Emergency visit to Stoke Mandeville
2013 has not been a good year for me so far.
This time an emergency trip to Stoke Mandeville hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 20th Feb. So what happened to get me there? On Tuesday evening Barby and I went out for a curry with some friends. Just before we left the restaurant I went for a wee, tried to insert a catheter and instead of passing urine a few drops of blood came out.
My temperature was 39.8
As we were walking home I told Barby what had happened but thought no more about it. An hour later I looked at my trousers and they were quite badly bloodstained and I still could not catheterise. I was upstairs and quite suddenly my legs stopped working, Uhthoff’s syndrome kicking in. Barby got me into bed and gave me my pills but I couldn’t get to sleep, joints ached, I was shivering, could not relax, wanted to stay all curled up. I was not breathing normally instead I was panting. After half an hour I told her to dial 999. I still do not know why I said that.
Ambulance arrived within half an hour and whisked me off to Stoke Mandeville. The ambulance people had dressed me in a hospital gown. I insisted on taking my phone with me otherwise I had nothing, no watch, no clothes, no wallet, no shoes. I do not remember an awful lot about the next few hours apart from being told my temperature was 39.8 and that I probably had a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Fifteen hours on an A & E bed
I was really worried about my bladder, I could feel it was full but I could not have a wee. At about 5 in the morning a doctor inserted an indwelling catheter, emptying my bladder was a huge relief. Barby arrived mid morning bringing things like reading glasses and a couple of books to read but it was all a bit hazy.
I arrived at A & E at about 12.30 in the morning and at about 4 that afternoon I was transferred to a ward. Fifteen hours on an A & E bed, total torture, a ward bed is so much more comfortable. I was in a men’s surgical ward, euphemism for old men who are too ill to stay at home. The nurses were very patient and helpful. The food, although it was definitely not haute cuisine was edible.
Bacteria in my blood
The hospital pumped me full of antibiotics and had me on a saline drip so my temperature came down and my blood pressure went up. I was all set to leave on Wednesday but the hospital had identified some bacteria in my blood and wanted to keep me in for another 24 hours. Yet more antibiotics. That night I started to develop another temperature, only 38.1. Not good. Paracetamol seemed to do the trick. Big relief!
Discharged on Thursday afternoon, home to a good meal and a full night’s sleep in my own bed, bliss and relief. The discharge papers said that I had sepsis, Googled it, I was lucky to get to a hospital as quickly as I did.
What caused the infection?
So what caused the UTI? For the previous week inserting a catheter was not as easy as usual. If the catheter won’t get into the bladder a common trick is to cough and that allows it to pass into the bladder, I had been doing this more and more frequently. It never crossed my mind that the problem might be an infection. I do have antibiotics to clear up a UTI and if this problem occurs again I will take them. Definitely another lesson learnt! I just hope this sort of event this never happens again!