Thursday to Friday last week I was on the Shuttleworth Ward at the Lincoln County Hospital for what amounted to 24 hours. The care I had in hospital was excellent, and the staff there even waived the visiting hours rule for me since I was brought in as an emergency case and my status was unknown for large parts of Thursday evening and Friday afternoon. But before I get to that, let me explain what was going on with me, in a sort of diary form as that’s the easiest way for me to get everything out.
30 December 2013
I woke up with a very large, very painful lump/bump on my neck. A call to my regular GP yielded no available appointments, so a trip to the Monk’s Road Walk-In Centre was made. At the clinic, the nurse diagnosed me with an Abscess and prescribed Flucloxacillin, with instructions to seek medical help if the pain or swelling got worse.
31 December 2013
I was wheeling around Waitrose and started to feel ill in general. I don’t even remember going through the tills, but I did stop in the cafe for my freebie cup of tea (Peppermint, I thought to calm my stomach) and a sandwich. Well, I wasn’t able to eat my sandwich and only could sip at my tea because the pain was getting worse by the minute and the pain was spiking up into my head and across my shoulders to the point where I was holding in tears. After talking to my husband, it was decided that I needed to get to A&E and my options were waiting for the bus, going home and waiting for Tim to get home, or asking someone to take me. Fortunately, Tim works with someone who was coming on to relieve Tim and he happened to live near to where I was, so he gave me a lift to the hospital.
While there, I was sent straight up to the ENT Clinic and the doctor there diagnosed me with Cellulitis and prescribed a higher dose of Flucloxacillin and some Codeine for the pain. He set me an appointment in two weeks, where it should “be the size of a pea” and he would be able to easily cut it out. Oh, if only we had a crystal ball…..
1 January 2014
I woke up completely disoriented and didn’t even know where I was. A text message full of gibberish went to Tim who was at work, and I eventually got it together enough to ring 111. 111 sent me to the After Hours GP at the hospital, where it was determined that I was having a reaction to the codeine and was prescribed Naproxen (Alieve! Hey, I know that drug!) instead. The after hours GP also told me this wasn’t an abscess or cellulitis, but was a sebaceous cyst.
2 – 4 January 2014
The cyst got bigger.
5 January 2014
Just as we were getting ready to welcome friends to a garden railway party, I started to feel amazing. No pain whatsoever, but…what’s that smell? I went all over the house trying to find the source of this smell before I said to Tim “I think it’s me” and he looked at my neck and sure enough, the cyst had exploded. It wasn’t a burst, so much as an explosion. Friends came to the rescue once again and our local friend Sue took me into A&E so Tim could stay with our guests. At A&E they drained it….which was really painful and told me I “wouldn’t need to be seen again” for this issue. Again, where’s that crystal ball?
6 January 2014
Yep, it got bigger again.
7 January 2014
I noticed hives on my arm and back, and just assumed it was from the dust we kicked up cleaning the workshop earlier in the da, so I took some antihistamine and went to bed.
8 January 2014
I had a routine appointment with my dermatologist and showed her my neck. She was alarmed at the size of it and said I needed to see an ENT urgently (good thing I had the appointment already booked) and made noises about plastic surgery on my neck to remove the “capsule”. Yikes. She also refilled my flucloxacillin, but when I told her about the hives, she advised that it could be the flucloxacillin and to keep an eye on things and if the hives got worse to seek medical attention or come in to see her.
Later that night, the hives came back. I wound up ringing 111 and going into after hours to get my prescription changed to Erythromycin, and the GP there advised that I have my GP office add an allergy to Penicillin to my record.
9 January 2014
Despite being off the flucloxacillin, the hives got WORSE. Painfully worse. My fingers were swelling, my wrist were swelling, and my hands were painful. I rang my GP office as it was still during their open hours and I was told to come straight in. I saw Dr Nellist who took one look at me, measured the abscess (which had grown and started to weep), took my vitals, and said “I’m ringing the hospital and sending you there”. eeek!
I got to the hospital around 7PM. We had no idea what was going on, but then Tim saw my name up on their board that shows who is in what bed and we both said “uh-oh”. Tim stayed with me and I was seen by the ENT within an hour who prescribed an IV antibiotic and an IV anti histamine. The plan was to drain the abscess, but at this point they weren’t sure if it would be that night or the following day. They finally decided to wait until morning, and told me I could eat until 3AM. At this point, Tim went home to get me some things for overnight (pyjamas, a blanket, entertainment) and some food. He came back around 11PM and helped me change (hard to do with an IV stuck in your arm!) and I got into bed. The nurse offered to bring me toast and tea around 230 in the morning so I’d have something in my stomach in the morning just in case. They also added an IV drip around 6AM of what they called a “meal in a bag”. You might recall the last time I was in hospital I had to ask for this, so I was happy to not need to ask!
10 January 2014
A very nice trio of doctors came to see me and the consultant wanted it to be drained that morning. However, the junior doctor didn’t feel comfortable doing it since she hadn’t done it before on a neck, so I had to wait for the other doctor to be free. After finding out it wouldn’t happen in the morning, they decided to feed me Lunch, but I was advised to take it easy on the food just in case, so I just had a salad.
The surgeon came past just as I was walking to the loo and told me he was going to do it now, so I hurried back. The whole procedure took maybe 20 minutes under local anesthesia, but it still was really painful. Tim arrived partway through and I told him to stay away because it was really gross! After he was done, the surgeon advised for me to stick around for another hour but he didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to leave as long as I had no complications and to keep it dry for 48 hours.
Of course, there were complications. They came in the form of a lovely ring of hives on my back and across my chest. Crap. So, more anti histamines and IV antibiotics and I needed to see a doctor to determine if they needed me to stay another night. The anti histamine worked, so the doctor decided to release me into the care of my GP if the hives came back and they gave me prescriptions for Clindamycin and an anti histamine.
10 – 11 January 2014
I was okay, but the dressing came off so Tim had to help me apply a new one. It was bleeding a little, but nothing to be concerned about.
12 January 2014
I decided to take a bath, and Tim and I had a date night, a lovely meal out at Ask! Italian followed by the latest Hobbit film. I only had a small plaster over my neck and all was well, so we went to bed.
13 January 2014
This morning, I woke up with my hair covered in blood. At some point overnight my movement caused it to burst again. A phone call into my GP had me going in to see the nurse, who gave me some dressings with stronger adhesives and took a look at it. She discovered that there is still a core inside my neck several inches long and I would need more antibiotics, so I was given some Erythromycin again, and a follow-up appointment for Thursday. Tomorrow I see the ENT (the original appointment given to me by A&E way back on the 30th), so we will see what happens. Like I said, the dermatologist wants me to see a plastic surgeon, so we shall see what happens.
But let’s sum this up…in the past two weeks I have been to:
-a walk-in clinic
-A & E 2x
-seen an ENT doctor 3x
-After hours appointments 2x
-admitted to hospital for 24 hours
-on-call/emergency GP appointments 2x
-seen my dermatologist
and been prescribed:
plus 3x antibiotics via IV and 2x antihistamine via IV
as well as had minor surgery.
Because I have a pre-pay prescription certificate the total cost out of pocket to us for all of this care? about £10 in parking fees.
Who exactly thinks national healthcare is a bad thing again?
PS: Yes, I have photos of my neck day-by-day but they really are too gross to post!
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