Summertime, and the living is easy…unless you’re me. I was fortunate enough to get away to the cottage for some R and R. I needed it…we all do. We’ve all been in lockdown for so long that even the idea of getting away on holiday is exciting. Unfortunately, I was hit with an acute stomach attack that came on fast and furious. Not to be too gross, but the pain was so intense that I vomited for 13 hours until I was finally able to get to a hospital. The closest hospital is 30 minutes away, but the drive felt like 30 hours. Of course, when I entered the hospital emergency ward I was immediately asked all the standard Covid questions…and I presented with several…stomach pain, vomiting, fever, dizziness…ugh! I didn’t have to wait too long before I was taken out of the waiting room and into the emergency ward (much to the delight of the others waiting as I was still spewing my guts out!)
I was glad to be seen so quickly, BUT, I was put into isolation immediately. That presents a lot of extra issues I quickly found out. Everyone who came near me was in full PPE and had to change each and every time they saw me. That’s a lot of gowns and gloves and masks being changed out for every patient in isolation. I was immediately given an IV which was a task in itself, as I was so dehydrated that it took several painful tries to find a vein.
I have to say that the care and attention I received was impressive. I have been in a lot of hospitals and for a small regional one it was very efficient. After being examined, given fluids and medication for the pain and nausea, I was taken for a CT scan which showed severe inflammation of my stomach. I was admitted and taken to the third floor surgery ward…but still kept in isolation. This meant a private room which at first I was thankful for BUT it also meant no access to anything…including the washroom. I was not allowed to use anything that someone else might use, so I was set up with a commode beside my bed. THAT my friends is the ultimate torture. I’ll let you use your imagination but remember how ill I am and the fact that a commode doesn’t flush. Enough said. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy and endoscopy the following day and was given 4 litres of the most foul tasting juice to drink, in order to flush out my system. At this point, I didn’t think there could possily be anything left…but apparently I was wrong. All night I forced myself to try to drink as much as I could but being already so nauseous it was difficult. The ward I was in was located in the “old part” of the hospital and had NO air-conditioning. We were experiencing a major heat wave with temperatures reaching 37C with a real feel of 40C. Again, imagine extreme heat, my “situation” and a commode. Need I say more?
I got no sleep again that night as I prepped for the scopes. I had now been wake and “ill” for more than 60 hours and I was getting weaker by the minute. At 9 am I was met by the surgeon and told they were taking me first. I was originally scheduled for the end of the day but they wanted to get to the bottom of my problem, no pun intended. Another operating room…another anxiety attack as I relived all the procedures I’ve had in the last three years. The overwhelming feeling of panic and loss of control doesn’t help when you are being bombarded with questions, hooked up to monitors and having a bite guard shoved in your mouth and then told to try to relax and think of something positive as you are injected with the anaesthesia.
The results of my scopes showed that the lining of my stomach was severely inflammed…cause? Could be several things including the copius amounts of medications I have to take plus stress and anxiety. Other things that could add to the symptoms are spicy foods, which I avoid and alcohol which yes I drink but not to access. The good news is that they didn’t find anything else to worry about, which believe me, is great news. I had some polyps removed that have been sent for pathology but have been told of of no concern. Whew! I have been prescribed another medication to take to add to my long list. This one I have to take everyday for at least six months in order to heal my stomach and esophagus which has been irritated from all the meds and excess stomach acid. I have to “take it easy” and be careful with what I eat and drink in order to not cause any more irritation.
Three days in hospital and now I’m out and back on “holiday”. I’ve managed to eat some cereal and sipped on water. Not exactly what I was planning but now I am forced to rest and relax. I have no choice.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.