Saturday, 22 May 2010

Sunny Saturday ... in A&E...

Hi folks, Vicky here. Yes, today we chose to celebrate the hottest day of the year by visiting Addenbrooke's Accident & Emergency department. Again. Will went down with another gastric bug on Wednesday. It didn't seem too bad to start with but turned out to be something of a grower. Still, we knew the deal this time, right? Stool sample on Thursday through the GP, a load of bloods on Friday, and by this morning things finally seemed to be improving a little. Then we got a call from our GP (on a Saturday - respect), who'd got some results back showing that Will's sodium levels were low. He recommended that we follow this up.

So, we call the out-of-hours folk and the doc says we could go to the hospital or we could stay at home and hope things improve. Um, thanks for that! Of course, Will says that he'll stay at home and hope he gets better. The stay at home option involves taking a hefty dose of codeine to slow down the bowel. This makes Will feel weird and dizzy and makes me feel just plain nervous. I go on a trek for dioralyte and marvel at the heaving crowds of exposed flesh - come on people, just cos it's sunny, it doesn't mean you suddenly look good in a boob tube... (or am I just mean spirited and jaded these days??)

So then it's three o'clock and Will's still in pain and struggling to keep stuff down and most of all I want to avoid A&E on the Saturday night after the first hot day of the year when many people will have been having just TOO MUCH FUN. (Yep, jaded, that's definitely what I am.) I talk things through with Will's sister (handily a GP - poor Ellie having to deal with my anxiety) and she feels we should go and get Will checked out in case the sodium has fallen lower. HOORAY - a decision.

We pack, we go, we're there in 10 minutes. I drop Will off at the door and park, I go in and within LITERALLY five minutes we are whisked away from a waiting room full of DIY- and outdoor-play-equipment-related minor injuries and are in a single room and someone has put a cannula in. Apparently, when it's sunny, they get up to 20 trampoline related injuries per day. Within an hour we've see a junior doc and within 2 we've seen the registrar. They pack in myriad tests (bloods x2, chest x-ray, urine, ECG) and decide that it's ok for Will to go home. YAY! His sodium is slightly higher than yesterday and they trust us to keep him hydrated and to come back if he doesn't continue to improve. The whole thing has taken less than four hours which, frankly, I think is pretty good, given that the doctors were fantastically thorough and engaged. The registrar remembered us from last time(!), the junior doc went through the discharge letter with us in detail, explaining what all the test results meant, plus everything was spotlessly clean... sorry - am I gushing here??

So here's the first thing. I think the NHS is amazing. I love it. The NHS provided world-class CF care for Will at Papworth, it paid for Will to get new lungs and it looks after his new lungs as if they were its own. We can rock up at A&E and be treated without anyone ever asking us if we have insurance. I know some people have less good experiences, and I know we are lucky to have both Papworth and Addenbrooke's on our doorstep, but I can't really get over how lucky we are not to have to worry about the cost of treatment on top of all the other things we worry about.

But here's the second thing. I still absolutely hate Will getting sick and I hate having to take him to the hospital. It's still frightening and stressful. My anxiety levels are generally better than they were, and I really didn't panic too much this time, but I still hate all the testing. Who knows what joyous new weirdness they may pick up. A little abnormal heart tracing sir? Would madam like the low blood pressure today or the high? Which obscure little abnormal measure tickles your fancy? And it's still four hours spent in a tiny room with no windows, waiting for people to come and ask the same questions again or for people who say "I'll be back to do that in just two seconds" but don't appear again for an hour. Four hours that I, in all honesty, am tempted to resent not having spent out in the sun having too much fun, cos then I could be in A&E right now, pink as a lobster and drunk as a skunk.

Loads of love to you all, especially to Jim Fahr in the US who got his new lungs on Wednesday, and to his wife Denise. Jim's been having his own gastric issues following his operation but hopefully both he and Will are now on the mend.

1 comment:

  1. You have a right to be angry, Vicky. It's okay.