April 25th 2018 – 2 Years Post Appendicectomy

I was 2 months into my new job and it was my first time taking an official call at my job. I don’t really remember the first call very well. What I do remember is feeling a heaviness in my chest, I felt ill and not right. I thought I was just scared and pushed through another call. Before admitting I didn’t feel well. My mentor and colleagues said to me that if I felt unwell not to worry and go home. I decided it would be a good idea to go home. This was in early March-if I knew what was to come over the next few months I would have driven myself to A&E straight after work.

If you go back 2 years in my posts you will see the struggles I went through (written in a held back, milder manner!!) Posts such as 6 weeks of health and Apparently “There is no Way it is your Appendix!”.

My life has changed in the past 2 years. I changed jobs, bought a house, moved house in that time. I have battled with my physical and mental health. Been treated badly and cut out certain people-that was a tough decision to take but I have realised that I need to consider my own wellbeing and toxic people are not part of my life anymore.

To any Healthcare Workers out there….

This article was submitted to my ‘Mighty’ page but has been saved for future release rather than being published straight away.

Roll back to early March 2016: I had just completed training for a new job within the emergency services and it was my first day “set free” to take calls and be “in training.” I felt strange, was having chest pain and really didn’t feel well. Within the first couple of hours into the shift I went home unwell. The 30-mile journey home was the longest ever and I was straight on the phone to NHS direct for advice.

Fast forward to late April, a very long six weeks later. I was still off work and had been to so many nurses, GPs, out of hours and telephone triage appointments I had lost count. That day I spoke to my surgery to request an appointment with a doctor and was told I couldn’t see one but they had a paramedic in the surgery I could see. By this point I had lost the will to live and just wanted the pain to stop.

I will never forget the kindness I received from that paramedic. I was told to go to the hospital and a letter was written and faxed to the emergency department for me to go to see the surgeons.

I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and while this condition is being talked about more, there is still a stigma with the condition. I had abdominal pain that had lasted about six weeks and had been referred to the surgical team, not the gynaecology team.

One of the worst comments I have ever overheard from a person was: “She has polycystic ovaries, just send her to gynae and they can discharge her.”

While this comment may only be minor, I also saw these people shaking their heads and asking about beds for other patients. Might I add, this person was a doctor.

Three days later, I had surgery and my appendix was removed and then two days later I went home. I continued to use the services of my GP, district nurse and NHS Direct as I had an infection in one wound that turned out to be two different infections as well as several water infections.

I will never be the same person again, but I am very thankful to that paramedic who believed me and listened to me and the surgeon who listened to me and didn’t presume it was just my polycystic ovaries – because it wasn’t!!

To any healthcare workers or those who wish to become a healthcare professional: If a patient comes to you with a problem, please do not presume it is “just” their pre-existing condition. Yes, take it into account, but don’t use it as the first excuse to discharge your patient.

She’s Back!!

So I am back!!

So here is what has been happening….

  • Illness,
  • Appendix Removal,
  • Illness,
  • Infections following appendix removal,
  • Back to Work after 12 weeks off….

 

And here I am!

Going back to work was a huge struggle for me, and I started getting really anxious and having panic attacks. I spoke to my training mentor at work who was a huge help and finally plucked up the courage and tried to get a GP appointment! Refused to see me but chatted on the phone. GP told me to speak to Occupational Health at work who deemed me fit to work and told me to see my GP.

Rang GP again, refused to see me again, spoke on the phone. Dr said meds is not a good idea and that is a “1970’s approach” and “no longer used”. Which working in Healthcare obv I know that isn’t true, however he did say he would refer me to the Primary Mental Health Service.

The Nurse from the Mental Health Service rang and has been the most helpful person I have spoke to and sent a letter to my GP as he thought I could benefit from Meds.

LUCKILY!! We have moved (again) and I have changed Doctor Surgeries. So my Nurse told me he sent the letter to the new Dr Surgery and to make an appointment in about a week.

I have seen my new Doctor and I have been prescribed a new medication for anxiety.

I also have some meds which may help my dry skin, which he confirmed is Psoriasis (previous Doctors said it wasn’t).

I will be posting regarding my medications when I can so keep an eye out for that!!

Infection Update

So after seeing the Out of Hours Doctor on the weekend then being told to see the GP today I decided to do just that.

Asked for Doctor but sent to see nurse, which was a nice nurse and met the Doctor briefly too due to me now having Ketones in my urine (Sorry if TMI) Doctor came to give me the once over.

Got told to rest and given a small talk about how even though my operation was keyhole I have still lost an organ, plus the amount of time I was ill before going into hospital my body will take longer to heal. No dog walking, no mopping, no carrying and rest the Doctor told me.

A few people have said to me “I/my relative/ my friend had their appendix out they were out in one day and back at work within 1/2 weeks”

Well Unfortunately that should have been the case, but as I have other health problems and I was ill for weeks before I can’t just recover like most people! Plus I have had abdominal surgery before so scar tissue takes longer to heal.

Plus I can’t drive over 30 miles to work (not to mention back from work) when I have 2 infections in my body and open wounds, insurance says no!!

Dizziness is a huge concern atm, BP was 110 systolic, down from the 120+ it has been the last week and temp is settling in the 36.7 region with Paracetamol.

Nausea is back again but been told that is the infection, although I have mild nausea a lot of the time anyways so keeping an eye on this in case it worsens, same advice if I suddenly get worse then off to hospital I go.

Carry on with these!! Apparently they are strong and ‘should’ do the job

Carry on with meds and keep and eye come back in a week for review.

Stitch has come out of lower left wound, that was causing huge inflammation and since stitch came out it has calmed down.

Plus I also have a water infection!!

Not sure how when I’m drinking 4 litres or so a day and on antibiotics!

On another note my delivery text came today! But no delivery 😦 This item was out of stock in the warehouse when I got my last delivery but now it is on the way, fingers crossed tomorrow.

Fingers crossed the dizzyness settles and I can just get better.

Scrolling through ebay and treated nyself to a new Food Diary for my SW journey and a new infusing water bottle and mine has a crack in lid and hard to drink out of at work.

Welcome to my body infection….s!!

Well I knew to trust my gut:

Monday : Results in but not reviewed.

Tuesday: Still Not Reviewed.

Wednesday: Still Not Reviewed.

Thursday: Not done yet, fed up and told them I feel terrible so told to ring at 17:00 after they requested nurse to look at them.

17:00 – On hold for about 10 minutes and nurse leaving in 5 minutes but they said they can get someone to review the results.

Doctor Rings me after 18:00 asking how I am and saying I need antibiotics, so after telling them I can’t get there then basically being told I have to, managed to get a lift and got there at about 7pm.

Even after the receptionist ringing me asking where I am and basically telling me I have kept them late and they aren’t happy ( I’ll remember that when they need me at work but I’m due to go home!!)

I tried ringing them to tell them I was going to be longer than they thought but they had diverted their phones through to Out of Hours – Because their phone would keep ringing otherwise!

When I was a medical receptionist if staff were there the phones were on, we weren’t scared of staying on for a bit!!

So turns out I not only have one infection,

I HAVE TWO!!

But my BP is fine and temperature down to 36.7 (ish) so I’m not to worry unless my temp goes up ⬆️ or I start vomiting 😷. Heart rate well up in the 100’s which is high for me!!

So now on one lot of antibiotics , two were recommended but I cannot take Metronidazole as it makes me ill so only on Flucloxacillin and see how these go.

I’m sure this story will Continue!!

In the meantime, my contour kit has been shipped!! I’m really excited about this new product!! Plus I get the brush free with it this month!!

Update 😷

So last weekend and this week have revolved around one thing….PAIN!!

Wounds got very red and sore and left it until Monday because I can’t drive to out of hours, then tried GP monday and asked for a home visit….they only do them in really bad situations (which mine apparently isn’t!) so ended up with the district nurse coming to my house.

Apparently no infection….

Bottom stitch taken out as it was sticking out anyway!

Other two not infected apparently but dressing and Inadine applied to the belly button one to keep until Thursday.

So time to concentrate on my Detox this week….


Chicken Pizza (No Bread!) With Scrambled Egg and Sweet Potato.

Got to thursday, dressing had to be changed before as they were soiled (Nice!!) Wife was off work so she drove me to the Doctors where I saw the nurse (even though I asked for a Doctor, but she was lovely so it was fine!)

Keeping an eye on lower left wound but it’s ok at present. Belly on the other hand still oozing so re-dressed and swab taken, wait for results but nurse said she wouldn’t be surprised if something showed up! And then relevant anti-biotics can be prescribed!

Does that mean there is an infection brewing?

I feel like it, feeling run down and sick! Hot sweats, dizzyness and nausea is back!

Let’s see what happens….

This story is not over!

 

 

Apparently “There is no Way it is your Appendix!”

So here is an update on my 6 week battle of pain, My first night in the decision unit I heard the Doctor saying “She has PCOS, just send her to GYNE and they can send her home.” And then the night of the 24th the surgical doctor that came to see me after me complaining I was suppose to have a surgical review the night before said “Your bloods are normal and ultrasound report isn’t back but your bloods are normal so there is no way it could be your appendix, you will be reviewed in the morning but can probably go home!”

NEXT MORNING

Reviewed by the kind Surgeon at about 11am and told I will be having surgery that day. I signed consent for Exploratory Laparoscopy +/- Appendectomy. I was told ultrasound report still not back and bloods and repeat bloods normal. So will explore to find a cause but if appendix is normal it will be left in and if it appears abnormal then it will be removed.

16:20 – Porters came to collect me, but then ended up walking with the HCA (Around the corner) to the theatre area.

Had some very strong painkillers which made me feel very drowsy!!

Then I was put Under….

20:15 – First Time I remember seeing in Recovery.

20:42 – Back on Ward.

Asked overnight what happened and discovered my appendix had indeed been removed!!

My heart rate throughout the night continued to set the alarms off to the point where the BP cuff and SPO2 monitor stayed on me all night to monitor it.


Surgeon came and saw me next day to tell me appendix was removed and I could go home that day providing there was someone home and I eat and pee etc….

I stayed in that night due to pain control…. I was not in this much pain after my surgery 6 years ago (Keyhole removing Ovarian Cysts, was up and out within 2 hours of recovery!)

Was also very concerned that my pee resembled orange lucozade!!

One thing I learnt, after saying I will never have Morphine, I caved and tried Oramorph, it is the most vile thing I have ever tasted!!

I also woke up with a new line in my right hand and a gauze on my left hand from a failed attempt maybe, still not sure why the need for more lines….

Failed IV (Thanks PCOS for hairy arms!)

 

So had an extra night in and then went home the day after!!

Not allowed to drive for at least 2 weeks, providing insurance are happy and I can do an Emergency Stop.

No work for 3 weeks (with no complicaions) as it is a sit down job (most of the time) I shouldn’t need anymore time off!!

Looking Rough

Now to see how recovery goes….

 

Where out of hours lead….

As you can guess – yes I drove 20 odd miles ( each way) to be told

“Go and get a second opinion from your GP”

NEXT DAY

Contact GP surgery and they didn’t ask a million questions they offered me an appointment with the paramedic that afternoon.

The paramedic was lovely and sent me straight to hospital for surgical evaluation.

It only took 43 days (I Think!!)


Here is how that went:

Arrive A&E 15:00

Rang GP as faxed letter was not through

Got to SDMU (Surgical Decision Making Unit) about 15:45 after getting through to GP and A&E sending me straight up 😦

Bloods after seeing junior doc 19:00

19:45 – two paracetamol

21:00 got a trolley

23.05 tramadol and observations

03:45 oromorph and anti sickness

06:10 paracetamol

08:05 seen surgical team await scan NBM

08:35 tramadol

13:00 paracetamol and anti sickness

ULTRASOUND SCAN

16:55 paracetamol

Injection in belly for clotting

Now waiting for the Senior Review (17:10)

So I choose Out of Hours….

Ok so after taking my Tramadol, I gave in and rang My GP surgery (obviously closed) to go through to the Out of Hours Service. Rang out at 19:07 – hung up at 19:09.

Got through their questions quickly and I am now awaiting a callback from the Doctor, (which is usually a nurse from South West of England) or so my iPhone tells me.

Now for the wait – and to see if this Tramadol kicks in. (And stays down!)

I had stopped taking it (sensibly) however when the GP gave me more he said one at a time not two as previously told, up to four times daily. ONLY WITH MODERATE/SEVERE PAIN.

It is a controlled drug I guess. Let’s see if it helps….

More to follow 😫😢😷💩

UPDATE 19:35

My phone rang half the first ring and hung up , no further calls but left a voicemail asking to call back – CAN’T CALLBACK NUMBER NOT IN SERVICE so have to go back to GP out of hours to tell them I missed a call. Call handler is letting them know and also requesting if phone diverts again to try straight away.

Damn phone!! So now awaiting another callback (They only try three times!)

UPDATE 19:50

Typical stupid phone didn’t even ring that time just pinged through saying I have a voicemail.

Had to ring back again, giving up and telling them to call landline.

Apparently won’t be long. House phone is on my lap ready!!

Day 41 – Sick of being sick

After a long 41 days, Out of Hours visits, GP visits, nurse visits and calls to NHS Direct I am still in pain.

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GP now saying Chronic Appendicitis, but my two blood tests done a week and two weeks before don’t show WBC elevation and I am not actively vomiting so they don’t suggest Hospital!! Really!!!!

I am in pain and fed up and my pain today is at a high but yet rang GP too late for an appointment so now I have to debate whether to go to the Out of Hours again – about 20 miles away (not allowed at the hospital 10 miles away as a different boundary)

Do I put up with worsening pain all night in the hope the GP will see me tomorrow? Or drive yet again to the Out of Hours Service?

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To be continued….

Stacie-Mai xx