Sunday, 23 November 2014

My Story: Part 1

We all have a story, or several stories. Stories that define us and make us who we are, big things and little things that change us and how we see the world. Today I'm going to start telling you one of my stories.

At the start of 2007 I was healthy, fit and happy. I'd just got engaged to the man of my dreams, we were moving in together, buying a house and life was going really well.

I was fit, healthy and never got sick. I couldn't remember the last time I'd had a cold. Around February I got sick. First it was just a viral throat infection. I didn't go to the Dr for a while cause I assumed it'd go away, but after a week I went to the Dr. He told me it was viral, gave me a med cert and told me to come back if I wasn't better in a few days. Four days later when I was still sick, I went back and he gave me antibiotics. I got better, was better for a few weeks, then I got the flu. Between February and May I had the flu twice, a chest infection twice and three viral illnesses. In this time I lost 5kgs, which was okay as I was carrying a bit of extra weight. I'd gone from 65kg's down to 60kg's.

By June the Dr and I knew something was wrong but we didn't know what. I was exhausted all the time and could barely drag myself out of bed. I'd get up, drag myself to work, struggle along for half a day and then go home because I was too tired to function. In the middle of June I gave up and stopped going to work cause getting out of bed was too much effort. I was seeing the Dr two to three times a week, he was running all sorts of tests, but everything was showing up as normal. At this stage
I didn't have any specific symptoms, I was just tired. I remember my boss calling me one day. It was 10am and he woke me up. I had to call in every day that I wasn't going to work and I hadn't called in so he was ringing to see where I was. He asked me what was wrong and I started to cry and told him I didn't know but I couldn't get out of bed. He asked if it was a cold or the flu and what my symptoms were but I couldn't tell him, all I could say what that I couldn't get out of bed. 

Around the same time that I stopped going to work, I got a pain at the top of my stomach, in between my ribs and it just didn't go away. It was there all the time, it wasn't agony, it was more a sore, sick feeling. When I told the Dr this he gave me tablets for reflux. I took them for a few weeks and they calmed things down a bit but the feeling was still there. I saw him on a Friday and told him this, so he sent me off to have more blood tests and booked me an appointment for Monday.

On the Sunday I started to feel really sick and my stomach was feeling extremely sore. I hardly slept that night because I was in so much pain and Tiger said that I was groaning all night, so he didn't sleep either. I also had a high fever. I went to my Dr's appointment on Monday (I don't know how I got there and back without having a car crash and killing myself). I was so sick that I didn't even think of telling the Dr how sick I was or that I had a fever, I just told him my stomach was sore and I didn't feel very well. He booked me in for an ultrasound on Thursday and told me to come back at the end of the week.


The next few days I got sicker and sicker. I couldn't eat anything because every time I did I was in agony from my stomach. The only thing that didn't make me sick was yoghurt, so that's all I was eating. Plus, I wasn't at all hungry. I was sleeping all day and was in so much pain I couldn't stand up straight. It took all my energy to get out of bed and have a shower. It'd take me an hour cause I'd have to keep on sitting down to rest. Then I'd drag myself to the lounge room and sleep all day. I wasn't drinking cause I didn't have enough energy to go to the kitchen and fill up my water bottle, so once it was empty I'd have to wait until Tiger got home and filled it up. Nights were the worst, I was in so much pain that I couldn't sleep and I'd just lay there. Amazingly, Tiger didn't seem to notice that I was gravely ill, he was too absorbed in whatever was going on in his head (by his own admission, he was an asshole back then).

By the Wednesday I was a mess and knew I couldn't get through another night. I don't know what I thought would happen, but I just knew I couldn't do it. I was so sick that I didn't know what I needed to do. Thankfully, Mum rang up in the afternoon. She knew I'd been sick so when she heard my voice and I told her I was sick she told me that I needed to go to the Dr and tell them it was an emergency. I got off the phone to her and asked Tiger what he thought I should do, he said to do whatever I thought, so helpful of him. I rang the Dr's surgery at around 4.30pm and they said that they couldn't fit me in. I told them that I was really sick and didn't know what to do, if I should see a Dr or go to hospital, so thankfully they squeezed me in.

I told Tiger that he had to drive me to the Dr and as I was struggling my way to the bedroom to put my shoes on, he looked at me and said "Gee babe, you've lost a lot of weight." I got pretty annoyed by that, so turned around and growled at him, "I told you I'm sick!"

Between the Sunday night and the Wednesday I lost 6kg's.

I saw the Dr and was in with her for 45 minutes whilst she examined me and then tried to get me a hospital bed. I'd always thought that having private health cover meant that when I needed to go to hospital I'd be able to but apparently that's not the case. She called 4 hospitals before she could get me a bed! As it turned out this was very fortunate, as the hospital she got me into specialises in stomach problems, so that worked out well.

Whilst I was sitting there listening to the Dr talking to the hospital, I was getting a little upset. She'd weighed me and I was 54kg's and she kept on saying that I was anorexic. For some reason, despite how bad I felt and the agony I was in, I was really upset at being called anorexic. I wasn't anorexic, I wanted to eat, but I couldn't! Once I got to hospital they explained to me that I was medically anorexic, which mean that I was extremely underweight, not that I had an eating disorder.

When I walked out of the Dr's office and told Tiger that I was being admitted to hospital he got all worried and said to me, "I didn't know you were that sick babe." I thought to myself, 'well if you'd bothered to take your head out of your ass and look at me you would have realised!', but I didn't say that, I just said, "I told you I'm sick". Once he realised that I was sick he got all worried and helpful.

We went home, packed a bag for me and trotted off to hospital. Whilst they were waiting for my room to be readied, they settled me in the heart ward. That was fun. Because they didn't have me hooked up to the heart machine, it kept on beeping, which was slightly disconcerting, so they turned it off, which was much better. Not sure why it'd been turned on in the first place but anyhow.

The Dr put a drip in (after the nurse had 2 failed attempts, nice) and then proceeded to poke and prod me and ask all sorts of strange questions. The first things both the Dr I'd seen at the Dr's surgery and the hospital Dr thought of were ectopic pregnancy and appendix, but they'd done the tests, I wasn't pregnant and I don't have appendix, they came out when I was 21, so they were stumped. Two of the strange questions I remember being asked were, have you had sore eyes (which I had) and have you had mouth ulcers (which I had). I now understand why they asked those questions, but at the time I wondered what my mouth and eyes had to do with my stomach pains.

They took blood and about half an hour later told me that my blood tests indicated that I had some type of infection but they didn't know what it was. I didn't know it was possible to get test results back so quickly.

After a while my room was ready so I was wheeled up there, settled in and pumped full of drugs which was great because it meant that I got a good night's sleep which I hadn't for 3 nights. The next day, the fun began. At first I had two Dr's, a surgeon and a Registrar. They were both nice. The Registrar oversaw every test I had and explained them to me which was very reassuring.

They had me on nil by mouth, which was fine because I wasn't hungry at all. My first test was an ultrasound. The Registrar was there when I had the test. It showed enlarged lymph nodes on the right side of my stomach but nothing else. Apparently there was 1 less enlarged node than would indicate cancer so that was a relief. So we still didn't know what was wrong, but we knew it wasn't cancer. One more illness crossed off the list.

I was starting to feel a little bit better as they were treating me with 3 types of antibiotics, pain killers, steroids and fluids. At one stage I had 6 bags hanging from my drip stand. I was still feeling pretty sick though, I couldn't read because it took too much effort and I was spending most of my time sleeping.

As soon as he heard I was in hospital Dad came up, which was really sweet of him. He was there first thing the Thursday morning. Mum came up to visit too, and my brother called me every day. I'm lucky my family are there for me when I need them.

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