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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Why maths is important

The lull in my blog is due to two reasons. 1. The gerbils reacted strongly, some might say disgracefully to the introduction of James Hunt (shunt) into the gerbils nesting parlour 2. I completely forgot my password post operation! I am writing this entry now safely esconsed at home in bed after discharging from hospital yesterday. My hairstyle is now very ridiculous, (my hairdresser may refuse to cut it the on the grounds that it is beyond salvage). I have what the shunt guy describes as my shark bite behind my hear which is rather disturbing and enthralling my kids in equal measure and I also have a c-section style scar on my tummy...don't say the gerbils spread that far!! Anyhow onto the business in hand. It's very odd the things I Became focussed on when I was most poorly this time and maths became very important to me. I admit I've always been a bit of a maths geek,( apart from the time in Mrs C's class when I was 13 when I rather rebelled). Being able to quickly work out quickly the time the next pain relief was due was strangely comforting, and as it turns out very prudent too. Hopefully most of you have never have nor will need to spend time in hospital for any duration so will not know the rigorous regime for meals, meds, pretty much everything. Two days post operation I was doing a great impression of someone who'd been on a three day all night bender, it wasn't good. The last lot of drugs( all above board) were administered at 8 am and at 10am sweet hearted nurse came in with some anti sickness tablets. "how long should you leave between doses of this one?" I asked, "4hours" she replied. Beloved husband gallantly pointed out that the time was not yet upon on us and she left only to return at quarter to one with the whole shabang of my meds. Lying prostate and very feeble, the gerbils rampaging, I drew on the strength of hubby and formidable yet loveable MIL who were at my side, and my knowledge of drug routine to whisper "these aren't due yet are they?", "yes they are" she replied, " every 6hrs" " I know but it's been less than five since the last lot" I offered. She paused, considered , and then looked at me like I was completely confused( which I was but my maths chip was still working). She proceeded to hold up her fingers and said slowly for me, "yes, 6 hours, 8,9,10,11,12,1" peeling down her fingers to prove the point. " no 9,10,11,12,1,2" I disputed. She repeated her finger count much to the bafflement of all present until MIL stopped the strange scenario with an emphatic "they're due at 2pm". End of conversation. The upshot was, the drugs were delayed which whilst safer was a hollow victory as I really wanted them at the time. My learning out of the experience is a heightened belief in the importance of maths for anyone's career. Needless to say I will be spot checking my daughters mental arithmetic in case they follow a career in nursing. I should just say the majority of my nurses were superb, caring, attentive, angels in uniform and excellent at maths.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The gerbils

In March I came round from my 2nd major operation in the space of 24 hours a little bemused and bewildered. The thing that especially confused me was I had a pipe running out of my head. Funnily enough it wasn't the presence of the pipe that bothered me it was that about 2 inches above where the pipe exited my now partially shaved head, I had a dressing and what appeared to be staples in my scalp. It was like I'd been the victim of an office rage incident. I asked the loved ones why I had this hole in my head which was stapled (yep did i mention it was a hole?) and it was obvious that they didn't have a clue. Then knowledgeable and matter of fact big sister said 'that's the hole where they swapped over your brain gerbils'. Call me daft (my excuse was I'd just had brain surgery) but I was quite pleased with the idea that a new set of gerbils were now powering the wheel inside my head. It has made it easier to laugh this time round when the fluid built up, that the gerbils are the cause. My consultant has returned and now I learn something new, gerbils are creatures that require stealth and patience to train. His cunning plan is to wait and watch the pesky things and make sure they don't go back to their old tricks. This involves plenty of CAT scans. I sense a flaw with this cos surely it is unlikely we will spot the gerbils because of course they will be scared of the CAT. The odd MRI scan is thrown in for good measure to try and catch them off guard. So far they're lying low: probably out of it on the drugs! Last week I did try and eject them orally but to be honest I just felt totally crap and got bum injections for my troubles. And so we wait, if the gerbils pee less and my head doesn't fill up then I'll get to go home sooner, if they don't my lesser spotted consultant will be going into my head on a big game hunt and setting a trap for the little critters. Only time will tell. Either way I'm cool though would prefer not to have another shaved portion of hair when the other bits only ust growingback. Off now for a mid morning snooze , see if I can hear any squealing or scrabbling noises. x.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Things that go 'Ai,Ai,Ai' in the night

'why are you doing this?' 'Ai Ai Ai' 'Aaargh!' I've never been to the Amazon jungle in the middle of the night but apparently the pitch darkness is punctured with loud shrieks , yelps and screams. Over the last 10 nights I have been attempting to sleep overnight in a London hospital and the noise and sounds generated by a diverse group on ward is exactly how I imagine the jungle to sound. The difference being a bit more low level lighting! I have one ward mate, who for the sake of this blog I will call Wilomena. Wilomena is 92 years old and is like a nocturnal bird of paradise. I use the Bird of paradise analogy as her shrieks are Sharp, loud and frequent although she stops to preen any time a male nurse or doctor comes within 1 metre of her bed. The most interesting thing about Wilomena, other than the fact she flirts with any man, is that she makes her loudest screams at night. As soon ss lights go out the wailing and yelping begin. Please do not worry that she is in pain, she is being well attended to, it just appears it has become her habit to have this ritual each night. Other common and unwelcome sounds on ward at night include farting ( I join in this one to remain part of the pack) , snoring in all octaves, puking and the the soft distant noise of staff chatting and laughing. One thing I know about hospital stays that I didn't before my March head popping anneurism, is that while you may leave healthier than when you arrived you always leave more tired.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Jurassic poo

Pain makes you constipated. Who knew? Probably lots of people out there had already made the connection between medication and your inability to , how shall I put it, have a movement. This week I have had a lot of drugs. Not in your hippie 'good shit' style, but purely to get pain to manageable levels. At this fine london hospital there is a team who deal with pain, seriously there is. No they're not dressed in S&M gear , more about them another time. Anyway the pain team told me added pressure in my nether region wasn't ideal combined with existing head pressure. It was clear that we needed to take action and come up with a cunning plan to restore normal deliveries. Learned and slightly abrupt doctor prescribed laxatives. Yuk! Much esteemed and seriously wise mother brought a bottle of syrup of figs. Hmm not bad! Beautiful and caring friend brought pineapple and cherries. Very tasty. With no hesitation I commenced the assault. With days I was delivering ice age poos. I use this description as they resemble fossilised berries. I knew that this was not enough and redoubled this point the cunning plan became flawed, maybe I over did it. Due to compulsory bed rest I was using the commode and soon came the day when I knew the commode was required for more a bulkier delivery. Well my combo of all three 'mover and shakers' worked and suffice to say I produce a Jurassic size poo, not once, not twice but three times. Success is sweet and I rebelled as the pressure one end was relieved sand not a little smug. There was a sting in the tail, whilst getting to standing after getting this load off my mind I omitted to notice the nurse had put down the footrest. Suffice to say that I for one brief moment wore the Jurassic poo like a Victorian bustle before it cascaded onto the floor under my bed and that of my unsuspecting bed neighbours. Ah well, normal service resumed in time for olympics , jolly good.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

One step backwards.

128 days ago life changed as quickly as a balloon can burst. I suffered a sub arachnoid brain hemorrhage and added complications of a fluid build up hyydrocephalus. These ramblings are not about the fight for survival which I experienced then but a sharing of my views ,feelings and experiences as I take a step backwards my first to date, in what, to date, has been an amazing recovery in a rollercoaster ride. Normal is an illusion let me tell you, but to set the scene, I had reverted to life at somewhat normal levels of activity albeit at a reduce pace to that I lived it at prior to March 8 th when my head went POP. Then last week I felt the tightening band around my head return. Yikes. This unfortunately could only mean one thing,it meant the unwanted extra brain fluid , or gerbil juices as I like to think of them, had returned. Fear of the unknown is tough , fear of what you know brings the added passenger of anxiety. For me it brought with it the memory of my previous experience. Let me tell you, gerbil juice overload is not the best ride you can take in this funfair we called life. I confess to being angry that it was happening to me again and a little scared of the pain I knew that would inevitably follow in the coming days. That was last Friday. Since that time I have had drain off of gerbil juice,not unlike to the first stage of an oil change I imagine. Undignified. Tick. Painful. Tick. I have slept on a ward with an ever changing array of women. Loud. Tick. Smelly. Sometimes. I have been sad, been happy, been sick. The one constant thing I am focussed is getting better....which I am. What's the next step. Well first is that my doctor who treated me last time is back from holiday tomorrow and maybe then we can come up with a plan to stop these gerbils peeing in my head. Until then I hang in there. I cope with the pain. I forgive my nurses for being dismissive or slopy shouldered in administering duties on the odd occasion. Until then I don't inhale someone's (or my own) fart , I eat the inedible food and sleep through the noise. Until then. Because I am thankful to be here at all so know none of the other stuff matters really. Love. Kindness. Compassion. Family. Friends. These are what matters in my life and again and again they reveal themselves so I know on Monday there will be a plan and a way forward. Onwards and upwards.