Catch-22

home sweet home

It’s true what they say. There ain’t no place like home. After four long weeks spent in shared hospital wards, it’s heaven to be back in my own bedroom, in my own bed. No more doctors’ rounds, no more observations taken and no more drips to endure. Peace and quiet at last. I owe a lot of people, a lot of thanks.

Firstly, to the surgical team whom I could not fault. They saw me every day, usually twice a day, throughout those many weeks and my respect for them grew with each passing day. These non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) work incredibly hard and frankly, I don’t know how they stick the conditions they endure. The consultant surgeon is fantastic but he’s just the icing on the cake. The NCHDs are the ones who should really take a bow.

My final diagnosis was osteomyelitis of the frontal bone plus orbital cellulitis following complex surgery on my skull last June. Both conditions had the potential to be life threatening. Prevention and treatment is heavily dependent on antibiotics. I suffer from a form of microscopic colitis called collagenous colitis (CC) which has developed in response to antibiotic treatment for my head over many years. It’s a catch-22 situation. Antibiotics are needed to keep me alive but they also produce side effects which limit treatment. Treatment over the last four weeks, has been a delicate balance of IV drugs and I owe big thanks to the microbiology team at the hospital who devised (and revised) a treatment plan to suit my personal needs. I also owe thanks to the gastroenterology team who came to my rescue when the bottom fell out of my world, quite literally. My overall condition has now stabilised and I’ve been able to return home on oral treatments.

The last few weeks have really made me realise how much my family and friends, and especially my blogging friends, mean to me. It’s been a real privilege to turn on my laptop and know that there is always companionship available. Grannymar was there for me every day on instant messenger and I can’t thank her enough. Lily sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to brighten up my world. Such a kind gesture! Baino kept me entertained with funny emails and Annb sent gorgeous pics of the West of Ireland, my favourite place. It’s been really fantastic to receive so many supportive emails and comments on my blog. Thank you to one and all :D

Lastly, but not least, to my husband Jaimie who has stuck by me through thick and thin. I owe him a definite holiday.

21 Responses to Catch-22

  1. Now take it easy and rest plenty or we know where to send you! ;) Hugs!

  2. Lily says:

    It’s amazing how much just being at home is so so special. Hopefully hospitals are behind you for a long long time :)

  3. Dr.JaneDoe says:

    Glad to hear you’re better! and thanks for the kind words ;)

  4. Steph says:

    Matron GM – It’s hard to take it easy when I’ve no nurses to work out the schedule for all the medication. The routine stuff is easy but the new meds are what’s getting me… 2 x 4 times daily, 1 x 3 times daily, 3 x once daily etc. etc. :roll:

    Lily – Glad to see you’re safely home too. Yes, I’ve definitely had enough of hospitals for one year.

    Jane – I confess, I didn’t have you or Doc Thunder in mind when I wrote this post but I still mean everything I said about NCHDs. Pretty impressive! My own consultant happens to be fantastic but that’s certainly not my overall opinion on hospital consultants. I’ve a post in the making on that viewpoint. Watch this space :-)

  5. Jeanie says:

    Wonderful that you are home Steph. Yay. I hope you’re getting lots of sunshine your side of the world.x

  6. Steph says:

    Jeanie – Hiya!

    I’m told I missed very little (weather-wise) during July but the first few days I’ve been home, the sun has obliged, thankfully. The best weather we had all summer was when you were here. Come back soon, Jeanie!

  7. Annb says:

    Well done Steph, great to see you at home getting some proper TLC. Good luck with the meds, I used to put reminders in the phone telling me which ones were due – it helped keep me on track when my brain was melting!

  8. Geri Atric says:

    Wonderful news!
    Big hug xx

  9. Steph says:

    Ann – I’ve resorted to a chart to keep me in order. I just about get over the nausea of one lot of antibiotics when it’s time for the other lot and on and on it goes. I’m sleeping ++ as well. Anyway, I’m managing to hold my own otherwise so no complaints.

    Geri – Thank you. Bigs hugs to you too and here’s hoping all our anti-wotsits do the job! Take it easy!

  10. achelois says:

    So pleased for you that you are home. Would it be worth asking for anti nauseau pills (I know its another pill but may be worth it – is that an anti-emetic? or did I just make that up I wonder!) Take care Steph.

  11. Steph says:

    Achelois – Hi there. Good question!

    I was indeed prescribed anti-nausea medication (Motilium) to relieve stomach discomfort. However, this medication speeds up the passage of stomach contents and as I also require medication (Lomotil) to slow down my intestines (due to colitis), the Motilium had to be stopped. It really is Catch 22 around here! Instead, I rely on a medication (proton pump inhibitor) to line the stomach and protect against irritation.

    The changeover from IV treatment to high dose oral meds takes some getting used to but with care, it’s manageable :-)

  12. Baino says:

    Aww honey. No thanks needed. We were all worried about you and you’re such a brave soldier, you don’t let on how serious things really are. Thankfully, GM and I ‘consult’ so . .You have no idea how frustrating it is living so far away. I would have liked to have cooked for your family, cleaned your house and still sent the odd funny. It’s a very useless feeling when people are ill on the other side of the planet. Right now two of my blogpals are going through a helluvan ordeal and I hate being in the arsehole of the world when they need practical help. I’m so glad you’re home with the ones you love and I really hope the medicos get the balance right. You’ve had a shit of a time quite frankly.

  13. Steph says:

    Baino – Aww! You’re so right – I have had a shit of a time and I do wish you didn’t live so far away but you know what? I’m damn lucky to have you onside and supporting me through this ordeal. It makes a HUGE difference to be able to communicate with people who understand your needs and act accordingly.

    No need to worry about not living closer. I have a dear friend, Sue who does live nearby and she’s always ‘there’ for me. She’s texted me every single day, visited the hospital and cooked for the family. The key to her support is that we never have to ask for help, she’s always a step ahead.

    Now, about that house cleaning! ;-)

  14. achelois says:

    Hi Steph thoroughly understandable yet frustrating catch22 situation re slow down/speed up stomach meds! I agree with previous posts- you make light often of your ill health and to be honest I can only admire how you keep being so sensible about it all. Honestly if this were me I would be blogging about how completely and utterly pissed off I was with the whole thing. Your tenacity is an inspiration. Take care Steph.

  15. Steph says:

    Achelois – Why, thank you! :D

    I’m no saint, believe me. I could moan all day but it wouldn’t change anything. I prefer to look at the positives in any given situation and make the most of what’s left. I’ve reaped many rewards out of adversity. Never forget to stop and smell the roses!

  16. So very sorry to hear you’ve been so ill again, Steph – but delighted that you’re on the mend. You take really good care of yourself and keep getting better! xx

  17. Steph says:

    Ab Van – Good to hear from you again. I’m doing my bestest, honest! :-)

  18. Lottie says:

    I’ve been out of the blogging loop for a bit but glad you’re up and about again. Good luck with the recovery.

  19. Steph says:

    Lottie – Thanks! No worries, I’m a bit out of the loop myself but I always enjoy popping over to your blog to see what’s happening in the world of the young and energetic!

  20. Dr.JaneDoe says:

    Hey Steph,
    No, know you didn’t mean us specifically! not what I meant. It’s so rare for anyone to thank NCHDs or acknowledge the work we do at all, that I was just thanking you on behalf of NCHDs in general, I guess.

  21. Steph says:

    Jane – Cheers! I was really impressed by the various NCHDs I met over the weeks. They kept me really well-informed as to what decisions were being made etc. I never felt awkward in their company no matter how serious/light-hearted the situation.

    You’ll enjoy this… as I was being wheeled into the operating theatre (at a real crisis point), I noticed that all the team were looking horribly serious. When the consultant enquired about what another consultant had said to me earlier in the day, I replied “are you trying to test me again?”. Everyone cracked up laughing, including my consultant :D

    During consultants’ rounds, I always made a point of addressing my questions to the Senior Reg just to prove who was really in charge!

    btw I’ve put up a post about the behaviour of some consultants…

    http://biopsy.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/held-to-ransom/

    I’d be very interested to hear your response!

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