Monday, November 4, 2013

Oh So this is the Recovery Position?

Another long gap between blog posts, I'm so sorry, and this is the reason why!

I hadn't really been feeling 100% towards the end of the summer.  We had been busy thank goodness, very hot and we were looking forward to having the place to ourselves.  Don't get me wrong, I love having holiday guests, but when the weather is really hot and you are here on our own, you can take some clothes off! 

The last week in September I started having nose bleeds, bad nose bleeds.  That's unusual for me. For 5 days I had 1 or 2 every day, it would just pour out for about half an hour, sorry, not very nice.  On day 6, I was in our apartment and Alan was in the big kitchen, where we tend to live in the hot summer months, when it started bleeding profusely again.  I noticed we had hardly any toilet roll downstairs, so I ran up to the big kitchen holding what little I had to my face.  When Alan saw me he said "No, not again?" whilst he grabbed me a new toilet roll.  I rushed back down to the bathroom, as it was bad.  A couple of minutes later Alan came to see if I was ok.

"I feel awful!"  I said, as I sat on the toilet seat with my head in my hands.  At this point the bleeding was slowing down.  I felt very dizzy and sick.  As the feeling waved over me even worse, I stood over the bathroom sink, splashing cold water onto my face.  I was sweating but I felt cold, it was strange, a horrible feeling.  I remember hearing an involutary moan that came from me.  Then I woke up on the floor!  

I was very lucky Alan had come to check on me.  He was in the bathroom when I passed out, and caught me.  It's a small bathroom with floor tiles and it could have been nasty if I had banged my head on the floor.

Alan was on the floor beside me when I woke up.  I didn't know why I was on the floor, then I realised what must have happened.  "Don't move" he said.  "I need to get you to the medical centre.  I'm phoning David." David is a very good friend of ours.  He's Spanish, his parents own one of the pharmacies in town, and he is a pharmacist and optician too.  Alan phoned him to ask his advice regarding going to the medical centre in an emergency.  After a few minutes I got my bearings and lifted my head up and leant on my elbow for a few minutes.  Luckily my nose had stopped bleeding, that was one good thing.  I sat on the floor whilst Alan spoke to David.  

"Right" he said, "let's get you up slowly"  I was still feeling rather woozy and disorientated., so I got as far as the sofa, and sat there for a few minutes.  "David wants us to pick him up on route"  Alan said.  That was great he could do the talking, as Alan had explained everything that happened.  I was helped into the car like an old lady and given a kitchen roll and a carrier bag in case the bleeding started again, and we made our way into town.  I was very grateful Alan went slowly on our windy track.

Our registered doctor wasn't on duty but we saw another very nice gentleman.  David explained everything so I wouldn't have to talk too much.  They took a little blood and checked my blood pressure, and the doctor said I was very anaemic and I had to go to the hospital in Cordoba as I may need a blood transfusion.  David also explained a problem I had with one of my eyes, which he also checked.  He waved his arms around profusely after shining the little torch in my eye, and said I had a serious problem, and I needed to see an opthalmologist.  But that will be for the next blog post.

David went back to work and Alan and I set off for the hosptital.  If anyone has been into a Spanish hospital it's a tad different from the A&E in England, well certainly in Brighton.  In Brighton it's a small waiting room and you sit patiently waiting for hours to be seen.  Usually wondering what is wrong the the person sitting beside you (or is that just me?)  The waiting area in the Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba is huge. Half of it has reclining chairs, some normal chairs for those not want to be seen making a fuss, and an area for trolleys.  Obviously emergencies go through to another part, but if it's not too serious you are in with the rest of us.  It is also a room for waiting between tests and treatents.  Anyone needing a drip will be taken back there whilst it is going in, and you wait in there until you are called to your next step of treatment, x-ray etc. 

Alan certainly has got a chapter for book number 3 from the waiting area.  Spanish ladies fussing around their husbands or parents on the trolleys.  Making sure their feet are tucked in and covered with the sheets, and stroking faces and heads.  One lady's grown up daughter must have been feeling extremely hot as she fanned herself continuously with an adult size incontinence pad.  I also couldn't believe how much kissing was going on.  Anyone going out of the room for a couple of minutes would of course do the double kissing when they came back to their loved one.  

Eventually it was my turn to see a doctor.  My name was easy to recognise when it was called as everyone else seemed to be Maria, or Pedro.  The young doctor initially looked horrified when he realised our Spanish wasn't great.  Between us though we managed.  He seemed very pleased with himself as he found English words he probably hadn't used since school, and of course we would also answer back in Spanish.  A real Spanglish conversation.  We were at the hospital for hours, in fact 8 very long hours.  I did however have a pretty good overall check up.  More blood tests, blood presure, even an ECG and they also checked I hadn't suffered a slight stroke.  Having asked about my medical history and informing him of my sarcoidosis I was then sent off for a chest x-ray.  

After all the tests and checks were done he was happy to let me go home without a blood tranfusion.  He did however say I would need to be on medication for a while.  Unfortunately even though the doctor in Montoro had made a note on the letter for my eye to be checked, the young doctor said I needed to see my own doctor, as I needed to be referred to a different department for that.  So that will be the next post.

The following day October 2nd was my birthday.  Alan popped into town and brought me a lovely box of chocolates and some flowers.  He made me promise only to get up if I needed the toilet and if there were any nose bleeds I had to be on the bed.  I obeyed the orders of course!   I spent most of the day in bed, getting up to chat to my daughter Frankie on skype, and Mark my son phoned me whilst I was in bed.  That was awkward as the signal in our bedroom is very bad, so I had to hang off the bed to chat to him.

That was a month ago now, and the week after I would sleep before lunch, AND after lunch and go to bed about 7pm.  Now I don't have a sleep during the day, although I still feel very tired sometimes.  I'm usually in bed about 10pm, which is very early for me.  I have my medicine, it's little vials of what look like blood, and I'm on them for 3 months.  Apparently that's how long it will take my blood to return to normal!  Crazy eh!

I'm so lucky that Alan was there to catch me on that day, thanks Alan, and also that once again the Spanish health care has been excellent! 


Elle said...

Blimey woman!!! You really have been through the mill eh?

Take it easy honey - and don't be too proud to ask for help.

Lots and lots and LOTS of love!

Elle xx

Elle said...

Blimey woman!!! You really have been through the mill eh?

Take it easy honey - and don't be too proud to ask for help.

Lots and lots of love!

Elle xx

Elle said...

So sorry to hear how poorly you have been, Lorna.

Make sure you get plenty of rest... and don't by too proud or shy to ask for help.

Not sure how we can help from all the way over here - but if you can think of anything, then let us know xxx

Lorna Penfold said...

Bless your heart. Thank you so much xx

Maya Middlemiss said...

What a terrifying experience hope you are now much recovered xx

Lorna Penfold said...

Thanks Maya, I am certainly feeling lots better :-) xx