22 January 2011

De Gaulle bladder

Well, to put it mildly things did not go as confidently expected by my surgical team. Basing their diagnosis on a sonogram performed at the abject Lister Hospital, on the absence of local pain under the right rib-cage and the fact that my temperature was normal, they made the three perforations for a laparoscopic extraction and found themselves in an unimagined world of woe.

The sonogram had found one 3mm stone and a lot of "sludge". In fact I had two stones, each 2-3cm, which had blocked the outlet from the GB for many years, causing a long-term, chronic inflammation. The surrounding area cavity was full of aged bile mixed with pus arising from the fact that the GB had become gangrenous. So 48 hours stretched into a week in hospital, made pleasant by excellent nursing care.

Here's to you, the nurses of Codicote Ward, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Welwyn Garden City. Thank you from the heart, even though you have now made it morally impossible for me to snipe at the NHS. You, and you alone make it work. 

I was unable to elicit any medical opinion on how the hell I could have been nurturing such an advanced pathology without chronic, disabling pain and a fever. "Oh, you must have a very high tolerance for pain", they said. While true, I am still very aware of the pain that I learned to tolerate before having two broken discs taken out of my lower back, and having both hips replaced. The point is - I felt only occasional twinges that I thought were indigestion over the past few years, and none at all since I went on a low fat diet seven months ago.

So it was open him up and let's get some elbow-room. Stones removed and given to me in a flask, but adhesions and generalized swelling made it impossible to remove the remains of the GB. So they closed me up leaving a drain in my side that will remain there for the next 2-3 months until they can get a clear view of the liver-GB duct and seal it off.

Many thanks to well-wishers on-line and to those of you who battled through the permanently busy ward telephone to ask after me. I am deeply touched.

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