One Step Back

A kind voice woke me up. I opened my eyes to see a consultant whose face I was glad to see. He isn’t my consultant but he stepped in on one occasion before when nobody else would, saved my life, and apologised profusely for the errors that were made. His face means safety now in a place so full of terror for me. It means survival (and he shall now be known as doctor survival)

Dr Survival told me that I was unwell, which confused me because I felt so much better and was convinced I was back to normal. He said I’d had an extremely low pH that my body would take me a while to get over, and that my blood results weren’t great and the acidosis had got worse again, with both my pH and the production of acidic bodies outside normal parameters and worse than they had been. Two steps forward, one step back. This surprised me. My IVs were altered and he insisted that the changes were made immediately. He listened to me and discussed things with me and treated me like a human. He let me pick the anti-emetic I was prescribed, which made me feel in control in an environment that makes me feel wildly out of control. He’s going to call my consultant for this health hiccup (who works with him but who seems to sit on a high horse above all his patients). That scares me but right now I’m just looking out at the view while tethered to multiple machines and monitors and several IVs.

(Several hours later)

A phlebotomist came round to take blood, which she can do from the central line. She wanted one bottle. I have poor venous access and was told not to let anyone use my good veins up (there was one, a couple of cm long) all the time I have a femoral line. She went off and got the nurse. The nurse bullied me into being stabbed with a needle for one feeble bottle of blood. One of the doctors from ward round showed up to check on my bloods, and I explained that they usually just take bloods from a central line. He apologised and said it was ridiculous that they hadn’t, and that my venous access issues were well known and there was no point using up veins unnecessarily. I was, until this point, on the verge of a complete freak out because I felt small and out of control, but he was so kind and he just chatted to me for ages.

I befriended Dr Blood-gas and we had a long chat about uni and cadaver labs and research vs medicine. He is going back into research, and sometimes uses the medical school library that I LOVE. He showed me my blood gas results because he knew that I knew how to interprete the numbers, and was the second person not to treat me as stupid, but once again as his equal, with the level of understanding that have instead of treating me like a normal person with no idea. My potassium was low despite being given a load of potassium. For hours after they began battling my return to acidosis (and told me that I was at a stage where it was likely to progress far quicker than normal because I’d only just come out of acidosis) my pH was 7.34, so still acidotic and below the threshold at which they deem it a medical emergency, yet I felt fine. I asked him what it had been like earlier and he said 7.20. I’d laid there feeling so well while in quite a mess. He said “well it’s not sub-seven” and we discussed how I’d been so ill upon my arrival to the hospital that values which normally made me feel awful were great to my body right now. I’d probably been sat around 7.2 for days, holding it off, never fixing it but stopping it progressing.

A nurse came to get a blood glucose result to check up in the state ofI asked her to get it from the blood gas. All other members of nursing staff had refused. Dr Blood Gas also said this was nonsense.

And then it happened. The moment I had been fearing for weeks. In walked Dr Bloog Gas accompanied by the consultant that wants to put me through hell experimentally because it “might” help. I’d been hoping he wouldn’t show up and I was horrified and surprised to see him. I thought he’d be angry at me for cancelling appointments and not responding to messages and emails, but he was all “you’ve been out of here for this reason for six weeks now, that’s really really good. Isn’t it actually a record for you?”

He said that while I’m here he wants to try to stabilise me using the medication and stuff I have access to at home, but that the IVs should not be removed for a day or so. He was kinder than my brain painted him to be in its fear fuelled imaginings of the scenarios in which I may encounter him. He jokingly said I was being held captive and that the acidosis needs to be properly fixed and gone and that my body will be knocked for six. My body looks like I’ve done multiple rounds against a pro boxer who had a grudge to bear. As a result of so many IV fluids combined with the trauma of such severe acidosis and my kidneys for the first few hours of my nurses shift deciding that producing urine was not a thing they any longer wanted to do, my face and body have blown up like a fluid filled ballon. My skin, particularly on my face, feels tight and heavy. 

My consultant wanted to examine the infection I’d had in my foot. He took off my sock and I found it super weird that someone I’d had such formal and traumatic meetings with had the ability to remove a sock so carefully, and was stood talking to me holding a sock with starfish and whales on it (it was even weirder when he put my sock back on because the only person who ever did that was my mum and it just was so weird that this guy in scared of was suddenly not scary but human). He gave instructions on what IVs I needed…

And then he started trying to talk me into hell on earth, but he didn’t just bluntly tell me it was going to happen, he added into the end, “if I can persuade you…”

He asked if I would meet the consultant guy from the other hospital to just discuss it. He wanted to arrange to see me in clinic ASAP and he asked if he got the new consultant there, would I meet him. He told me that the (kinda useless because she is too nice and not blunt enough and we do not gel) psychologist I see (or… Don’t. Because I bailed on all appointments with everyone) regarding the emotions surrounding my health, would be present. He said he would be present (my brain was instantly like 3 vs 1 what NO) but I didn’t flick into a full on freak out like I normally would, which told me that I’m perhaps not as well as I feel.

I said maybe. He told me my body language said no, but he would be there, and I didn’t have to go any further than that first meeting if I didn’t want to. A doctor. Is going to be dragged half way across London. For me. How ridiculous.

This is why I avoided hospital. I didn’t want to face these discussions. And somehow I’m too dead to freak out. I’m just laying here like a catheterised vegetable. In an awesome development, today I can lift my head even though doing so makes me very dizzy, my vision is almost back to normal asides for some double vision at the periphery (good job brain, good job), and I CAN MOVE MY LOWER LEGS. I can move my feet again. This is such an awesome development. 

Almost as awesome as this familiar view through the window next to my bed

Now just to figure out how to submit the coursework that is due in…

No way but through.


2 thoughts on “One Step Back

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