Today was a real sh*t day.
It started off alright(ish), my tummy was a bit bloated and sore, so I’d taken buscopan first thing, but I’m getting used to being bloated from my tummy not liking stuff or if I’ve eaten too much but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was.
I work in a drive thru coffee shop, and I was in the middle of taking an order from a customer when I could feel an attack of those pains coming on again. Thankfully, I managed to turn the headset off before I started crying but I still collapsed at work. I thought the pains would pass after a few seconds and I’d be able to walk myself to the back room and take some painkillers but I couldn’t move, the pains weren’t going away.
My colleagues were amazing and someone went to get my oramorph from my bag, someone called my Mum, and someone else got me something to drink and helped me out the view of the customers. The pain kept happening though. Usually, they last for 20-30 seconds, then I’m okay for 20 minutes or so until the next attack but they were happening every minute or so.
Mum arrived at work and decided we should call an ambulance because she wasn’t going to be able to carry me to the car because of how regularly the pains were happening. So she called an ambulance and I stayed curled in a corner of the back room, literally clinging onto some shelving as if my life depended on it because the pains were so frequent and bad.
When the paramedics arrived they said there wasn’t much they could do for me as I’d already taken everything I could (buscopan, paracetamol and oramorph) so all they could do was give me some gas and air. It’s the weirdest thing ever! Made me feel like I was so ridiculously drunk and my words were slurring together. When the pains started to become less frequent I managed to get to the toilet and ambulance and then it was on our way to hospital.
I had a few more pains on the way, but I was also feeling sick from going backwards (I’ve always had bad travel sickness!).
Once we got to the hospital, it was the same routine. Nil by mouth. Bloods. X-ray. Wait to see a doctor.
It wasn’t until round 11pm that I saw someone from the gastro team and they told me they thought the pains were highly likely to be caused by adhesions on my small bowel. I’d had my ultrasound and the results had come back clear of kidney stones and any cysts on or around my kidneys, bladder and ovaries – which was strange because when I was 16 I was told I had polycystic ovaries so I expected some of those cysts to show. But then again, cysts can burst so maybe that’s what happened there.
When the consultant came round he told me that the pains I have been experiencing are known as adhesions, which is also known as scarring. As said before, scarring is inevitable with any surgery but he thought the scarring inside me might have caused a kink in my bowel, so every time I eat something that is slightly harder to digest it causes my bowel to work harder and spasm which causes the pains.
Good news – pains from adhesions can go away after a few years.
Bad news – in the mean time I’ve just got to deal with them.
There’s no way to “fix” adhesions so to speak. It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation. The only way you can get rid of them is to have them surgically removed, which means more surgery. But the only reason you get adhesions, is because of surgery.
The consultant told me he would keep me nil by mouth over night and come and reassess me in the morning, however they were reluctant to perform surgery if I was still continuing to live every day life.
Yeah, live every day life with the monthly hospital admission.
The following day the consultant came round and saw me again and spoke to me about surgery in more depth. From what he’d said the night before, he made it sound like surgery was an option that morning. But I was told the reason I’d been kept as nil by mouth was because there was clearly something that was irritating my bowel and the best way to minimise that, was by not putting anything into my body other than IV fluids to keep me hydrated. They chose to keep me on IV fluids because they go straight into your vein and blood supply, where as if I were t drink then it would go into my digestive system and as I was feeling sick they didn’t want to risk me actually being sick and dehydrating myself further.
After taking to the consultant and my nurses again they assured me I was doing everything I could to avoid getting these pains by sticking to a low residue and low fibre diet. Good news that I was doing everything I could, bad news that the pains were still happening and I couldn’t do anything else. So it was back to sticking to a really strict diet of white foods and a high carb diet again.
Whilst I was waiting to be discharged my best friend Hannah sent me a snapchat saying she was in hospital so I ventured to a different ward to go and see her! Admittedly, I did get a few weird looks entering another ward with a cannula sticking out my arm and looking like complete rubbish but was nice to see her as it had been a few weeks since we’d managed to catch up with each other. Typical that the only way we did was in hospital though!