So… I spent yesterday in A&E which was fun. Didn’t think that was still part of my life but maybe it always will be…
I’ve talked before about how they’ve severed my trigeminal nerve, which tells my right eye to stop crying. Well occasionally it gets a bit weepy too. Fun. But it usually sorts itself out. It had been a bit problematic all week, but I woke up early Wednesday morning with really intense pain in my cheekbones and below my eye. It was bad enough to wake me up at 3am and then keep me awake as I sat moaning in pain. I took some ibuprofen which managed it a bit but it was just sore all day. I was working from home so I thought that would be good. Rest up, it would sort itself out. Well I woke up Thursday morning and my whole right cheek was swollen. This isn’t something I would usually rush to A&E about, except that right under that swelling is where I had my whole face cut out, rebuilt and then metal rods drilled through my sinuses into my cheekbones.
Oh yeah that little thing.
And if you remember how scary it was when something went wrong last year, when I had to rush back into surgery… Well it would just be silly to know something might be wrong now and not to flag it with my surgical team. They would know what’s up.
So I took myself into A&E at UCLH at about 7:30am, hoping I would be out in time to go to work. Well… I started writing this at 3pm that day, still waiting. I finally got out around half 4. NINE hours. That’s enough to even test the healthiest person in the world, let alone one who looks like a balloon.
I honestly wasn’t worried. A couple of friends messaged me asking if I was scared it was cancer. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. No, I didn’t. I was far more worried of an infection compromising the new bone and the implants.
I was in and out throughout the course of the day. First speak to the nurse. I liked him, he showed me a video of the foxes that live next door to him – three cubs were brought up by his neighbour so they just live in the backyard. I liked that. I like foxes.
Then I got blood taken. They were going to give me a cannula just in case and I said ‘if you’re not sure, then I don’t want it’ so she didn’t give me one.
A couple of hours later I got a cannula. Of course I did. It was one of the most painful ones I’ve had and I screamed. A lot. IV antibiotics next. Cool. (Well not cool, burning pain).
I just wanted someone to put in a quick call to my surgeons. I hope I didn’t seem rude when doctors etc. just kept suggesting things that made no sense and weren’t relevant, I just needed to have a quick chat with my team. But I guess they had to rule everything out. By the third time I’d said I haven’t been bitten by a bug on my face, I was just feeling tired of it all. And sore and uncomfortable.
Eventually I got to talk to Deepti on the phone, which always fills me with joy (you all remember her? My wonderful surgeon). She said it could be the implants playing up a bit and a course of antibiotics should zap it. She also wanted a CT scan just to check. The plan was to head off on my merry way and pop back in tomorrow to just check in.
My goodness my cannula hurt. I’ve never had the dye of a CT scan hurt so much. I cried and screamed. As I tend to do when in agony.
I was feeling ok towards the start of the day but after sitting in A&E all day, the swelling and pain was getting worse and worse. One doc said it was maybe something called periorbital cellulitis, another said it’s not.
I love you NHS but 9 hours is a Long time to spend in A&E.
I left with the plan to go back to see my surgical team the next day. I got a call from Andrew my teeth man that evening to check in (we’ve seen your puffy face, what up?!), was nice to touch base with him and I vowed to keep him updated.
So the next day (today), I took myself in to clinic and showed off my puffy face. Mr K asked if I had been in a fight. Obviously as a joke, but I really do look like I have been. Sarcoma UK were there too, taking some photos for… something… So I got to catch up with my friend Bevis from Sarcoma UK. That was nice. I’m not exactly at my most photogenic today, but the photographer was on my good side so that was something.
Mr K was asking if it has got worse, and me being me I was able to produce a photographic account of the last 24 hours, and we decided that it was in fact getting worse even though I was on antibiotics. That was enough to warrant admitting me. I was reluctant, but mainly because I didn’t have clean underwear or (most importantly) Clarence. So we negotiated and I was allowed to go home first, grab my little cow (and a few other things) and I then checked myself in to good old T6, the Head and Neck ward of UCLH. I’m baaaaaaack! Where all my UCLH friends at?
How do I feel about being in? No one wants to be in hospital obviously. But considering it wasn’t getting better and we’re going into the weekend, this is the place I need to be. Probs not going to make the music and philosophy festival I have tickets to over the weekend… But I guess being alive is priority. Always so needy for being alive! I thought I was out of the space where I couldn’t make plans because I might be back in hospital but it appears not.
What’s going to happen now? Well. More antibiotics, if I can ever find anyone to give me some. Going to have to go through the trauma of a cannula (let’s take a moment to remember my PICC line with fondness), and of course some shit nights (but let’s be real, I can’t sleep very well anyway since I can’t breathe through my nose at all, what’s some extra beeps and midnight observations). Monitor to see if the antibiotics help and if things get better. The other thing that was said was that there’s a part of the original reconstruction that could be removed, that there’s a chance that since it’s so close to the implants, it’s affecting the soft tissue in the space between it, which could give rise to ongoing infections and the like. So that’s interesting. There’s a chance I’ll have some surgery while I’m in here… But that was just something mentioned without much known yet, so we’ll see how I respond to the antibiotics and make a game plan. I’ll be honest, if more surgery means less chance of this sort of thing happening every few months, I am so in. But we shall see.
Right now I’m not too bothered about being here. Bring it on. But please give me some antibiotics… They haven’t been able to find any notes so they can’t work out what they’re supposed to do with me. I assigned myself to my bed. Thankfully Deepti told me which one was mine, because the nurses on the ward have no idea I’m meant to be here… They’ve never even heard of my surgeon which feels odd considering this is the Head and Neck Ward but… ok… Currently the nurse of my bay is having a nap in his chair so I guess he’s not going to try and find out what’s up.
The Head and Neck doc on the ward just came and saw me. She was the one I saw in A&E yesterday so nice to have some continuity. Cross your fingers for me that the cannula is successful, I think it’s on its way…
Want a pic? Here you go. I think I’m even more swollen than I was from implants surgery! It’s some serious swelling…