06 July, 2011

Things I Have Learnt in the Last Week

  1. The NHS is amazing
  2. My husband is amazing (OK, this isn't the first time I've learnt this but...)
  3. Morphine is pretty cool too
After my cheery last post about how antibiotics were getting rid of my tonsil infection, things went rapidly downhill. In a few hours, I progressed from having a bit of pain in my ear to being in the worst pain I have ever experienced, unable to open my mouth very much or swallow at all. Turned out that  I just didn't quite get on to antibiotics fast enough to stop a nice little abscess (a "quinsy") forming behind my tonsils after all, so I duly spent my weekend on an antibiotic drip in hospital. Ignoring the fact that everyone who came into the ward all weekend felt it necessary to say something along the lines of, "It's such gorgeous weather out there - best we've had this summer," I am trying to think of  my first two nights in hosptial as good research for future stories.

For instance, without this unnecessary episode I wouldn't know what it feels like to be given morphine (amazing actually - from agony to no pain at all in about 60s), or what it's like to have a doctor stick a massive needle into the soft bit at the back of your throat to withdraw a syringe-full of pus. I wouldn't have spent the early hours of Sunday morning listening to the nurses deal with patients in other rooms ("Richard, where are your trousers? No, I think it would be best if you put them on now, there are young ladies on the ward.") or known what it's like to wake up in the morning to see that while you were sleeping, someone managed to attach/detach various tubes from your arm. I'm sure one day, it will all come in useful...

I had hoped to have written more than the words "Chapter One" on my novel re-write by now, but these things happen and I certainly can't complain about the care I recieved. The first nurse we met got it into her head that I just needed to calm down and wouldn't listen to my husband (and couldn't listen to me as I couldn't speak) trying to tell her that I was actually crying because I needed some pain relief pretty urgently, but even she was very competent (and did eventually give me some drugs) and everyone else we met was brilliant. My recovery is also being helped considerably by the capable nursing of my husband who has been doing everything from catering to my every nutritional whim to using cushions to engineer the correct angle of my pillows to keep me comfortable. Even now, when I am up and about again, he is being most attentive and - ladies you'll be very impressed with this - he even thought to include my moisturiser when he brought me my wash-bag in hospital. What more could you ask?!

What experiences have you had that you can draw on for your writing (or art, or whatever...)? I don't usually find it easy to "write what I know" - do you?


  1. 3 cheers for Paul, the NHS and morphine!

  2. Indeed! And I should add, 4. Neighrbours are amazing.

    I've lost count of how many people on our street or in our church have popped round to see how I am, to ask what they can do or to bring flowers. When Paul arrived home from leaving my at the hosptial on Friday, he had a plate of dinner delivered to him within minutes!

  3. ooo dear, I hope you get better soon.

    I'm afraid I'm in the opposite camp to you - too much time in hospitals with family that you forget all the little things. But I have included it in my novel, so I have drawn on it.

    You can have some of my experiences if you want? Or the ones to come might be better? Have alot of those coming up... unfortunately.

  4. Hey Chloe, glad to hear you're feeling better now, but sorry that you had to go through all of that. Your husband sounds like he got some serious brownie points during the whole affair, and I thouroughly apporve. Even remembereing moisturiser? Now that's a keeper ;)
    I like how you've gone about it though, seeing it all as experience tyo draw from. That's definitely the attitude to have :)
    Nari X

  5. First of all Chloe I hope you're back as good as new my friend. If you can talk clearly now ... which I don't doubt. Tell Paul from me his is a star! I know if he's anything remotely like me he would have gladly suffered the pain on your behalf. My wife had a wisdom tooth removed some years ago and was left in serious pain by an incompetent dentist. I would have instantly changed places with her ... and paid a visit to the dentist myself if she'd let me. I really wanted to let him know what a sore jaw felt like.
    Since leaving the army in '92 I've had an op on my groin, an emergency hernia op and most recently (last year) my gallbladder removed. I totally agree with your finding on our NHS and the idea of remembering your experiences.
    Writing what you know? Well I think the background of my novel answers that one. I hope yours is going well. Take care of yourself, and make Paul some nice cakes.

  6. Hi Chloe, your adventure sounds like gold medal material! I think it's at times like that when people's true character is revealed. It also makes for great story content.

    I had only two hospital adventures. 1. Having my nose reset (note to self: don't sniff when you still have splints up your nostrils). 2. Suing a hospital trust for negligence. It would be a loooonnnngggg story.


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