Last night I took unwell at about 12.30am with severe abdominal pain which woke me up. I near crawled to the bathroom from where I was then unable to move and began constantly throwing up. After 3 hours, and knowing that abdominal pain and vomiting can be associated with an Avastin and/or OC complication, my hubby called our local hospital for advice.
After a lot of back and forth and several services refusing to treat me due to ‘a complicated medical history’ NHS24 sent an ambulance.
By the time the paramedics arrived I was lying on our bathroom floor, screaming in pain, covered in sick and I had even wet myself from the severity of my sickness and pain – once upon a time I would have been ashamed of sharing this but I think it’s important to be honest about our bodies, to not be ashamed and to show others that they are not alone.
The paramedics were exceptional. They were compassionate, caring and fortunately shared the dark sense of humour you will inevitably find in our household in these (actually, in all) situations.
They took all of my stats and then helped me into the ambulance where they inserted an IV, through which they gave me anti-sickness medication and morphine while I continued to vomit and writhe in pain.
Morning had broken by the time we arrived at the hospital and fortunately the medication had started to are affect. After thorough examination it was agreed that I had contracted food poisoning, during our celebratory dinner in Edinburgh after my good results yesterday – the irony!
I am now home and trying to rest after, literally no sleep during the night. This evening I head off to a yoga retreat for a few days and I don’t plan on missing it!
I am writing all of this for a number of reasons.
1. I think there was a waste of services used on me last night. My history may be complicated but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need care. Also, it would have been a lot cheaper for an ambulance an A&E hospital bed not to have been used.
2. I realised that while I have successfully navigated the integration of NHS and private treatment for myself, this leaves me in a vulnerable situation when I need acute care.
I am already working on how to navigate and avoid these two points in future.
3. Finally, and most importantly, I want to highlight the exceptional care of the paramedics who came to see me and also to the A&E team. In my experience, both of these services rarely get the recognition they deserve. I felt held, safe and truly cared for as an individual. Most of all, I felt listened to. In fact, when I woke an hour ago (to our little cat bring us a ‘gift’ of a live bird) I thought I had just had a vivid dream about ‘an ambulance family’ – of course, when I saw the dressing on my arm and the hospital sick bowl (or ‘free party hat’ as they had called it) by my bed I knew it had been real. However, I think it’s beautiful that they left this sense of family with me – you don’t get better care than that. Thank you xx