causing myself a stroke.   A photo where I don’t look the worst… Too many chins Oli! xxx

Third of all, Aunty Giselle came to see me on her lunch break because she’s a nurse here on another ward, which was lovely. Aunty Mel and my fifteen-year-old cousin Jack also popped in for a visit as they were in the area. It was cut short because a porter came to take me for an X-ray. As I was just about to leave Jack keeled over face first on the bed. He’d passed out but obviously I called for help and two doctors and five nurses came running. I jumped off my bed as Jack was put on it, he was given some oxygen and was hooked up to an ECG. Drama! He was totally fine but he was whisked off down to A&E just in case. It’s alright Jack, come to visit me, take me bed and me doctors and me machines and me attention why don’t you! (Oli, it’s okay because Jack took it one step further.)

Honestly though, the amount of amputated limbs on this ward is a bit shocking especially if you’re not used to it. I’ve become accustomed to it. Some of the patients have told me about their ‘phantom limb’ pains where they feel like the whole limb is there and it causes quite a bit of distress. I’ve even been told by one patient that she calls the missing bit of her leg ‘Chris’. Apparently she’s always wanted to name one of her children Chris.

*Squeamish people look away now* 

Today I’m having local anaesthetic and having a cannula put all the way up my arm until it reaches the clot. Then I’m being moved to the High Dependency Unity whilst they give me a strong blood thinner to dissolve the clots. I have to be closely monitored because let’s face it, your blood isn’t supposed to be thinner. I could be there for a few days, it just depends. I’ll try to keep you updated but I reckon I’ll be feeling crappy and I dunno how much I’ll be able to type. You’re probably all cheering: ‘We’ve finally shut her up!’

*Welcome back squeamish people*

I just want to say thanks to Maddy and Aunty Mel for the colouring books. As soon as I can grip on to anything with my fliddy (apologies) hands, I’ll be right on them!

I’m back to being nil-by-mouth now so think of me whilst you’re tucking in to your full English breakfast!

Peace out y’all. See you on the other – clot free – side (hopefully).

Are you Harry Baldy?

This is what the nurse asked me. She was just being silly because she accidentally clicked on the wrong person’s notes. But for real, someone on this ward is called Harry Baldy. It’s like an oxymoron – Hairy Baldy. Or Garibaldi like the Italian revolutionist. Or the biscuit. Ssh I’m tired.

(As I write this, the patient opposite me has just put Jeremy Kyle on the telly. I’ve just heard ‘Her name is Tesco because she’s open 24/7’. Charming!)  Here’s today’s sunny view of Big Ben.

There’s not a lot to update you on. I didn’t have the op yesterday so I broke my 6 hour fast with a Creme Egg. Needless to say I’d be useless during Ramadan.

*If you don’t like needles and veins stop reading now* 

In simple terms, I have a clot near my collar bone on the right side which is stopping the veins working properly to get the blood away from my arm, which is why it’s blue. Some of the clot has travelled to the lungs, which is causing me trouble to breath.

‘But what caused the clot in the first place?!’ I hear you ask. Aha, I can answer you this. The area where my veins and arteries cross near the collar bone is smaller than normal and something – maybe muscle or extra bone – is pinching it, stopping the blood from getting passed. This needs to be confirmed by another scan but if this is the case, they’ll need to operate to make more room so it doesn’t happen again.

For now, I’m going to be put on a drip for a couple of days to break down the clot near my collarbone and banish it from the Kingdom of Body Beautiful (that’s me). When the clots are gone, they may send me home to recover and then bring me back to operate. Or they’ll do it while I’m in now. Does that make sense?

In other news I think I’ve developed a fear of needles. Because they can’t get any blood from blue arm everything has to be taken from my left arm – I’ve had 13 needles in my left arm and one in my tummy. To make things more irritating, my veins aren’t playing game so it takes multiple attempts. My hand is a bit swollen from where they have to take the blood and yesterday, they had to delve deep into my wrist to reach the artery as I was complaining of chest pains. It hurt like a mother f***** and I let everybody know.

*For those who switched off, you can tune back in now*

Thank the Lord for dry shampoo. As my right arm is blue and heavy I can’t really use it (like I can’t even pick my nose. I go to lift my finger up to my snozzer and by the time it gets there my arm is dead!), and my left arm is bruised and has a cannula in the fold. This results in me having two fliddy arms. I know that is very unPC and I apologise for the offence, but really they’re useless. I can’t wash myself because I can’t hold the shower head (mother has to help me. I have to shame being in the nuddy in front of mum). The greasy mop on my head even offends me and I can’t tie it up, so dry shampoo is my absolute saviour.

 This is how grateful I am for dry shampoo. Leave me alone, I’m on drugs.

Mum and Dad visited again yesterday and so did my cousin, Maree. The perks of being in London is that my friends and family who work here can pop in after work. Oli came again too. He had to help me get into my pjs. This was hilarious. I’m not sure if he’s had to do it before when I’ve been too drunk to do it myself but this was funnier – and worse -because I was sober. He nearly wet himself laughing at the little foldy down seat in the shower. And laughing with me as I’m standing there in the nuddy with two almost useless arms. He told me he’s seen me looking shitter than this. I think it was supposed to be a compliment…

 Dad turned up with a pafiterole tower yesterday. Although they looked great, I’m not a fan of unnecessary amounts of cream. Oli and Maree liked them though! Can I have some of those chilli prawns again please Pops?

Sorry if this post isn’t as cheery as the others – I’m pleased they have a plan now though. Excuse me please, can you make me better now?

For those of you who are keen to hear about Ethel:

She had her blood pressure taken earlier today and when it was over she asked the nurse: ‘Am I alive?’ She’s a right hoot. There’s no stopping Ethel.

Don’t tell the doctor you’re a journalist.

Especially when they’re half way through inserting a cannula into your arm.

The junior doctor, baring his ‘BMA: it’s everyone’s fight’ badge, was distracting me with a light bit of banter:

Dr: ‘I chose this pink one because it looks good. Actually that was a bit sexist of me, sorry.’

Me: ‘Yeah that was a bit but I’ll let you off.’

Dr: ‘So do you work? What do you do?’

Me: ‘I’m a journalist.’

Dr: ‘Oh wow. We don’t like journalists. I’d better be careful what I say!’

I must add that he was joking but was also genuinely taken a back. And it’s had the same effect on other people in the hospital. When Mum came to visit the same doctor came back to explain what was going on and we told him that she has a medical background. “A journalist and a nurse? I really must watch what I say!” It turns out that journalists really are mega mistrusted. If I’m honest, I reckon it’s the estate agents you need to watch out for…

This is me in A&E shortly before Oli almost passed out! 

Update: I have blood clots in both lungs. It basically means that there is something blocking the blood from moving around my body properly. It would explain why I’ve been such short of breath for a while because not enough oxygen is getting to my lungs. But it’s okay, it can be sorted. It’s lucky I came in now or I’d still be a heart attack waiting to happen!

There is another diagnosis that is specifically causing my blue arm but I can’t remember the name of it. And the explanation involves much talk of veins and other innards and I’m worried if I tell you it will have the same affect on you as it did on Oli. We don’t need you passed out on a bed in A&E…

I’m having some more scans today that will determine whether I need an operation or not to rearrange some of my insides and stop the blue arm from happening again. Because of the possibility of an op, I was woken at 6am to have a light breakfast and I’m nil by mouth for the rest of the day. That’s no water either. Ironically I was thinking about giving the 5:2 diet a go but was worried I couldn’t stick to the 500 calories day.

As I munched on my breakfast of jam and toast in the early hours of this morning, I watched the sunrise over the Houses of Parliament. I can see the canteen from my window, slowly filling up with hungry MPs, probably prepping for PMQs. I’m hoping I can hear it over here – I’m that close.

When Dad comes to visit. Top bloke. 

I feel a bit pooey, particularly with slightly greasy hair (despite having washed it last night), no make up, no fresh air and y’know the old lungs situation isn’t helping. But being on the vascular ward (the place that deal with the blood network system i.e. veins, arteries and capillaries) I’m lucky to be so youthful and particularly to have all four limbs. I’m counting my lucky stars.

Anyway, Ethel’s just woken up. Time to hear about this morning’s bowel movements. As always, I’ll keep you updated – with what’s happening with me, not Ethel’s bowels.

I have a blue arm.

I’m blue dadba dee daba dye!

I have a blue arm. It’s true. It’s the right one. It’s something I noticed at work on Monday and, being quite fond of my arm, I decided to get it checked out so as not to risk it falling off. I’m right handed you see and therefore reluctant to lose it.   The view from St Thomas’ Hospital ain’t that bad…
The last time I spent a night in hospital I was 11 and there to get my appendix out. I was on a children’s ward where my mum could sit with me and pass the time. Also, with her nursey background, she’s pretty good at staying calm and laughing at situations, where I get a bit worried. This time I had Oli who was also very lol (telling the doctor he thinks I may have asthma). Until the vascular surgeon was describing to me what the problem was. It was Oli who went grey, sweaty and feint. Nothing a bit of a lie down on the hospital bed couldn’t sort out though…

But he trooped on and went home to grab me some stuff: namely a toothbrush, some pjs and five pairs of knickers. I have no idea how long I’ll be here but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Here’s a question for you: what is hospital etiquette? You’re put into a bed in a room full of strangers and then you’re expected to sort of settle in. Everyone is ill so where do you look? At their ill bits? What are the rules on eye contact? Do you sleep in your clothes? Is it okay to take my bra off? Because I know I can’t sleep until the girls are free.

I took matters into my own hands, removed the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, drawing the curtain around me and tried to get some sleep.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of a loud voice from the bed opposite: “It was only a small one. I’m constipated you see.” Then the smell of wee. Oh here we go…

However, after a change of knickers and a brush of the old teeth (courtesy of Oli) I braved pulling the curtain back. Just as I expected, three other ill and old people.

But I shouldn’t judge. They’re all lovely. I’ve even made friends with 93-year-old, very deaf Ethel (the constipated one) who flashed me her undies when she was showing me how flexible she is. In any other circumstances I would be alarmed but I was actually mega impressed.

I’ve got some scans and things today but I’ll keep you all updated. For now, me and Ethel have got a crossword to finish…