The nurse working the night shift drifted into the room and made herself known to her patients.
‘Hi Olivia, how are you feeling?’ She says. ‘So much better after yesterday thanks. It’s just this stupid tube down my throat that’s annoying me’ I uttered back. She nodded and made her way back to the nursing station.
So this is me, I’m 23, work as a staff nurse in A&E and developed a rare liver condition at 6 weeks old, called Biliary Atresia. Until I can remember, I’ve always known that I would need a liver transplant some day. It seemed that this time had arrived…
I had been admitted into Torbay hospital after having melena (black stools) for the 4th time this year on the 29/10/14. This time I knew I’d be in for longer because of the other complications I had developed such as ascites.
I went to work on that Wednesday, stumbled into the A&E department and collapsed onto the nearest chair for handover.
I had to push myself so hard to do anything. Even standing was using up all of my energy. The day before I had contacted my Gastro Dr’s secretary and was awaiting a response in order to try and push my next appointment to an earlier date. I hadn’t received a reply so I decided to head back into the staff room whilst I had chance and contact her again.
She said that she had left a message on my answer phone but I hadn’t checked it. All she could do was move it forward by 30 mins the same day.
I explained to her that I felt unwell and stressed the importance of being seen earlier. I found that I started to struggle to get my words out.. so ended the call quickly.
I put my head into my hands and burst into tears… 2 mins later, one of the Nurse Practitioners walked in.
She hugged me which made me cry out even louder which what tends to happen when people show affection when they comfort you.
‘I don’t feel very well!’ I stuttered.
‘Shhhhh’ as she said softly leading me to the sofa chairs at the back of the staff room.
She sat me down, went out of the room for a few seconds to grab some tissues and told me to take a deep breath.
She asked me how long I had been unwell for and had explained to her that since Friday the week before I had passed some melena. I expressed how exhausted I felt and how fed up of it I was, as it had happened multiple times this year already.
Clearly I wasn’t well enough to work so she went to the staff offfice to notify my boss.
I was advised to visit my gp and from that day I was admitted into hospital for a week. Discharged on Wednesday and back in through A&E, rushed into resus with excruciating abdominal pain on the Friday. It all happened so quickly. So much had changed. I struggled to walk to the bathroom by myself on the Saturday so had to ask for help. I felt so exhausted, embarrassed and had lost all independence.
The weekend past and I was weaned off the morphine. I still needed it now and again. My stomach grew and grew due to the ascites. It was painful and so distressing to watch my body change completely. Filling up with liquid wherever possible. I refused to look in the mirror because I new that I would just burst into tears. My legs and feet had started to swell up. No way would I take a photo. Clearly the diuretics were not working or I was just being impatient.
A couple of days later, the consultant said that she would drain the fluid away. As soon as I was told that, I was so relieved. 4 litres of fluid was collected and immediately I felt a hundred times better, lighter, mobile and no longer so breathless. My weight had dropped by 5kg!
I could now eat without throwing up and from then on everything started to improve dramatically. The only thing that seemed to bother me was the ng tube I had running down my left nostril into my stomach in order to feed me up again. Oh and not forgetting my kankles! ! !