Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Wee Bit of Snow, But Some Yucky Stuff Too

Hello! How’s everybody tonight then? I hope all you British Isle-anders are enjoying this unexpected winter wonderland. And to think just last week I was explaining to an American blog buddy that we never get snow at this time of year. In my face! It’s the best blanketing we’ve had for ages too; because we’re on the coast the salty air usually prevents us from getting more than an inch or two but at the minute there’s a good half foot of fluffy white powder out there. Just lovely!

It’s not so great if you have to go anywhere, though.  Yesterday I’d a hospital appointment for 11 o’clock and I had to leave at nine to make the normally 35 minute journey. Nightmare. I wasn’t too pleased with what my doctor had to say either. I was expecting to be told I needed another operation for  an ongoing complaint which was fine- the sooner I get ‘the thing’ sorted out once and for all the better. I remarked as such to my surgeon who just smiled pleasantly, however, and informed me not to get my hopes up as there’s a high probability I’ll need another two or three after the next one! It’s really rather depressing to be honest.

You’re probably wondering what ‘the thing’ is. I suppose it’s about time I did offer some sort of explanation, but I must warn the squeamish among you to look away now. This is a tale only for those with a morbid fascination for yucky medical things.  It’s also pretty boring, with lots of self pitying moaning, so feel free to stop reading now unless you need some help falling asleep.


Anyway, it all started last June when I got this sudden, excruciating pain in my lower back. When I say lower back, I mean my lower, lower back. As in the region which makes this a worthy case for that‘Embarrassing Bodies’ show on Channel 4. I’d absolutely no idea what it could be and when I went to my GP he told me that it was a form of muscle strain common in young women and to see a physio once the pain subsided. Fair enough?

Not exactly. As the week went on the pain became worse and worse rather than improving. By the weekend I was in so much agony I was actually screaming. I went back to my doctor who told me that was expected with the type of injury he thought I had and he gave me a painkilling injection. The relief lasted for about 15 minutes. That night I started throwing up and by the time Sunday morning came I had a fever so bad I was seeing things. I couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. Himself was away that week for his brother’s stag do,  he was the best man, and I really didn’t want to ring and worry him so I tried to ride it out. By the time he got home the next night, though, I knew it was time to go to the hospital.

It turns out I didn’t have muscle strain at all, it was something called an ‘ischiorectal abscess’. It’s similar to pilonidal disease, which I hear is quite common, though it’s occurs in a slightly different place and while pilonidal abscesses are caused by ingrowing hairs mine was caused by a normally unproblematic defect I have with my tail bone (technically I don’t have one).  Apparently these things these things are torturously painful though not too serious if treated, but because my one had been left to develop for so long the poison in the infected area had spread into my bloodstream and given me sepsis.

I had emergency surgery that night and spent over a week in hospital being pumped full of so many antibiotics and pain relief some of the veins in my arm packed in. The wound from the operation was so large and they’d cut away so much flesh that it couldn’t be stitched up so I was left with a huge gaping hole, inches wide and deep. Getting it dressed was almost as painful as the abscess itself had been and I was even given a can of Entonox (gas they give women in labour) for when they were working on it. I’ve actually been told that it’s worse than childbirth, and had this verified by one of my nurses who’d had the same thing herself as well as having two children.

After that I had twice then once daily home visits from the district nurse for several months. When I went back to the hospital for a check up I was told it was healing well, and for a while it all seemed grand. It never really went away though and I’ve since developed a ‘sinus’ which is basically a tunnel from the original source of the infection onto the surface of the skin. It carries all the badness away, from what I gather. In reality what it means is that I get a mini-episode of the agony from the first abscess about twice a month. It sort of swells up and gets sorer and sorer for a few days until it bursts, which releases the pressure and relieves the pain. It’s never quite as bad as the initial uber abscess, but it still hurts. A lot.  So much so that when it flares up it makes sitting/walking/lying/doing-anything-except-standing-completely-still very, very sore and uncomfortable.

This has been going on for over a year now, so you can see why I’m anxious to get it sorted. I knew the operation that I’m due to have in the new year would involve much of the same as last time- open wound,  regular agonising dressings, months of recuperation- but I was taking solace in the fact that once that was all over and done with I’d never have to think of it again. But nooooo. I’ve that bloody surgeon yesterday stuck in my head, sitting smiling that smile of pity and knowing: “I’m sorry to tell you, but it can often take several operations to completly excise the infection. Until then it’s just going to keep coming back.’ Thanks doc, you’ve cheered me right up.  You never know, he’s probably wrong anyway. Doctors get it wrong all the time, sure that’s how I ended up in this situation in the first place!

Well folks, sorry to any of you who actually made it this far. I really didn’t mean to write so much, once I started it just sorted of all came out. Do you know I’ve never actually explained any of this to most of the people I know? It’s quite embarrassing, not your run-of-the-mill appendicitis or what not. I usually just say I’ve a back injury or something, rather than explain the pain in the ass it actually is! It’s been rather therapudic letting it all out though. Thanks for listening and I hope I didn’t put any of you off your tea!


Heathen said...

I'm sorry you're going through all this. I've not had it so I won't even try to relate, but know that you will be in my thoughts.

Pfft, doctors! Don't you just hate them? I hope things go well and you get some relief soon.

JJ Beazley said...

First off, this British Isle-ander isn't enjoying it at all. I hate the bloody stuff. Had a rant about it on my blog today. I want it GONE.

The condition, though, sounds awful. I truly sympathise. I can well understand how deflating it must be to face the prospect of several operations. I do hope the surgeon is wrong. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

D.Suplicki said...

Oh dear heart, that sounds so painful! I can relate very well to wanting it to end as well as being embarrassed by it, I was the same way with my eye. The first people I told outside of the mister and the family that I have ocular herpes instead of the usual chronic dry eye lie were on my blog. I was always concerned people would assume having it in one place meant I had it in others and well, yea. x_X

Sorry for the comment jacking! I hope they can squeeze you in sooner rather than later and get this taken care of for you. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Gypsea Tree {Steam Spectre} said...

Oh dear. I'm afraid we may have sent some of our snow your way. Beautiful to look at, but certainly no fun if you have to get around.
Wow, so sorry to hear about all the pain you have been through! I know what you mean about trying to explain it. I never seem to have any "normal" medical concerns either. I hope very much for you that you will need fewer treatments than the doctor thinks. You can tell us about your pains any time. I'm pretty you have a lovely bottomless pool of sympathetic listeners!

Della said...

You poor thing, Roisin! I know someone who had something like this and after the abscess was removed it created a fistula which may be similar to what you are describing. The good news is that even though several operations were required to fix it, it became easier each time and she has been rid of the thing for many years now. Sometimes we have to endure these trials in life – it's tough. But no need now to face ALL the operations at once – just the next one and in between, fill the your time with distraction (nice blog writing, photo-taking and the lovely snowfall). Good that you shared this with us – our thoughts are with you. Take care.

faerwillow said...

~as our snow melted away it must of come your way...hehehe!! i am so sorry you are having to endure such pain...and the whole go around with the docotrs...i guess when i complained about a cracked tailbone i should have been thankful it was only that...roisin i am happy you felt comfortable enough to share such with us...i have found myself often sharing things here that i rather chose not to with others in my day to day...there is much comfort in this little place here...and support...i send you healing blessings to take this all away...rid your body from it so you never have to experience the yuckiness well and much l♥ve and light always shining brightly upon you~

JJ Beazley said...

'Bottomless pool.' !!!

Jeanne said...

The pics of the snow are wonderful! So magickal. :0)
So sorry to hear of your pain and the trials the doctors are putting you through. I do hope there is a swift resolution to it all!
And sometimes sharing the pain will lighten the load.... ♥

TheBlakkDuchess said...

Oh my dear... Never be embarrassed! And like Jeanne says, sometimes sharing your pain will lighten the load. And just think, now you've got all these wonderful people sending you well wishes & their love. That will help you heal as well. ^-^

You will be hard pressed to put me off my tea... I've got quite the stomach for medical type things. ^-^

Try to keep your spirits up. You're in my thoughts & I'm sending you extra doses of hugs & well wishes. And who knows? Maybe this surgery will be the last one you'll need. ^-^

As for the snow... lmao... Mother Nature is laughing, right about now... XD

Be safe driving, and I hope you're able to be pain free soon!



Anonymous said...

Looks like you have more snow than we do!
Wow. I don't like doctors. They say & do the worst kinds of things. They told my twin brother he'd never walk again after falling 60 feet off a mountain - he was walking within a year thank-you-very-much.
Hope everything gets sorted out soon for you, Róisín!!!
~ Zuzu

Róisín said...

Oh folks, thanks so very much for all your words! I really never meant to go into so much detail, and I feel like such a moaner! All of your comments mean a lot to me though and I really do appreciate them. Just a couple of wee notes:

Danni- I can’t believe your were embarrassed by your eye condition; I can’t imagine anyone who heard your tale would feel anything but total sympathy for you. Oh, and you weren’t ‘comment jacking’, that’s what commenting is for!
Della- Yup, that sounds very similar indeed; a fistula is a wee bit different but my doctor did mention something about them, can’t actually remember what it was though! I’m so, so glad to hear the procedures get better and that your friend is all cleared up now. Hope! Thanks
Zuzu- I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, and equally delighted to hear that he proved the medics wrong! It really puts things in perspective.

Anyway, thanks all again. Hope you’re having a nice weekend! I must get a wee wander round your blogs in a while, but for now I’m off to watch Merlin! (I know, I know, it’s a kids show. But it’s the last in the series!)

ruthie said...

Dear Roisin, haven't stopped by in ages! So sorry to hear all you have been going through, as Della says , its step by step, the best way to take it all. I too hope the doc is wrong! Sending lots of love from over the water, where by the way, we ( for some odd reason) had hardly any snow!!! take care sweetie x x

Anthropomorphica said...

Good grief Roisin, you've been through the mill!!! Blessings to you for a good and speedy recovery. May have to lay down now, I'm a tad squeamish!

Emmaandmaha said...

oh my gosh. I am so sorry for the pain you're experiencing and can only empathize and sympathize. We all have our medical issues, but this is truly traumatic. I also have had issues with doctors who sweep aside what the patient may be going through and then we get horrible news and am very wary of them because of it. Prayers and well wishes your way:) I hope the New Year brings you health and happiness, my dear.

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