I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

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Korto
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I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Korto » 2018-12-31 08:10am

Or, you know, even notice I was gone? (I know my posting history.)

Came down with an infected and inflamed gall bladder. Just got back from hospital yesterday.

To talk about it, I first noticed a bit of a problem on the 23rd, after the Solstice Feast. I didn't pay it much heed, since, you know, these days a bit of an achy tummy after a big meal isn't completely unexpected. I've had it before, give it some hours, a good shit, or even as much as a night's rest and it goes away.
But it didn't.
But it was Christmas coming on, too busy, and it was only mild. A nuisance. It'll go away sooner or later.
On Boxing day, the pain was still only mild, but it was still there. This is when I got concerned. I googled it, and google agreed with what I thought, which was it had well outlasted its welcome and should have fucked off days ago. There was a long list of possibilities listed (inflamed bowel, appendicitis, gastric ulcer, etc) but the take-home was basically "See a doctor. See a doctor. See a doctor."

No doctor's open for Boxing Day, the pain was just mild, and I had my mum's party to go to. I determined to see a doctor the next day, going to the hospital if I had to (time-consuming trip, needs a lot of prep).

AT mum's party, the pain decides to shoot up (despite me only picking lightly), and it's pretty obvious I'm in trouble. I make a call to some triage service, and they tell me to get to a hospital NOW. We call an ambulance (I'm a pensioner, it's free), but cancel half-way through the call as someone else decides to drive us.

At the hospital, I was determined moderately urgent, so we waited a short while before someone saw us, during which time I threw up what I'd eaten into a sick-bag they had a stock lying helpfully around (it's really useful when your body sends you full warning you're going to vomit before it happens. Useful when there's a sick-bag nearby too).
With the examination, and booking me in for an ultrasound the next day when they were available, I was given a painkiller and some water--which I then less than helpfully threw up--and then an anti-vomit drug, a painkiller and some water, which then stayed down. They observed me for a while, and then decided that I was too fit and healthy to be taking up an emergency room bed, I should go home and come back in the morning. So I was turfed out at about 2am, FAR too later to call anyone for help in getting home, so I had to pay a taxi $85 to get back, and that money hurt (re: Pensioner).

The next day I tried to get a GP appointment so I could get an ultrasound here (just 5 minutes walk), but still not open, so the mum-in-law drove us all to the hospital.
The ultrasound found an enlarged gall bladder with a fine collection of stones, so I found my very own new comfy hospital bed. I was, unsurprisingly, badly dehydrated, so I was hooked up to some IV drink (I think they put about 5 litres into me, really, over the days, through that thing), and gave me a painkiller and a sip of water. Which I then threw up. So they stuck a shot of morphine into the drip instead.

My pain at this point, in their scale (1 is the mildest irritation, 10 is the worst pain you can possibly imagine), I put at, like, 5-6, so not too bad, but get wearing after a while, right? And it was a kind of gripping, clenching pain. And that's with the morphine. Yeah, it was a bit annoying.

I'm transferred to Pre-op wards, where they don't like morphine in drips, so they give me another dose of that anti-vomit drug and a pill with water instead, which stays down.

I've got to say here, my wife was absolutely fucking brilliant. All I wanted was to curl up under the covers and hope for the pain to go away, SHE hunted down nurses, pushed for pain pills, blankets, something for a pillow, and everything else I needed. I'm not blaming the staff, they were very busy, but I needed someone on my side and she was brilliant.

The first order was to get rid of the infection. Antibiotics was hooked up to my drip, as a side-order to my saline, and that was me for a couple of days. The first night, I couldn't get any sleep. The day had been too chaotic, and while the pain was controlled, it was still there. The second night, I couldn't get any sleep. I'd spent the day basically snoozing and doing nothing so I wasn't tired, and my pain had changed, from that gripping maybe five maybe six, to a stabbing (Breath in) 8 (Breath out) 6 (Breath in) 8 (Breath out) 6. They tried pain medication, two strong pills, but they had no real effect on this.
The next morning I had a piss (my urination right through had been regular and normal, if bloody dark), and the pain just fell off a fucking cliff. (Breath in) 2 (Breath out) 0 (Breath in) 2 (Breath out) 0. Hey I wasn't complaining.

I actually suspect that when the pain changed from gripping to stabbing, that was when the infection was defeated, and then it was just the stones against a raw organ. I suspect the pain then went because the stones shifted.

An Operation! We're pulling this fucker out. The gall bladder is useful--the liver continually makes bile throughout the day, and the bladder stores it so it can all be used at once at meals--but it's not actually essential. The way the doctor described it was that at my age (ie, still many years to go), it WILL create trouble again. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next year. Mybe next decade. He can't say when, but it WILL. It's a numbers game. So, OK, yank the bastard.

They actually tried to get me in the day earlier, but no openings. Urgent jobs come first, and I was stable and could even theoretically release myself with the doctor only tut-tutting a "You'll be back!". But I would be first on the list tomorrow (barring emergencies), so it would almost certainly happen.
The biggest relief after being told "Sorry, not today!" was finally being able to drink something. I'd been Nil By Mouth the whole day (ever since I'd come into the hospital, really, but I didn't care before), and while I was hooked up the the IV, it was (figuratively) killing me! I think I drank about a litre plus of ices water, orange juice, and tea. Tea! Civilisation returneth!

Didn't sleep that night. Who the hell could sleep? My night-light eventually disturbed the lady opposite recovering from a knee operation, so the nurse found me a torch so I could continue writing.

The next day, fasting again (of course), but more IV fluid. That pretty much didn't stop.
It was a bit of a wait, there were more urgent cases than mine but eventually I get wheeled in, told what's what, asked if I got any questions (not a lot. You buy a ticket for this ride, but it's not like you're driving. I just made sure they knew exactly what bit they were taking out). The anaesthetist complains a bit about the beard as she sticks a mask over my face "to relax me".

...

Oh, hello? There's people looking after me, there's five holes in my abdomen that weren't there before, and my undies had gone missing (I later found them in a plastic bag hanging off my bed-leg). I guess that was it?

I was given an IV with a pain-button for self-regulated administration. I barely needed it. They watched me for a bit, and then after lunch, when my wife and mum had come to visit, told me to push off and stop filling up a hospital bed. Apparently "But it's hot!" isn't a good enough reason for a disturbingly healthy middle-aged man to clog up their beds.

By the way. Fuck it's hot. Forty fucking degrees. The only reason I'm writing this is it's nearly midnight and after a small storm it's fallen to 28. It'll be humid as hell tomorrow.

Had one problem the first night home. The hole they had the drainage pipe in was still weeping through the bandaid, so we had to take it off, clean the mess, and apply the spare they gave. Unfortunately, we made a bit of a meal of it (it was about 2am), and while it was clean and we applied antiseptic powder to the wound (about 5mm across, stung like buggery), the bandage was not good and left the wound a little exposed.
Also, I learnt something. I'm allergic to the adhesive the hospital used in their bandaids. Not serious, the skin just goes red and raw.

You might think at this stage I thought "Right, just leave it, see if it'll seal and she'll be right" Bullshit. That's what I might do in a normal situation. This was post operation, post infection, still probably a little dehydrated, with a 5mm hole leading right deep into my guts, antiseptic powder or not. Bull-fucking-shit. I mean, I'm pretty bloody healthy, but that's just fucking stupid. I told my wife "Make me an appointment for tomorrow at the GP. If not, Doctor-to-the-door (they only come at night, but they come), if not, we're getting me back to the frigging hospital.
I tell my wife, because she'll do it. I might put it off.

I didn't feel it was an ambulance emergency (let's have some sense of proportion here. It's clean, dry, smothered with antiseptic, and almost properly bandaged), but we knew that was available if needed.

It ended up Doctor-to-the-door. I spent the day being mild-mannered and not endangering the bandage (fuck, it's hot), and then the bloke comes around, cleans the mess up, puts a new bandage on, and gives me a script for some more antibiotics, just to be on the safe side. You know, I think he was glad I got right in touch, despite him agreeing it was clean and uninfected. I think if I'd left it and then called him in a week, sweating, puss oozing out of a reddened hole, he would have had one fine description for me. I'll get the script filled first thing. By the time he's left, the chemist was shut.

All in all, though, my stay at The Maitland Hospital was surprisingly enjoyable, despite the unpleasantness. Great staff. I would heartily recommend a stay.
Although it may cost you an arm and a leg.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Broomstick » 2018-12-31 09:41am

When it comes to abdominal wounds you can never call a doctor too early. You do NOT want peritonitis or any other -itis in that area.

Seems you're on the mend and that's good to hear. Wishing you a speedy and uneventful recovery. And some cooler weather.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Korto » 2018-12-31 06:26pm

I fucking hate New Year's.

Three bloody chemists in town, and NOT ONE has regarded it as any kind of responsibility to remain at least partially open to issue life-saving medication to the public. Which when you consider all the lobbying they've done to stay the ONLY public access for life-saving medication (excluding going to the hospital--not really practical for this) is really not on.

I particularly loved the guy with "OPEN 7 DAYS!" next to his locked glass door. Felt like throwing a brick through it.

PS. It's going to be bloody hot today.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-31 08:13pm

I had my gallbladder surgery about seven years back. Not fun. Fortunately I was living in Canada at the time rather than in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, so it didn't end up costing my family their house to pay for it.

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Happy New Year.

And yeah, no service that even borders on essential, privately or publicly owned, should get to close for holidays. We wouldn't let the fire department or the ambulances or the cops or military take New Years off.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Broomstick » 2018-12-31 09:06pm

Hell, I just work in a fucking grocery store and I have to go to work at 5 am tomorrow... the least they could do is keep a pharmacy open here or there, right?
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Gandalf » 2018-12-31 09:52pm

Korto wrote:
2018-12-31 06:26pm
I fucking hate New Year's.

Three bloody chemists in town, and NOT ONE has regarded it as any kind of responsibility to remain at least partially open to issue life-saving medication to the public. Which when you consider all the lobbying they've done to stay the ONLY public access for life-saving medication (excluding going to the hospital--not really practical for this) is really not on.

I particularly loved the guy with "OPEN 7 DAYS!" next to his locked glass door. Felt like throwing a brick through it.
You'd think it an opportunity for profit at least. Holiday times must bring all sorts of issues best solved at a chemists
PS. It's going to be bloody hot today.
I live in Canberra. I'm there with you on that. Are you in a part of Newy that might get a nice ocean breeze?
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Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Korto » 2019-01-01 08:39am

Broomstick wrote:
2018-12-31 09:06pm
Hell, I just work in a fucking grocery store and I have to go to work at 5 am tomorrow... the least they could do is keep a pharmacy open here or there, right?
Yeah. I could have gotten myself a bloody haircut if I'd wanted to, let alone the woolies that never closes. Life-saving medication? Forget it.

Gandalf? Yeah, nah. More towards Maitland way. Least the bloody library opens tomorrow. I've advised/instructed my daughter to get herself there for a good chunk of the day. Wish my boy liked the place, then I could stay there too.


Interesting thing this. You remember we used to have those threads about "Would you be alive if you were in medieval times?" (generally referring to the poorer medical care, I felt). To which my answer was always "Well, yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
I can't say that anymore, can I? I don't really know.

If anything killed me, it would have been the dehydration. While the hospital gave me a lot of antibiotics, I have a lot of faith in my immune system, and given enough time, I feel it would have beat it on its own--and once beaten, the bladder didn't need to be removed. It would have just meant I would be coming back again some day with the same problem.
Given enough time. But I was down a lot of water, and dehydration kills fast.
It's something when you take a sip of water, throw up half a litre of bile, look at it in the bag, consider the water gain/loss balance there, and realise that for the first time in your life this is something you have no chance of beating on your own.
So the question is, could medieval methods have kept me hydrated enough for long enough? I wasn't suffering diarrhoea, or spontaneously vomiting (only in response), so I don't know.

Damn glad I didn't have to find out.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Broomstick » 2019-01-01 05:09pm

Korto wrote:
2019-01-01 08:39am
So the question is, could medieval methods have kept me hydrated enough for long enough? I wasn't suffering diarrhoea, or spontaneously vomiting (only in response), so I don't know.
Not sure when, exactly, the technique was discovered but before IV's were available a last-ditch attempt to hydrate someone was giving them an enema/high colonic, which could work since the large intestine does absorb excess fluid from the feces. Sometimes it worked.

Of course, at the same time they'd probably be bleeding/purging you, too, so maybe not.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2019-01-04 01:14am

Glad you're all right.

With that specific piece missing your probably going to want to read up a fair bit on diet suggestions I reckon, the proper diet is no cure all but it can help with some of the long term problems of digestion this is going to cause.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Korto » 2019-01-04 08:48am

Doctor didn't reckon it should cause much problems, after some adjustment. Apparently the gall bladder doesn't make bile, it stores it after it's made by the liver, and then releases it in a rush when needed. He gave me the impression that if things go normally, I'll still be able to eat normally, but I may find I end up 'grazing' more on fatty foods instead of all in one sitting.
If it impedes my absorption of fat, that's not necessarily a negative thing.
He was pretty much "This won't much difference to you."
The wife's found stuff online that seems to make a bigger thing of it than he did, but it's done now. I'm just going to learn by doing, I reckon.

Oh, and TRR?
Yeah, universal health coverage, only way for a 1st world country to go. It all-up cost me $85, the price of getting home that night.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-01-04 08:58am

Glad you made it, Korto. I have also been lately inactive, and not just because there is less to discuss...

There are encounters with healthcare which can be utterly life-shattering.

We came out of a dangerous encounter with antibiotic-resistant C. Difficile recently, and I am also glad universal healthcare exists, otherwise it would impoverish us in an instant.
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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Broomstick » 2019-01-04 08:36pm

Korto wrote:
2019-01-04 08:48am
Doctor didn't reckon it should cause much problems, after some adjustment. Apparently the gall bladder doesn't make bile, it stores it after it's made by the liver, and then releases it in a rush when needed. He gave me the impression that if things go normally, I'll still be able to eat normally, but I may find I end up 'grazing' more on fatty foods instead of all in one sitting.
Obviously, people will vary on this because they're individuals, but my mom had her gall bladder out in her late 30's and, aside from the sort of scar that gave you back in those days (pre-laparoscopic surgery) it wasn't much of a problem for her. She did have to be careful not to overdo fatty foods in one sitting, but as you noted, being careful about fat consumption isn't a bad thing. Other than that, normal diet. She could still eat high fat foods, just in limited portions. Your body will let you know what the limits are. Certainly, having hers out was an improvement over what she had been going through pre-surgery.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by Raw Shark » 2019-01-07 02:44am

Of course I missed you, jackass. Glad you're ok. ;)

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Re: I've been sick. Anyone miss me?

Post by XaLEv » 2019-01-28 07:42am

i didn't
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