Monday, December 19, 2011

2l of water for life


Last Wednesday I woke up with stomach ache I hadn't felt before. My landlady told me to go to the toilet, drink some water and lie down. It was impossible to push, as if there was a wall, but I thought to wait for a while and just let the pain disappear.

Instead of getting some relief, it got worse by every moment. That's when I decided to call Linda, who had her phone silent, but luckily noticed my call and called immediately back. If it were me, I would have continued sleeping (of course I'd call back now experiencing this). After that I called my boss, who instructed me to go to the closest hospital. At that moment the pain was unbearable, and I also puked a few times while waiting for the cab, which took 20 min or so to get to my place. I was worried that there would be quite a traffic jam, but thankfully I didn't have to lie on the backseat for too long. I don't know about other places, but here you can call the ambulance only if it's a real emergency. So to what extent do you have to be suffering to be allowed to call?

Somehow the bad luck continued as the hospital had just opened the new emergency department that day. The staff didn't really know where everything was, the reception was as slow as Tesco's cashier lines. At the same time when my left side of my stomach was cramping in my mind I was thinking how English people are so slow and that they should do less talking with their colleagues and act more.

Finally when I got all my details transferred into the system, they brought me into the waiting room. And once again I felt like yelling for them to give me some damn treatment (but calling the guards would have made it worse). There wasn't even a place to lie down, so I just went on the floor to feel a bit comfortable. But of course a nurse comes to tell me that that's not allowed, and tells me to give them a urine sample. Pff, luckily I was able to pee something, which looked normal to me. Then again I had to wait, that's when the unbearable got even more unbearable. I was crying of the pain, being all alone and the feeling of not getting any help. Good thing Linda had arrived to listen to my swearing in Finnish of all the slow and annoying people I had to deal with.

After a really long wait, well at least if felt so, I got a nurse to come check me. Changing position didn't really help anymore, but at least I realized to stay in my pyjamas when I left the house to keep some comfort. She had my urine sample tested and told me there was blood in it. That was pretty shocking to hear that there can be blood in your urine without you noticing it. She suggested different ways how to take the pain killer they were about to give, and one option was to take it through the arsehole. Before they gave me the pain killer I had to change to another room and wait yet more time that I could have some relief. And when I got the relief they actually didn't ask anymore which option I wanted, they just put it in.

Few hours of squirming in agony I turned into the complete opposite; being calm and having a quirky satisfied smile on my face. It was like the department had turned into Amsterdam. And my boss' comment, who also had arrived already, was as if they had stunned a horse.

They took some blood samples from me and when I asked how many they were taking, the nurse replied '17'. In the end it was only 4-5. I had to drink a lot of water so my blatter would be full for the scans, and they once again transferred me to another department, where I was the second ever and first female patient to be there. They didn't have a name for that department yet, so we were thinking that naming it after my nick name Jallu (Finnish drink/porn magazine) would have been great.

I was put on IV too, everything was so new and exciting for me and all I could think of were House, Grey's Anatomy and some British hospital shows. Of course on TV everything looks more interesting and dramatic. It took me a long time to get my blatter full, and when that happened we had to wait for the blood tests to be ready, so that it was safe for me to go to the scans. Apparently they've had some religious girls who claim that they haven't had sex, but then end up radiating their babies. Thus the hospital policy.

So with a full blatter waiting.

And waiting.


I was thinking should I just go to the toilet and then drink a lot of water again, but it was a lot of water so I decided to train my holding skills. When the time came, this Filipino guy took me with this really old wheel chair to the scanning room. The machine wasn't as big as on TV, but still as I said, a new experience. I heard instructions of how to breathe through the speaker; 'breathe in, hold your breathe, breathe normally'. It took about 30 seconds and I was off to pee! The IV bag was empty with blood, which the nurse said it was only dark because it was dark. I guess she didn't want to freak me out. Luckily I'm not that sensitive, when on the other Linda couldn't even look or listen to me talking about it.

All we could do at that point was to wait for the scans, and hope it's only a kidney stone like they expected it to be. Had a nice nap, though too bad we couldn't get the bed down due to some problems with the electricity (just opened department).

Woke up to hear good news; scans and blood tests were normal, so it was most likely to be a kidney stone which just passed. The most painful moment is when it's in the urine stream. The nurse compared it to giving birth, but of course in much smaller scale. I actually was thinking on my way to the hospital of my sister-in-law when she has to give birth, if a kidney stone hurts that much what about that then.. Also what popped into my mind was the stories of the evil doctor Josef Mengele, who did experiments mainly on twins at Auschwitz like trying to turn them into siamese by connecting them from the veins and organs. Then they'd just be in agony for a few days and die.

Yes, everything can always be worse.

When asking the nurse what to do with it and will there be any medication, she simply said; 2 litres of water everyday for life.

That's a common rule, but the way she said it, sounded like I have to be on life time meds. Well, if you've had kidney stones once, it can easily come back. No thank you. I guess one factor is living in England, because the water is bad and I'm not used to buying water. But I did buy a lot of slush juice, drank a lot of tea and had water bottles filled when I got back home. I had a prefect Wednesday morning planned with eating a lot fruits, but it turned out something totally different, however now it was a really good thing to have healthy food at home.

We were set to leave, and the good thing of London is that no one cares if you walk with your pyjamas on the streets. Also have to thank the lovely, caring, humoristic staff (not in the beginning though when I hated the whole of England). And of course Linda and my boss for being there. And for Linda doing the phone calls for me when I didn't have the energy to explain anything (we did talk about just posting a photo on Facebook for them, lol, now we can all laugh about the whole situation but not then, or actually then too). Another great thing was the non-existing paper work and no bills afterwards, that made everything less stressful. Just pop in and out of the hospital, without anyone shouting after you.

And the pain killer!!! <3

At home I had to read more about kidney stones, apparently 80% of those who suffer from it are men and the first time they get it is usually when they're 30-40. Great I'm a female in my early twenties. Read more from the all mighty Wikipedia.

I was really lucky to not having to go the hospital throughout my exchange year in Holland, but of course I've always thought of how scary it would be end up going to one abroad, and who I'd be calling etc. I kind of had a feeling for a couple of weeks that there might be something wrong with me, but that's the usual paranoia. Or in this case it wasn't. But everything is fine now.

I usually don't want to post these kinds of things in public, but I thought that reading this might be useful for someone. Actually last night I was talking about this with my Dutch friend, and she asked me if I'd take this experience back. No, I wouldn't. It at least made me wiser now, I learned and experienced so many new things. And I'd probably know how to act in the future, if something occured. Hopefully not, when I try to stick to my 'medication'.

You should get on it too.

Ps. when I had to explain the nurse what happened, my story started like this; '7am I woke up..' and could you guess which song has been playing quite often from that? Also Linda started singing the exact opposite what's in the song. Watch the video below.

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