Saturday, 7 July 2012

I Camb(ridge), I saw, I conquered.

Finally got released from Addenbrookes hospital today! It wasn't the worst hospital stay ever - actually, I quite enjoyed it. I succumbed and payed for those bedside television bundle things - something that the Brompton gives you for free and that I usually refuse to pay into because HELLO you should be able to watch TV in hospital without paying extortionate prices! But anyway I went all out and got the 5 day mega super cool bundle which had so many films - it was heavenly! Last night I watched the new Johnny English -


I was in stitches and crying with laughter the whole way through, fluctuating between sheer joy at Rowan Atkinson's genius and utter guilt at annoying the hell out of my ward buddies. As I had headphones in, of course the ward was deadly silent apart from my coughing-come-raucous laughter. I had to turn the damn film off and watch like Emergency Bikers every 5 minutes to re-zero my escalating hilarity. Hospitals make you go cookoo.

Apart from watching films, the week was spent being shipped off for an ultrasound, an MRI, an endoscopy (yes ANOTHER FRICKIN ENDO), being squished full of Meroprenem (an antibiotic I never have!), and being squeezed dry of blood thanks to the phlebotomists in maroon uniforms and the nurses checking my blood sugars at every possible moment.

Ultrasound was same old shit. Sort of. Nobbly liver, fat spleen, a miniscule dot of fluid. I've had so many ultrasounds recently I can't remember when they found this little bit of fluid, but yes, it's happened. I have fluid. 4cm ish right at the bottom of my abdomen, and on this occassion another tiny dot just under my liver. They also said my spleen was now 23cm - 3cm bigger in 2 weeks? I'm hoping one of the measurements was calculated wrongly and that it hasn't expanded that fast...! Apart from that they did find a lump in the middle of my liver. Got a bit scarred thinking it was like, cancer. Imagine - all this, and she ends up getting cancer. Honestly. This then led to the...

...MRI, which I absolutely hate. It's all the holding your breath, lying flat stuff which I can't do. Last time I was coughing blood (or trying very very hard not to) the whole time, which resulted in a complete waste of an MRI as they couldn't see a thing. I was more prepared this time - I was propped up on pillows and had an oxygen mask so I could hold my breath for longer. I was trying to remix Abba songs in my head to the beat of the deafening and really quite intimidating buzzes, but not even Abba could drown out that aural monstrosity. They saw the lump wasn't anything too dodgy, just a very odd scarred bit.

They found another varicie to band in the endoscopy - obviously the pressure in my arteries/ veins keeps rising. Slightly worried that they'll keep popping up, and there's nothing I can do about it. I just hope I don't get another big bleed because that would suck, and my life would involve endoscopys and fasting and blood transfusions and mushy food on a weekly basis. Saying that, I did by-pass the mush and head straight for the chicken nuggets after the procedure, on the promise to mum that I would chew every nugget a million times. The endoscopy department was the most incredible place - I was wheeled into this waiting bay that was about the size of a cathedral (but not as tall, obv), and along the sides were curtained off bays, each one with a bed. It was like Auschwitz crossed with a chicken battery farm in it's disturbing, clinical sterility, but in a bright pastel-hued almost utopian heaven. (Messed up? Sorry.) Down a corridor paralell to the longest side of the room was room after room of endosopy suites that continued for what seemed indefinitely. Mass production applied to healthcare. There was something quite Kafkaesque about it - if you've seen the 60's film version of The Trial - it was a bit like that. I know i've painted quite a contradictory picture of this place - I simultaneously loathed and loved it, intrigued yet repulsed... awe-struck for sure.

The meroprenem antibiotic was given to fight the infection that they suspected was somewhere in my body and that was causing me to turn yellow. They never found the infection, or sepsis (whatever that means), but the drug did the trick as my Simpsons hue slowly faded to daffodil to buttercup to primrose to sunshine to sick to mushy banana to 'is there something odd about that girl?' ('Probably?').

You get the idea...

I'll quickly write about the hoards of student doctors that were sent my way -  obviously I must be an interesting case as a constant stream of med students came to poke and prod me, to ask about my CF and my liver, to rummage through my meds... they all seemed quite fascinated, and would return the next day with a friend or two ha! I think they were quite impressed with my knowledge of med stuff, which I suppose you naturally accumulate living with a multi-system thing. Endocrine, respiratory, digestive, circulatory... CF is simply amazing in how it's annoyingly shit tentacles reach and affect every branch of almost every system in the human body. It's shit, but my god, I know a lot! Never really realised it, but when the final year student docs ask you questions about why this is affected and how, and you can answer them, it makes you feel quite bloody good!

I had one student who did a trial exam on me - she was asked to do a respiratory examination. At the end she basically said, if it wasn't for the clubbing of the fingernails which indicate a chronic lung condition, she wouldn't be able to tell I had anything wrong with my lungs. GET IN!!! I LOVE it when that happens. Puts a massive grin on my face and I couldn't wait to tell mum that all her hard work when I was young paid off, and all MY hard work paid off too! Wait, is PAYING off!

Well anyway, i'm home, liver levels are a bit more normal than they were (one test should be under 17, mine was 300, hence the jaundice), and my appetite is back to it's brilliant normal self. I'll miss the Burger King downstairs, but nothing beats home-cooked food. Obviously.

Insulin bruises thanks to my spleen and its non-clotting ways! Yuck.

Toesies! Yuck.


  1. Such great news about your lungs being in such great shape, Laura! Amazing tribute to all of your hard work! Love the Lisa Simpson photo - perfect! Thanks for sharing all this, helps keep those of us in remote locations somewhat connected.
    Keep up the fab work, you rock! Mandy xx

  2. Haha I so love the way you write! Hospitals can be so mundane but I love how you write about the little interesting bits. Free TV in the Brompton? Shut uuuuuuup! I'm glad you're home now and that's fabulous news about your lungs! xxx