Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Shingle Belle

I'm here at Hotel Brompton. Chelsea's finest. I'm actually eating a scone at the moment. As you do.

I was admitted last tuesday afternoon, after getting a Picc line (it's a longer lasting intra-venous line) put in on the monday. The line was a breeze putting in - by a breeze I mean it took an hour and a half, however I was just napping through every failed attempt as the anaesthetic worked it's glorious numbing magic. Tuesday afternoon I dragged my wheelie suitcase to Foulis ward, where I am now chilling with said scone.

IV drugs, and extra nerve painkillers were prescribed for the shingles and all the unearthed hissy-fitting bacteria that have sent my lungs into a mini frenzy. Viruses do that to my lungs. The shingles rash had faded slightly, but the sensitivity and itchiness definitely escalated once I came in, resulting in little sleep and a lot of tossing and turning. It's also drained the life out of me - last week and the beginning of this one I could hardly move from my bed, only waking for meals and some half-hearted physio. I enquired about all my blood tests - whether my dose of antibiotics was too high, my iron levels, my infection levels, but everything is relatively normal. I was told it's just the shingles working it's toxic viral evilness. I finally feel perkier today, a week and a half in, and by perkier I mean i'm not craving a horizontal position and crying if my head hurts. Yay fun times.

That's my 'fun times' face

I was planning on starting a coding course online (bare with me, i'm pretty sure this isn't just the drugs/ exhaustion talking) because I think I should if I ever want to be employed when sick, BUT I haven't yet had the energy to. I have an inkling that even if I felt up to it that may have been the final straw and send me into a stupor I can barely wake up from. Instead I just laughed at Green Wing until my brain can now finally process more than crass jokes. (You MUST watch green wing on 40d - jesus fuck I forgot how funny it is!)

I've bought with me some books (i'm even struggling with books!) - Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro and The Crystal World by Ballard which i've both been itching to read for ages, just never found the time too. BOO ADULT LIFE. I love working and stuff but bloody hell I never ever find time to just read anymore. It's one of my big disappointments. Reading has always been such a huge part of what I love to do, but when I have free time these days all I do is scroll meaninglessly down a Facebook or Twitter feed, watch videos that have absolutely no meaning or relevance to my life posted by people I don't even care about. Like what's that about. The internet and my iphone is eating away at me. I think this is why my attention span has diminished to almost nothing - there's always something new to keep me entertained if I'm bored.

I'm hoping to escape on friday - I know this sounds quite trivial but I have a gig I want to go to on saturday, and I'm craving my home and some normality. This room has drained the life from me, I feel that without a sense of routine and normality I stew and rot, and as soon as I return to my life outside hospital I immediately feel myself again. This shake up of routines and detachment from the usual things you do in your every day life has a strange effect on me - there is no reason to get up, no reason to get dressed, and I become a slouchy slow version of myself. It's taking living in a bubble to the max, and I need to get out of it. Home IV's were discussed, but they wanted to keep an eye on my Tobramycin levels and kidney function as the Tobra has been throwing my kidneys off a bit the last couple of days. My rash has almost gone, the pain has completely gone, it's just a little itchy now. The tiredness was also a reason home IV's were dismissed, as they (and I in all honesty) wasn't sure if I would be able to wake up for them. Thankfully the tiredness has almost gone too, and I definitely, finally feel up to going home. I just hope they agree with me on the big ward round today, I will use all the persuasive skills I have! Consultants are tough to crack but it's been done before and maybe... um maybe can happen again...?? Maybe...... 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Of all the rash and midnight promises

Hello reader(s?!). As you may know, life can get awfully busy when things are good. I dread the days where I have time to write this blog - not dread the writing (I really love my little outlet), but the free time. Free time inevitably means i'm not working, which for the majority of this past year has kept me at a level of health I hope to achieve all the time. I've been active, i've been busy, I haven't had time to let the bugs in, the malaise grow, or the idleness spread its rotten fingers through organs and limbs.

I had my first bit of time off recently - I worked from mid April until the beginning of September at Diffusion the PR agency, then almost straight away started at Penguin, which is where I have been until a couple of weeks ago (and am still due back.) I was so excited for my holiday, but I could feel the exhaustion settling in as holiday time approached - suddenly the allure of a rest and some travel made getting up each morning to go to work feel like moving lead. But, yes! Holiday! I gatecrashed the parents holiday to go see my brother in Riga, who is doing some time there for his uni course. Off we flew, to a land of crisp cold air, fantastic sunsets and yummy beer. It was fun seeing the brother - seeing him operate in this rather alien land, where every building either reminded me of old fashioned aristocracy, or communist Russia.

The day after returning was halloween, where I exhausted myself even more by hosting a party, which is great fun, almost too much fun - I don't think I even got out of bed the day after. A few days later, I started to get a pain in the very tips of my lungs, at the back. Shit, I thought, so promptly did extra physio - I even got all nostalgic on mum by getting her to do some patting physio to shift this, what I presumed was, stuck-in mucus and the onslaught of infection. But this pain was rather odd. It kept moving. I was still coughing like a mad woman, so it was certainly puzzling. A couple of days later, the pain was sharp and spazzing, but now at the front. Fuck, was it liver? Next day, I wake up to find a small but definite rash line on my tummy, and combined with the excruciating pain, decided the best move was to pop off to A and E. Later that day, the consultant took one look at my notes, a look at my rash, and told me I have shingles.

Shingles! WTF. As my immune system is practically non-existent, I can now apparently catch old people diseases like shingles (which isn't an old person's thing, just sounds it, like asprin.). When i'm run down, and now immuno-supressed, dormant virus' like this, the chicken pox virus can now reappear as my poor immune system can't keep it under-wraps. I'm eagerly awaiting what next random thing I get... not really. Well this shingles has been a right pain in the arse. It's the most pain i've experienced in a long time, and as it's nerve, not many painkillers get it. Thankfully now, a week later, the pain has subsided, and I now just feel like viruses have completely invaded my body and are zapping all the energy my little body can muster.   The rash is definitely quite cool, apparently, it's textbook shingles. Laughably so. I didn't find it funny when the doc said that this afternoon but hey ho. I replied with "well I don't do things by halves" before sulking again. Here's proof: it's quite a beast! (check out the sneaky bit of scar!)

Reason for sulking: i'm now on the 'urgent' waiting list for a bed in Hotel Brompton, which I am less than happy about. I desperately want to return to Penguin - I had a pipe dream that I could go back in a week, but I don't see that happening anytime soon now. It sucks, but I know its the right thing to do, as I feel utterly steamrollered.  It's almost been a whole year since I was in last, which is a huge change to last year, where a good half of my year was spent in hospital. I'm hugely pleased. I hope this picks me up so I can return to being a poorly paid slave to books, which I secretly not so secretly, love.

Bye for now! Shingles-ridden-Laura x