As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been away for a while.
I started to feel unwell around my 21st birthday, which was on Saturday, July 16. I had a lovely day with Al and Esme, and will tell you all about it in another blog post.
For now, I’ll tell you my sad, serious story. And, I’ll warn you now that I may delve into subjects that are a little on the graphic side …
I took some time out of work on the Monday and went to my local doctors surgery on July 18, suspecting I had a pilonidal cyst. I’d had one before, and was expecting to be in and out of the doctors, with a prescription for antibiotics. But, it didn’t quite go that way.
I was seen by a female doctor, who carried out an examination. After a few pokes and prods and asking if I could touch my toes, she told me I had a condition called sacroiliitis.
I was quite shocked about this, because it was not what I was expecting in the slightest. Sacroiliitis, according to mayoclinic.org is an inflammation of one or both of your sacroiliac joints — situated where your lower spine and pelvis connect. According to their website, sacroiliitis can be difficult to diagnose, because it can be mistaken for other causes of low back pain.
This confused me, because I had complained about a painful lump, located around the top of my bum/base of my spine. However, I accepted that this ‘doctor’ is a medical professional, and therefore must know a lot more than I do about the differences between a pilonidal cyst and sacroiliitis. I was just a mere fool, expecting that my self diagnoses was fact, and not speculation through information gathered from Google.
I left, with a prescription for a strong ibuprofen called Naproxen, and went back to work.
The following day I stayed home. I felt in too much pain to be able to sit down, and whenever I sat down, I did so by easing myself down on my hip. I tried to research what could have caused sacroiliitis, and how I could make it better. I wondered if I would ever be able to go horse riding again, and if it was horse riding that caused sacroiliitis?
All I knew was that I couldn’t sit down or drive, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to walk.
The day after that, Esme and I went swimming with Sophie and Arthur. Sophie drove, and seemed concerned that I had to travel in the fetal position, so that my arse didn’t touch the seat.
I had read that being in water takes the weight off your joints, and can help greatly with sacroiliitits. I had no concens getting in the water, and walked along the poolside with Esme by my side. But, as soon as I got into the water, I knew it wasn’t going to help. My body from the hips down felt like it was grinding, and no matter how I walked or floated, the pain wasn’t going away.
I decided to return to the doctors on Thursday, July 21, to explain my tablets weren’t helping me at all. This time, I saw a different doctor, who told me it was very likely my joints had become enflamed due to horse riding, and suggested purchasing a book called ‘Treat Your Own Back.’
I explained to her through floods of tears how much pain I was in, and couldn’t take the seat next to her to tell her what my symptoms were because I physically couldn’t. She half-heartedly examined me, and told me not to bother undressing. I still don’t know why she said this.
She spoke in a matter of fact tone, and sent me off with another prescription, but this time for the strongest cocodamol tablets that can be taken.
Al was become more and more concerned. I spent my evenings in pain, and my days were just as bad. Esme started having to stay with Jill while Al was at work, even though I was at home, because I was in too much pain to be able to look after her. I stopped going upstairs to bed, and started sleeping on the sofa because I couldn’t walk up the stairs. I was miserable.
I left it as long as I could, because I didn’t want to be a nuisance, but at 5am on the morning of Sunday, July 24, I decided to call NHS Direct. I spoke to a lovely lady, and explained that I was certain I had been misdiagnosed. And, after exchanging a few numbers and making a few phonecalls, I was given an appointment to see and out of hours doctor at Withybush Hospital around 10am that morning.
I called my Mum, and my Dad drove me to the hospital so that Al could stay home with Esme and not disrupt the Sunday morning routine. I was expecting to be given antibiotics and sent on my way, and I would have been home within an hour.
But, that wasn’t the case.
As soon as the doctor saw my skin, he gasped. He literally gasped. He said: “Oh my God! That is NOT sacroiliitis, that’s a VERY nasty skin infection. I don’t understand how the two can be mixed up, sacroiliitis doesn’t even affect you in that area anyway!”
Within 15 minutes, I was speaking to a surgeon, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I had eaten before coming in, I would have had my operation that afternoon.
I explained that I had initially gone to the doctors almost a week ago, but had been misdiagnosed. I was informed, that if I had been diagnosed properly and given the right medication a week ago, I wouldn’t have needed surgery.
A bed was prepared (very quickly, might I add) and I was whisked off to a ward, where I would spend my day waiting to be given a hospital gown and a lovely drip to cart around with me all day, which would eventually lead to an operation that evening.
I informed Al, who was just as shocked as I was to find out that I would not be coming home that night. He came up later that day with some essentials, and sat with me the majority of the day.
I spent quite a lot of time playing PokemonGo, as well. I couldn’t walk anywhere, but it didn’t matter, because there seemed to be a lot of Pokemon hanging around my bed. Weird.
Evening soon came, and it was time for me to be wheeled off for my operation. I was told that I’d have one injection to make me ‘woozy’ and another to put me to sleep. I was surprised how quick I fell asleep, and how it felt like I’d only blinked, and I’d been through a whole hour long procedure.
The first thing I asked was: “Where is Al?
The second: “Ooh, I’ve got different knickers on.”
After being wheeled up back to the ward and spotting Al, we had a quick little chat and Al went off home. I made friends with a lovely girl called Cameron MacDonald, and we were looked after by a wonderful male nurse named Andy.
We spent my last night in hospital making him thank you cards, but we never had the opportunity to give them to him because he’d gone to work at a different hospital the next day.
I would eventually like to find him though, and say thank you.
I spent two and a half days in hospital, and was allowed to go home after that. Esme and I were looked after by Jill the week after my operation, because I was practically bed bound, and there was no way I would be able to look after Esme now.
She thought it was great though, because she could climb into bed with me whenever she wanted to. She had dinner with me one day next to my bed. We had to improvise a little bit though, and give her a chair to use as a table. She’s so cute.
I had lots of visitors though, which was lovely. My little brother and sister, Cerys and Ceirion came to visit. They were down on holiday from Dubai anyway, and had brought me a huge cup thing from Sea World with an orca on top, and a panda from San Diego Zoo for Esme. We called him Phil, because it’s funny.
I also had a lovely visit from Arthur, who had a lovely play with Esme, and quite enjoyed climbing over my hip (of all places) for a cuddle and a selfie.
A district nurse had to change my dressing daily, which wasn’t the most pleasant. The wound had to be left open rather than stitched, so that the likelihood of infection wasn’t as great. The wound needed to heal “from the inside out,” and therefore had to be stuffed with an absorbent ribbon, and kept in by a wonderful sticky dressing over the top, finished off with the biggest sanitary towel looking thing ever.
This ribbon had to be pushed as tightly as possible into a golf ball-sized hole in my lower back, and removed 24 hours later for a fresh one.
It was like I had two vaginas. Grim.
This went on for 5 weeks, and the 6th week I was able to not have it dressed and start having salt baths instead. I’m currently on week 7, and have almost completed my first week back at work. I’m still not completely healed, and I’m still concerned about sitting down properly. But I’m almost there.
So, that folks, was my first operation, and the reason that I have been away. But, I’m back, and I have a lot to tell you.