Friday 18 May 2012

Bay 7, Bed 26

A little under two weeks ago, as I prepared to heave myself into the shower, I had what my Mum would have called 'a funny turn'. It felt as if someone stuck a needle into either side of my neck at the top of my spine and injected bolts of pure pain which spread instantly up and across my skull, leaving me barely conscious. It was, to say the least, a scary experience.

I stupidly tried to ignore the event and struggled on for several days, groggy and unsteady, before finally calling in to see my doctor, who referred me immediately to a neurologist and within hours, for the first time since my birth 52 years ago, I found myself in hospital.

A small bleed to the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage) was a strong possibility - not dangerous itself, but potentially a precursor to something far more serious if it re-occurred. The specialist emphasised this point by snapping his fingers and saying it could be 'game over'. Dramatic, but he got my attention.

Thankfully, after three days of tests, including a lumber puncture (straight into the top five of the all-time most unpleasant experiences in my life) and brain scan, the diagnoses was that I had suffered a Thunderclap Headache, which may sound innocuous, but believe me, is not. A little rest and mild medication and I should be fine.

As the youngest and otherwise healthiest in my ward I was witness to the limitless patience and compassion offered by the medical staff during their 12 hour shifts to old, frail and confused men, some clearly approaching the ends of their lives.  I also briefly got to know some remarkable people who continually overcome seemingly insurmountable health problems and are determined not to 'go gentle into that good night.'

I may write about a few of those I met during my short stay in Bay 7, Bed 26, but I won't forget any of them.


C said...

Oh no, my dear The Swede! How horrible for you, I hope so much you're feeling tons better now and don't have any more Thunderclap Headache Incidents (good name for a band that...?!) Hospitals are such poignant places, aren't they, where somehow no matter what our personalities or backgrounds etc. we all become equal in the fact that we inhabit fallible human bodies. Very sobering...and I'm sure your tales of fellow patients will be thought-provoking and interesting.
Meanwhile, sending my very best wishes and hope you're putting your feet up. Maybe ease up on playing Hawkwind at full blast too.. ;-)

The Swede said...

If i'm ever again in a position to form a band, The Thunderclap Headache Incident it will be!

Thank you for your good wishes C, it was indeed a very sobering experience all round.

My feet are up & the volume is down!

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about your experience, my friend. I'm equally relieved that all is no well. As for hospitals, I've seen far too much of them in the past few years but can only agree with you as to the steadfast courage and determination of so many of the other patients. A lot of the staff do their utmost, too, under very difficult circumstances.

Rock on, mate!

The Swede said...

Thank you Singing Bear, your kind thoughts are very much appreciated. Here's hoping it'll be a long time before either of us are required to see the inside of a hospital again - as a visitor or patient.

Old Pa's Corner said...

WoW! that is pretty scary....I had experiece few years back in a ward for a certainly is an eye opener...I bow down to the staff! I also met some intereting characters...but the tragedy of seeing old men who dont recognise their kids is heartbreaking.....Great post and top tune.

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