By Alex Howard, Nov 20 2017 10:18PM
I’ve had a grim week. Sunday afternoon-nosebleed. Kept getting worse and on the third bad bleed I decided to measure blood loss and collected about 50 ml in a plastic measuring jug before reluctantly letting J take me to Wycombe Minor Accident Unit. 8.00pm.Seen immediately, hospital impressed with my jug.Nurse inserts a tampon thing up my nostril (ow), wets it, it dilates, blood starts coming out my mouth.I get sent to Oxford John Radcliffe by ambulance where I’m put on a trolley and another tampon put in.(pic1)
Monday morning 2.00 am.See Dr.Removes tampon, lots of blood, tells me there are 3 things they do in order and he will do Step 1,fit a pack to stop bleeding,it has balloons inside you can inflate once its in.
‘This will be very painful, we will give you morphine after and codeine.’
Agonising.Pack in filling nostril, then pain relief and lie on trolley in A&E (pic2)
Mon/Tues morning. Transferred to small,nice ward.Lie there all day in pain and dazed while fluids given, b.p monitored etc. Tues morning 2.00am funtime
Blood starts pouring out of left nose, down throat, out of mouth.Dr called. Pack has failed, balloons burst, time for Step 2, insert catheter (tube) up nose, now a Niagara of blood, down throat, out mouth.Does so. I have (I know now) unusually wide air way.Catheter tube is too small.It is withdrawn and a larger one replaced.This is v sore, and nasal stimulation provides a vomiting reaction so I start throwing up.Then pack replaced (ow) then ‘that won’t do it,we need 2 packs up there !’ another pack (ow) and then another pack for the other nostril. Blood stops coming.(pic3)
Tues. Everything seems fine.Lie in bed being monitored.Weds packs out, if ok, home.Fine by me. Tues night, 10 pm, wake in bed feeling fine, warm, relaxed then BLEEEUGH! Puking blood. Dr in again, thank god multi-pack is fine so just one pack on left replaced, v. sore but no need to scream.
Weds. Steps 1 & 2 didn’t work. Time for step 3, surgery. Not keen to do as twiddly and very close to brain with obvious v high risk factor.(See pic4, I so did not care about any risk ! Also everything, pads etc will be removed under anaesthetic so NO PAIN YAY !).Surgery is usually scheduled ages in advance but I get added on as emergency, about 5pm.
6pm postponed-last op took long time
8pm theatre needed for guy near death, do me later
9pm postponed – 2 year baby brought in, priority ( I really wanted to say ‘but I’m 56 and I’m more aware of what’s happening, he’s tough and young and resilient…please let me go first,’ but I smiled and said of course) Admin woman said we’ll try to fit you in tonight,but probably tomorrow.Me; but the pads will stay in and be removed under anaesthetic ? Yes ?
Admin woman, ‘oh no, they’ll have to come out first thing & the catheter and then we’ll replace them, or otherwise there’s a risk of necrosis.’ FUCK. Having them put in was excruciating, now it was going to be twice as long, twice as painful.8 individual slices of agony. Me, oh…ok then.
9-11 pm. A very long 2 hours of gloom.
11.01 MIRACLE guy comes in my room, ‘right, we’re taking you to theatre now !’ and off we go.The best journey of my life. Ever. Prep room, another canula, we’re just giving you the anaesthetic . Look ahead and…..BLACK
Whenever. Wake up.Am breathing thru nose (pic5) first time since Sunday. Packs are gone, pain is gone.
Thurs. Discharge day. Cruel Admin woman visits me.She’s wearing surgical gear, ‘I operated on you last night, you had a tear in your Spheno-Palatine artery which I clamped off, so the bleeding was arterial .’
She could so easily at the end of a busy shift with 2 unexpected ops done just thought, fuck it, that’ll do for today,we’ll do him tomorrow’ but hadn’t. Oh, and of course she sort of saved my life. So it’s all been quite hectic. xh