Twenty hours in A&E
The title is inspired by the TV show 24 hours in A&E that is on TLC sometimes, which I found funny. The story wasn’t so funny though. Last week I had another gall bladder episode. This time it didn’t fade away after one hour. It got worse. So that’s pretty much the beginning of how I ended up spending twenty hours in A&E.
The pain started around 10 pm. I was already in bed after a busy day and I was having a conversation with Huib when the pain hit me. I tried to just relax for a while and I was hoping that it would fade away. It didn’t, in fact, after an hour it got much worse. I got some painkillers, but even that didn’t help so around 12.30 am I called a doctor to ask if there was anything they could do, even though it was clear that the pain was coming from my gall bladder. She asked me to come over. They examined me real quick to see if it was in fact the gall bladder (I mean, with my luck it could have been something else entirely) and when the doctor was sure, she gave me a morphine injection. Then I was asked to wait for half an hour to see if the pain would get better.
The pain was still right there when she returned, only I was feeling kind of dizzy and sick from the morphine. I was sent to the emergency room at the hospital,which is in the same building so thankfully we didn’t have to travel again. At the hospital they gave me more pain medication and I had to give them a urine sample and some blood so they could run several labs. They wanted to know if it was just a gallstone trying to pass or if my gallbladder was infected. All they found out was that my liver levels were not right, but as there was nothing they could do about that in the middle of the night, they sent me home to get some sleep and advised me to go to the hospital where I’ve had my gastric bypass surgery in the morning. At that time it was 5 am, so that meant I could actually sleep for an hour, before I could get up again and call the next hospital. Not that I did get much sleep, as the nausea was terrible and I kept vomiting. Hurray for morphine.
So when the morning came I called the other hospital, explained the story and I was asked to come over right away and I was told not to eat and drink. I could not even eat or drink at that time because I was feeling sick, but I did realize that it had been a while since I’d had a drink because I had spend the whole night at the hospital where I wasn’t allowed to do so. So there we were, jumping in our car again, driving to Beverwijk for the next hour. I sat there with a bucket on my lap, just in case.
In Beverwijk Huib got me a wheelchair (I felt drunk and crazy from all the pain medication and couldn’t really walk) and he wheeled me to their emergency room. Turns out that a gallbladder and liver are not a reason to think that you’re an emergency at all. I mean, I get that, because I wasn’t dying or anything and it was super busy, but I had to wait for quite a long time before anyone came for me to ask what was going on. I gave the nurse all the papers I had gotten from my family doctor and the hospital we saw that night, so that they would know what was going on. (Keep this in mind while you read the rest of the story…) The next step was to go to the lab upstairs to give them blood and urine, so they could test me again. So we went upstairs and then back to the waiting room.
After another hour we got to see the surgeon. She examined me and then ordered another ultrasound to make sure that everything was the same as a few days before, so she could decide what to do next. I had to keep in mind that I might need the surgery today, so I still could not eat or drink anything. At the ultrasound the radiologist told me that she thought that the gallbladder should be removed. (yeah, you think so?) The surgeon wasn’t so sure anymore. She thought that my blood results told her that my gallbladder was actually infected, but then she figured that it wasn’t the case and asked for a consult of a gastroentorologist. He was busy so we had to wait for a long while before he came to see me. Now the nurse told me that internists are well known for ordering many tests so I should prepare myself. The good thing was that it was getting late so I was allowed to drink again, as the surgeon had gone home and I wasn’t getting the surgery that day. Yes, at that point it was a good thing as I was thirsty as hell.
So, I got an ECG, more blood tests and they checked my blood pressure. Turned out that my pulse was kind of slow, but that wasn’t bad according to the nurse and so we waited for the doctor to return. His plan was to schedule an MRI. At that point I had a meltdown. What was this for? Three different doctors had told me to get that gallbladder removed and suddenly they were worrying about my liver and some other levels in my blood that have been off since 2005, when I’ve had mono. I told him that and suddenly it was quiet. Why didn’t I say so. Why didn’t I what? Remember that I told you to keep in mind that I gave a whole pile of paperwork to the first person I saw that day? Right, well she forgot to scan those documents and the next doctor forgot to tell him that. Alright. That meant that we had been searching for something that wasn’t there all along, while I could have had the surgery there and then.
Well instead, at 7 pm, I was sent home with more morphine. I was supposed to go home and wait until Wednesday to have another appointment with the surgeon, to schedule the actual surgery. I was angry, thirsty, hungry and mostly tired. So we just drove home, I took a shower and then I let myself fall into my bed, where I slept for 16 hours…