Friday, 15 June 2012

Pain, pain, go away...


Well, where do I start? Today was like any other Friday. Breakfast stop, nursery drop, slight 'Friday feeling' in the air. I had a pleasant morning of lovely students and constructive lessons. As the lesson before lunch was drawing to a close, I felt a terrible sharp stabbing pain in my chest.

It was enough to take my breath away and cause me to grab a desk to steady myself. The students who noticed expressed some concern. I told them I was okay; it's frightening for them if the adult in charge is not in control or is vulnerable in some way. The truth was, I was in agony and needed them to go.

As the bell went, I dismissed them but asked one of the girls to send our first-aider up to my room. By the time she arrived, I was bent double over my desk in floods of tears and excruciating pain. Having checked me over, the decision was made to call an ambulance.

The ambulance arrived promptly as it was on base nearby. I was asked lots of questions, but was preoccupied by pain and was squirming around in an attempt to evade it and get comfortable. I was pushed through the length of the school in a wheelchair. My colleagues are amazing; the school was put into a sort of 'lockdown' and I didn't see a single student.

In the back of the ambulance, I was given an ECG and kitted out with a canister of gas and air. Entonox (to give it its scientific name), got me through a pleasingly straightforward labour. It really helped in this situation too, giving rapid pain relief and calming my fears about what was happening to me. A side-effect for me is that it seems to give me 'electric lips' - I did not stop talking, bending the ear of the poor ambulance technician who had to sit in the back with me.

I was taken to Eastbourne Hospital's Accident and Emergency department as a Category A patient - due to the fact that it was chest pains. Lovely lift-share friend, Becka joined me there (love her), and we were kept in a sort of 'holding corridor', waiting for a bed. As I needed prescribed pain-relief, I was not allowed to be just left in the waiting room. As I was feeling much more comfortable/off my face at this point, I was very chatty with Donna and Michael, the ambulance staff who were looking after me. They did an amazing job and I felt such a sense of pride in my fellow public-sector workers. I was getting a bit political and ranty and was even discussing correct semi-colon and apostrophe use with them at one point. I think they were very glad when a bed became available...

As I was put in said bed and given a new canister of gas and air (yes!), I was also gowned up, wired-up and had a cannula fitted. I had a real moment of clarity - and fear. It all seemed so very serious, and I briefly contemplated the worst case scenario. Of course, the boy came into my mind,  and I got emotional about the 'what-ifs'. The Entonox had clearly worn off, and through my tears, I managed some enthusiastic inhalations! I was soon back to sending text messages declaring myself to be Byron and speaking Portugese to the nurse - well, saying 'thank you' in her native tongue.

In total, I was there for seven hours, and had numerous tests, X-rays and examinations; they couldn't have been more thorough. The husband was there pretty much throughout. All the monitoring was pretty inconclusive - the pain was most likely to be a muscular strain/spasm. Whatever it was, it was distressing and agonizing.

And what about Dexter? My BRILLIANT lift-share ladies had collected him from the equally brilliant nursery. He'd been taken to Starbucks, fed, changed into pyjamas, had several stories and been put to bed. The ladies reported back that he was angelic throughout. Today's #366 photograph (taken by Becka), shows how content he was.

The husband and I got back to Brighton at about half past nine. The codeine I'd been given was disagreeing with me, and I crawled out of the car, into the gutter where I narrowly avoided throwing up and passing out. I was green by the time I got into the house. Becka was there; she'd bought us pizza and tidied up.

The whole experience left me feeling wiped out, and yet strangely uplifted. I was so well looked-after, supported and received so many words of concern and love throughout, that I just felt incredibly lucky. Sometimes, when life throws you some epic curve balls, it's nice to know that the most astonishing bunch of caring, selfless and big-hearted people have got your back.

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