Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Familiar faces, familiar places

Monday 30th March

My GP is examining the inflamed area to the left of my stoma. The inflamed area to the left of my stoma is new. It’s red and angry looking, the skin taut and shiny, solid to the touch. It reminds me of the old cricket ball my dad kept under the stairs when I was growing up. “Okay, you can do yourself up and take a seat,” the doctor says, washing her hands. “I’m going to make you an appointment to see a consultant at A&E.” A&E. That means Whipps Cross. Hospital. Again. “You might have an abscess, which would explain why you’re feeling so bad.” The doctor makes a phone call and an appointment is made for 4pm the next day. A&E. Whipps Cross. Again. Once more unto the breach, dear friends…

Tuesday 31st March

The screams are coming from a few cubicles down. I can’t imagine the level of pain that could cause such a full throttled scream. This is what it must have been like in operating theatres before the invention of anaesthetic. I bury my nose in Q magazine and pop another gummy bear into my mouth. I’m waiting in cubicle 22 in the A&E department of Whipps Cross. I’ve been here about 4 hours. Earlier, if my memory serves me correctly, I saw the consultant doctor who confirmed I do have an abscess, “You’re going to have to come into hospital.” I let out a sigh so big my toes deflate. “I’m sorry, I can’t just send you home with antibiotics, these things can get quite nasty. Come on let’s get you registered.” Naturally a girl with a cascade of peroxide Dolly Parton curls and a broad Texas accent registers me. Whipps Cross never fails to disappoint. I expect the porter taking me to the ward will be JR Ewing. So I’m placed in cubicle 22 and told to wait. Eventually the familiar face of one of the surgical team appears around the curtain. He examines the swollen area around my stoma. “You’ve got a localised abscess here, which is going to need draining.” Ouch. “This is more consistent with Crohn’s, you know” he adds, looking up to check my reaction. I’m prepared, “I saw gastroenterology on Friday and they said it was definitely UC.” “Well if they could see this I don’t think they’d have any doubts. It’s Crohn’s.” The doctor says he’ll see me tomorrow and I wait to find out what ward I’m on. So it’s Crohn’s again? Crohn’s, UC, Crohn’s, UC, what’s it to be? Can’t we just pick one and stick with it? At least for a few days. I’m angrily biting the heads off gummy bears when I’m told I’m going to Primrose Ward. Ah, my old stomping ground. This is to be my third stay in hospital in 3 months. I wonder if the NHS has a loyalty card scheme?