Monday, September 06, 2010


Hospital stories are the pits aren't they? Yet somehow I want to write mine. It all boils down to a series of snap shots.

A funny pain in the back of my knee and sweating a bit in Bristol on Thursday lunchtime. The full on shakes and hospitalisation in London in the wee hours on Saturday. Waiting to be seen by doctor with drunken shouty people in Kings College Hospital A and E. Phone ringing every twenty minutes to announce the decks being cleared for shooting victims.

Eventually seeing a succession of doctors one of whom draws around large spreading red areas on my leg with a biro. These lines quickly treated as irrelevant by spreading red areas. Leg begins to look like the Atlas of the World drawn up during the heyday of the British Empire. An IV drip being connected to my arm for the swift input of industrial amounts of antibiotics. The offending leg proceeding to behave like an infectious lava lamp. Surgery of a radical nature suggested by young turk of a doctor, then as quickly discounted by an older hand, mercifully.

The Bank Holiday weekend spent in the Oliver ward which if anything is noisier at night than it is during the day. There's a man who shouts all the time. And I mean all the time, every two minutes. ("Nurse! .....Nurse!.......Can someone be appointed to talk to me?" Ad nauseam. All day and all night.) Eventually they take him away. Then they replace him with another man, who shouts AND vomits all day and all night. Where do they get the energy from? I could do with it, I reflect sourly as I ram the ipod headphones further into my ears at 3 am.

Reading a book a day while watching the leg slowly change colour. Red. Then a bit yellow, then blistering like the surface of an alien planet, suitable for a drive by the Mars Rover (see above. I've not included the upper thigh. Just be thankful) Posting on Facebook from my iphone but realising photo of leg is unsuitable for the internet, could actually get me imprisoned. Two brilliant nurses, Andrea and Angela, who keep me sane, calm and above all going while the doctors stay semi detached, at times preferring to look at a computer screen round the corner rather than actually come and see me. Am I that boring, I wonder.

Eventually start shuffling about but it feels as if my leg is in a vice. Epic of endurance to get to the shower, so don't bother for four days. As days accumulate I continue walking about, sometimes in the middle of the night to get a bit of peace. Consider sleeping in the hospital garden. Reject idea as might annoy nurses.

Lots of visitors. These are welcome in one sense, ie proof I am clearly not terminally unpopular, but really just want to sleep or read and get strength back. Have appetite again, despite the antibiotics, but food in hospital incredibly bland. On the other hand it is delivered by Howard, a friendly Chinese bloke who is a star. Try to eat it in order not to disappoint him, but vomiting ward-mate puts me off by projectiling into the bin at 1pm and 6pm on the dot. He is spectacularly rude to the nurses and refuses his medication. Why is he here?

Bonkers messmates aside I start to find hospital delightfully stress free, a bit like Yossarian in Catch 22, so make a face when senior doctors turn up on Tuesday and decide I'm bed blocking. Consider hiding under the bed. Reject idea as might annoy the nurses. Ms T, who saved my leg by insisting on me seeking help the previous Friday then turns up and drives me home. She looks exhausted, I realise humbly that sometimes it's worse watching people being ill than actually being ill yourself.

Leg now almost the right colour, although still limp about like Long John Silver, and foot swollen from time to time. What is this thing? None of the doctors seem to really know though the catch all term is cellulitis. Some insect may have bitten me, it appears, or maybe a small cut let the bacteria in. Just bad luck.

Drama over. Back to work Wednesday, hopefully.

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