Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So, there I was worrying about the dog...

... who has, after all, been shaking her head about and seems sensitive around the other ear now.

And I rather neglected my husband, who had been a bit the worse since eating moules frites a week before in hot sun (about the only bit of that we've had of late). His insides are always ticklish to say the least, but it seemed to get better, then it seemed to get worse again, so I rang our doctor, who was on holiday without a locum, the recorded message advised we visit another doctor in the area or in case of emergency call 15. Tom said never mind he'd wait till after the weekend if it wasn't better by then...

I even went out for an hour or two on Sunday to live it up at the local village fete, where there were Breton horses on show, and took some photos, which I will post later, the intervening drama notwithstanding.

Sunday night he was took very much worse, in a lot of quite alarming pain, and I caved in and called 15, hoping for a médecin de garde, but no such thing existed, it seemed, on a Sunday night in August, and I was told to drive him to various not very local hospitals ( where the f. is Chateaulaudren anyway?). As he was at that point incapable of walking from the en suite bathroom to our bed other than on all fours, and I didn't really fancy driving through the night with him doubled up in agony beside me, I said no, impossible, and they ordered an ambulance.

Two very nice, hunky ambulance men duly arrived, and clumped up the stairs. Molly, who I'd sort of forgotten about under the bed, flew at the large boots of the larger ambulance man with a volley of barking, then ran downstairs and out of the front door to investigate the wheels of the ambulance, a dog has her priorites after all, and the wheels of strange vehicles are some kind of equivalent of the internet for dogs. They wrapped Tom up in blankets and absorbant paper, and said they were taking him to St Brieuc, which might have been feasible for me to drive to after all, but frankly I was happy to have the help, though having looked at the charges for an ambulance journey for those without complementary insurance I wonder if I shouldn't have been braver. Hindsight.

I packed up dog and a few personal effects for Tom - in the absence of his having a James Patterson or Harry Potter on the go his current reading was 'Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals' and a book on watercolour, his Nordic style fleecy slippers, I forgot his toothbrush - and set off to follow the van and not dilly-dally.

When I found him on a trolley in urgences the pain had abated somewhat, though he was very feverish. That was about 11 pm. There seemed to be an abundance of young and personable medical staff, who took as much time, discussion, blood and urine as if we had been having a midweek consultation with BUPA. By this time we were both thinking it would be quite nice to be home with a generous supply of pain killers and an appointment for the following day, and by about 2.30 am had almost got the less certain of the young doctors round to this point of view, but then a very sharp young woman doctor appeared, pummelled him some more and asked more questions, then announced she was keeping him there.

By the time I left they had taken out more bodily fluids and replaced them with a commensurate volume of painkillers, and I finally put my head on the pillow at exactly 4 am. Then lifted it up again when I heard a mosquito whining in my ear because the plug-in hadn't been refilled because that's the kind of thing I rely on him to do. Despite having given Mol breakfast when we got in in the hopes that it might forestall her waking me up for it at 6, she still discharged her duty and did so anyway. I dozed a bit after that.

Arriving back on Monday afternoon I fairly quickly gave up hope of bringing him back that day. One doctor had shown up and told him he didn't have appendicitis, another, a gastro-enterology specialist was predicted, as was, rather vaguely, someone to administer an endoscopy but neither appeared. He slipped in and out of sleep while I tried to read 'Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals', having forgotten to bring my own book ('The Tenderness of Wolves', highly recommended). I had remembered his toothbrush and shaver.

I went home, cried a bit, drank a couple of glasses of wine and ate some pasta, and fell asleep in front of Dick Dawkins explaining the evolutionary causes of altruism. So I'm still in the dark about that.

The next day, today, that is, though time seems to have warped peculiarly and it seems to me as if I am writing about a period of many years rather than a mere 48 hours or less, I remembered to bring my book. However, like Epamynandos, I seem fated to do the thing I should have done the last time which turns out to be irrelevant or inappropriate for this. Tom was tearing up the place with impatience, feeling considerably better, wanting to go home and very cross that no doctor had appeared to give him a diagnosis or any instructions. I had wailed out loud to no one on the way home the day before that I wanted my Angry Old Git back, and now he seemed to be well on the way.

So my efforts were required to keep him nailed down and badger the very lovely, very efficient nurses, to find a doctor, any doctor, to sign his release papers, and we'd get onto our GP to refer him to a specialist later, since I wasn't quite sure how long I could hold him down for. The gastro-enterologist finally showed up in the final countdown to unauthorised breakout, made him an appointment for tomorrow for an endoscopy, which we're glad of, since there clearly is a problem which needs looking at and we've put it off for too long, and said he could go home. This crisis was a painful and expensive way of precipitating us into it.

He's very wobbly, but no longer in pain. I wouldn't say Thomas is Himself Again, but he's something more recognisable. He ate some soup tonight and took himself off to bed. He just came down again with the empty mosquito plug-in, and asked where the spare one was.

And the dog? Very pleased to have her Adoring Old Git back, she's been quite subdued. Still shaking her head a bit, but that'll have to wait.

29 comments:

Zephyr said...

Holding you and Tom and Molly in my heart, hoping for the best...take care.

julie said...

I'll be praying for you all, Lucy.

For Molly, have you tried Zymox? It's what I used on Lyra. It cleared up her ear infection this spring (the one that had her bleeding and inflamed for months) in about two days. Every once in a while she'll start to shake her head again, but a drop once a day takes care of it. I don't know what availability is like where you're at, but if you can find it it truly is worth a try.

marja-leena said...

Me too, hope all will be well! Entertaining though scary story, Lucy, let's hope the follow up is calmer.

herhimnbryn said...

GWS Tom.

Catalyst said...

Wonderfully written saga, Lucy, though I suspect Tom may have a different view. Here's hoping for a quick recovery from whatever it is.

Zhoen said...

Poor dears.

Dave said...

What an ordeal. Hope everything turns out OK.

Lucy said...

Thanks all so much.

It is presumably infectious colitis, according th othe specialist, and will need antibiotics when that's diagnosed.

Without the painkillers he's spent an uncomfortable and feverish night but without actual pain, so the situation's manageable now.

It's being so cheerful wot keeps me going... that and blogging!

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh gosh how awful, i hope he's feeling fully better soon.

Anonymous said...

Tom Says, Thank you everyone for your comments. I have long enjoyed reading what you say about Lucy's blog. She is a dear of whom I am very proud.
This mini-crisis was something that had to be faced sooner or later. Now it is upon me I look forward to working through it and emerging from the other side with a 'managing strategy'. It may be a chronic but not a life threatening situation, the fear of which has stopped me dealing with the it earlier.
I cannot imagine who the Angry Old Git is to whom Lucy referred. Not me surely! Actually, I'm really sweet, a positive b----- saint!! It's just that I have certain.....expectations of life. Thank you all again....for the unexpected.

Jean said...

Oh dear. Lots of love to both of you, and hoping the verdict is something not too serious, and treatable.

I hope writing about it helped, Lucy. I think somehow it does, because the worst thing about these kind of common but traumatic experiences is perhaps that we go through them full of anxiety and emotional pain that we have to keep inside and be all calm and efficient - so where does it go? it eats us up and exhausts us! Blogging is good for sharing experiences and emotions without feeling inappropriate or burdensome on others, I guess.

Thinking of you, Lucy and Tom.

Plutarch said...

Best wishes to you both.

Barrett Bonden said...

I am terribly sorry about all this, especially when I reflect on the way I went bald-headed at a moules-frites "all you can eat" offer for 45 francs at Piriac some years ago. I could provide a link with a post about my endoscopy experiences but on yet further reflection I won't. It's there in archives should either of you are curious. Blanquette de veau seems indicated. Seriously though, look after yourselves. The pair of you are well on the way to becoming an offshore cultural asset worthy of a British Council grant.

Tall Girl said...

Oh yikes, Lu. You make a good story of it by I know how freaked out you both must have been...
Much love.

Tori said...

I came by to look at stonework again, but first--best wishes for normal life to return soon.

Lucy said...

And again, thanks.

Making a story of it, yes, Jean and TG, that's part of the relief, and the release, and helps to make it all manageable. I find I can't really write in the very midst of a crisis, even if there's time; it just doesn't seem appropriate, like I'm being self-dramatising, or it's tempting fate, a little pride about needing to know I can manage without asking for help or sympathy. I didn't contact any friends round here either, and I know they'll say I should have, but it also seems rather pointless. The help one needs at these times is really the practical professional kind anyway. Part of the reason for writing this is also to avoid having to repeat myself too much; the story's here.

BB - the moules frites may well have been a contributary factor, a last straw, but really this is something that's been rumbling on for a long time. Mind you, another friend of ours who ate at the same restaurant recently went down with infectious hepatitis, and the state of the bay where the mussels come from is fairly awful at the moment... one does wonder. I will probe(!) your archives for the endoscopy post, as it may be a kind of schadenfreudisch comfort to Tom to hear of someone else's suffering in that department. It was fairly awful and has knocked him back again, let's hope the antibiotics kick in fast. The British Council grant would be very helpful in meeting the bill for the ambulance.

Diverticular disease seems the latest verdict, though I'm a little confused between -isis, -osis etc.

Tori - welcome, that's very kind.

jzr said...

Hope all goes well with you all. Am sending healing light in hopes it will help!!

Rosie said...

oh blimey, the dogs will have to take a back seat for a moment...
It's one thing after another as my mum used to say. I'm glad Tom is feeling well enough to comment!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Edward said a prayer for Molly and I said one for Tom. Then we switched. Good thoughts your way, and we will keep you in our prayers for good news on both counts.

What a time you've had!

Lucy said...

Thanks again. Prayers, thoughts, light,it all helps!

Rosie - hmm, that was this morning, before the knockout painkillers the hospital had given him had entirely worn off and before the somewhat invasive and painful nastiness of the examination - I'll skip the gory details! He's a wet rag again now, but we're hoping he'll be on the up tomorrow and stay that way!

Bee said...

I was imagining you (from your absence at "Out with Mol") occupied with happier matters; my mind tends to veer in the positive direction.

I'm sorry to hear that you've had a health crisis in the family, but glad that it might mean sorting out a longtime health irritant. Best wishes to you and Tom.

Isabelle said...

Oh dear, how very very nasty! Hope things are much better now.

But "The Tenderness of Wolves" I have to say I found very tedious. Most of it seemed to consist of descriptions of walking through the snow.

leslee said...

Oh dear. Well, I do hope Tom's feeling better by now and on the mend. (Nice to see his comments here, too!)

Julia said...

I also hope things are better soon for you both!

Jules said...

Gosh Lucy, I hope your... uh..... saint is doing well now. And you and your little dog too. It's never fun visiting the hospital and then bills that visit you afterward can be scary/annoying/irritating....... Yup. I can sympathize.

All the best to all of you.

Lucy said...

So touched by all this well-wishing.

The patient is very weak and wobbly - and quite unusually saintly so he can't be quite right! - but the fever and pain seem to be subsiding now, which seems to indicate the antibioticsd are working, which is a relief, as it means they're treating what they thought they were, and we won't have to go back to square one.

Bee - I'll start it up again now, as we are still walking, and I shouldn't abandon the practice because of this. I just couldn't really commit myself to it for a few days.

Isabelle - well I suppose that sort of sums up the setting and one aspect of the plot... doesn't quite do justice to the characterisation though. I really like it, but the person who lent it to me felt a bit like you did about it and didn't finish it.

Leslee - thanks, I don't usually let him loose here but as he's poorly I'm humouring him!

Julia and Jules - thanks, this too shall pass!

Reluctant Blogger said...

I hope he has continued to improve. It made me chuckle seeing him appear here in your comment box.

You have lovely readers, don't you? It's great really when you can write about anything - happy, worrying, sad or whatever - and readers are just there for you. Blogs are cool! Well, I suppose it is bloggers who are cool - blogs are nothing by themselves.

Dave King said...

You make it sound as interesting as it was disasterous. My best wishes for his future good health. Good post, though!

Granny J said...

I return to my regular routine to find this post of yours, Lucy. Some time has now passed and you have not followed up; I am keeping my fingers crossed that all is as well as it can be. My very best wishes for Tom's recovery.