Addo’s Hospital Adventures 2022
Addo’s Adventure in Addenbrooke’s University Hospital, Cambridge, 2022
My experiences over a 10 day period: Edited
It all began a few years ago when I noticed that I had acid reflux reaction to my much loved spicy foods and was prescribed medication called Omeprazole which I’ve had to take daily henceforth. I also noticed that when I cooked using a preparatory tomato sauce that within two to three hours there was a reflux action to that.
On Tuesday February 1st 2022 when I woke up, I felt a little dizzy and light headed. I took things a little easier than I normally do, first job was feeding and watering the menagerie of furry four-legged Kids that we have of which there are five Cats, three Guinea pigs and two Doggies. I noticed when I’d bent down to pick up or replace their respective food and water bowls that I was a little dizzy / lightheaded.
Having fed the fur babies I then decided to check my own blood pressure, it was quite low compared to my normal this morning it was just 84 over 74. I tested myself three times and each time it was particularly low compared to my normal weekly checks. However I then fed myself the usual a bowl of poradge, a pot of Benecol and a banana and as normal I had a mug of filtered black coffee.
Morning tasks completed I then sought the advice of 111 as to whether the low blood pressure should be of concern and should I consult my GP or whatever they deemed necessary. Having been phoned triaged I was informed a clinician would call me later, but they didn’t say how long!
Just before 12:00 local time I made my way out complete with camera as I knew there was to be a fly-past of USAF and RAF aircraft that were going to be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the formation of the 8th Air Force in the U.K. Prior to the actual fly-past I was told that there would be two B-1B Lancers, two F-15 Eagles, models and designations unknown and two F-35B Lightnings from RAF Marham.
Rather disappointingly to me and I’m sure the aircraft that were to take part the fly-past consisted of a sole B-1B Lancer serial 86-0129 coded EL signifying it came from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota (SD) USA [28th Bomb Wing 34th Bomb Squadron] two F-15E Strike Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing / 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadron serials 94-0301 and 00-3004 respectively from RAF Lakenheath and a lone RAF F-35B Lightning serial ZM159 coded 024 of 207 Squadron at RAF Marham. There was a photo-ship aircraft a BAe Hawk T Mk.1 serial XX191 coded CC from RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire.
The B-1B had initially been a three ship formation on departure from Ellsworth AFB, SD the third aircraft was an air spare and once it reached the East coast of the USA left the other two to continue their mission to the U.K, it then returned to its home base. The other two continued towards the U.K. however a second of the aircraft developed a technical problem before the “point of no return” and it too returned to Ellsworth AFB. Thus only 86-0129 completed the flight to the U.K.
Once the fly-past was complete the B-1B set course for and headed back to the USA with the assistance of a KC-135 Stratotanker refueling it while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, eventually arriving some twenty two and a half hours after setting off from Ellsworth AFB SD USA.
At 16:00 111 phoned back and after a discussion with the clinician I was advised they had made an appointment for me at the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), Addenbrooke’s hospital Cambridge at 18:30 that evening. My wife drove me to the hospital where we arrived not long after 18:00. As it seemed an extremely busy place I sent my Wife home stating I’d make my own way home.
Around 19:15 I was triaged in the UTC by Nurse S and my Obs (Observations) were completed, after discussion between the team on duty it was decided that I should go immediately to the ED (Emergency Department). One of the staff (Nurse S) from the UTC accompanied me as a precautionary measure to the ED just a short walk away.
Within thirty minutes or so I had had blood taken by Physicians Assistant E a lady who I believe hails from Portugal and was sent back to the ED waiting area. At about 21:30 I was seen by a Nurse Practitioner (A) who conducted a series of tests on me culminating in an ECG (Electro Cardio Graph). The Nurse Practitioner took the examination and ECG results to discuss with the duty Consultant.
As a result of their discussion I was discharged as fit to go home but told to inform my GP the following morning. I took a taxi home arriving shortly after 23:30
Wednesday February 2nd 2022
This morning I went through the same routine as yesterday morning with the feeding of the fur babies and breakfasting. Upon completion of that I phoned my Health Centre Practice and left a message via the receptionist for my GP as to the previous evening’s adventure. The receptionist informed me that a Duty Doctor who was that day my regular Doctor would phone me back that afternoon, armed with that information I headed to the shower via the toilet.
Having passed a stool and for whatever reason I actually looked at the stool and saw it was jet black, this rang an alarm bell in my head! I completed my ablutions and got dressed for the day ahead; when I looked at my phone I noticed a missed call / voice mail. It transpired that it was my GP trying to make contact! After a somewhat protracted attempt to re-contact her via the Health Centre’s switchboard I received a return phone call from her at 14:04. As a result of the phone call the GP advised me to make my way as soon as possible to the ED at Addenbrooke’s Hospital she further advised that I was not under any circumstances to use public transport to go to the ED.
Having successfully arranged transport I checked into the ED at 15:00 where after 90 minutes I was triaged, my bloods were done again and the waiting commenced. Finally at 23:44 I was seen by a Doctor of the Medical Team. He conducted a rectal exam and concluded that I probably had a gastric bleed and that I would be admitted to hospital with immediate effect. During my time in the ED waiting area I had only drunk one very small cup of instant black coffee
HOWEVER, before I could be admitted I had to undergo a CoVid PCR test the results of which take up to an hour to finalise, more sitting in the waiting area 🥴 01:15 I was admitted to a side ward and attempted some sleep. At 04:00 I was moved to another Ward where I was put under constant observation.
I was also informed that as I was going to have an Endoscopy and thus I would not be allowed to eat or drink anything, they term it nil by mouth.
A couple of hours later my Obs (I call them T’s & P’s – Temperatures & Pressures) and they noticed that my blood pressure was quite low. I spent the majority of the morning save for a supervised shower in bed in my own clothes, only being given a hospital gown after the shower. Not long after lunchtime it was evident that I was not going to get my Endoscopy today which of course was now Thursday so I was hooked up to a saline drip to keep fluids in my body and I was also allowed a coffee, water and some biscuits.
Approximately 15:00 I felt the need for a pee and asked if I could use the in-ward toilet, permission granted I toddled off with my saline drip and stand in hand and did what I had to do. As I came out of the toilet the saline drip stands wheels started to jam and I felt a little dizzy. But, and it’s a big but by the time I’d walked to my bed probably about 5 metres I was feeling decidedly very light headed, before I could reach my bed I collapsed to the floor taking the stand and other items from an adjacent cabinet with me!
The next twenty minutes or so were a blur I remember my name being called out over and over again, someone asking for cross-matched blood, oxygen and “endo” to be informed. Once stabilised I could see I was hooked up via two cannula’s to more saline fluids, I was lifted by Dr B and HCN G into bed were my T’s and P’s were taken every few minutes or at least that’s how it appeared.
From my perspective it was a few hours that I began to feel normal and settled down to try and sleep but of course awoken regularly so that my Obs could be taken and once again I was nil by mouth
Friday February 4th 2022 – Endoscopy day
I was awoken at 01:20 by the Ward Sister (R) to say that I was being moved to another ward, my porter (C) swiftly moved me from B ward to my current C5. After my Obs had been done on this Ward it was time to catch some sleep 💤
Another almost rude awakening at 05:30 for more Obs, a quick wash and change of gown I was ready for my first and hopefully last Endoscopy, I was first on the list!
About 08:30 G the Porter arrived and took me down what seemed like the majority of the hospital to the Endoscopy Department. Here I was checked in by Sister S who I am told hails from Sevilla, España. As I have been learning Spanish over the last couple of years I tried my best to speak Spanish to her about the procedure I was about to undergo, I have to say she was extremely reassuring.
Earlier than expected the Consultant who was going to perform the procedure came out to see me and get me to sign the consent forms. A few minutes later I was wheeled into the treatment area, the back of my throat was sprayed with a numbing agent and a guard to keep my mouth open (there’s a first) was put in place. About 30 minutes later I came to in the recovery room, and then transferred back to ‘C’ Ward whence I had left sometime earlier.
Later that day I was informed that no gastric bleed had been detected! As it was now fairly late on Friday afternoon there was nothing further that could be done thus I had another night in hospital
Hospital services such as endoscopy etc. practically shut down over the weekend so I had quite a relaxing (as much as you can in hospital) weekend
Monday February 7th 2022
Another early morning call for my Obs, then a swift turn over and back to sleep until 07:30 gives way to the day shift. The shifts in general are 07:00 – 20:00 and 19:00 – 08:00 for these very hard working members of staff.
I did have a visit from the Ward Consultant Dr J who said that as the Endoscopy hadn’t found the bleed it would be necessary for me to undergo a procedure called a colonoscopy!
At the time of writing (Tuesday February 8th) I have not been informed what day or time that will be so I’m in a total state of limbo
Tuesday February 8th 2022
The waiting continues, but it was so pleasant to see my favourite Staff Nurse K back on the Ward today, the highlight so far today was seeing K and my much needed and appreciated shower.
I saw a pair of Medical Students one called J and the other U, between them they did a Q&A session and conducted a physical examination. As far as I’m aware they didn’t detect anything other than another inguinal hernia in the right groin area. After the exam one of the two Med. students asked if they could fit the cannula that was going to be necessary for a forthcoming procedure, without hesitation I agreed.
Between them they struggled for a couple of minutes as to the best vantage point to insert the cannula, finally deciding on my right arm a few centimetres short of the elbow joint. Cannula in place they left, a couple of hours on the duty Staff Nurse decided that as the date and time of my colonoscopy was still to be determined they could remove the thing, the dubious removal duty being awarded to a very new student Nurse. As the saying goes I didn’t feel a thing.
The food today was to say the least was grim and very minimal in content; 18:00 my wife arrived with some more clean clothes and sundry toiletries I’d requested. Having prearranged with the Ward Sister I was allowed to leave the Ward and go down to the hospital concourse where there’s a Costa Coffee outlet and amongst others an M&S Food Only facility, however my target was Burger King (BK). Twenty or so minutes or so later my stomach was satisfied it had received a decent amount of food to sustain me until Wednesday breakfast time.
Near to 20:00 Debbie my wife then had to leave and return home, I went and lay on my bed and contemplated the days I had been in hospital. I suddenly felt unwell and made a beeline for the toilet, without wishing to be too graphic it was Vesuvius exploding into the toilet pan! However I was mightily relieved to see that although it was diarrhoea there were no traces of black faeces (told you it was graphic). Back to bed and in less than 10 minutes back to the toilet for another go. I did tell the Ward staff and they said they’d leave some bedpans in the toilet room lest I felt the need to go again as they’d need to analyse it (rather them than me).
There was a lot going on again this evening with patients needing attention either side of the central corridor. The Ward consists on a number of rooms, on one side they accommodate eight and on the other just four patients, I’ve deduced that the smaller rooms are predominantly for the more seriously ill
I think I finally dropped off to sleep around midnight
Wednesday February 9th 2022
05:30 and I’m awoken by J who needs to do my overnight Obs, we’d been chatting the previous evening and was only a couple of months away from holidaying in Newquay in Cornwall. Having not been there previously this was to be another new experience for her, her husband and two children.
After breakfast of two slices of white toasted bread and Marmite as there was no Marmalade or Jams available it was off to the shower for me.
The rest of the day was spent talking to Medical Students including J & U with the addition of Student Doctors A and S. I think one of the strangest requests I’ve ever had while being hospitalised over my lifetime was from J & U who asked if they could watch the colonoscopy when it took place.
Once again for the benefit of Student Doctor Sejal I ran through the events leading to be being hospitalised on this occasion.
I also had a visit from my Consultant Dr. N and the Registrar Dr. J who both confirmed that I would be having the colonoscopy on Thursday.
Lunch today wasn’t really great (to be expected I suppose) and I spent most of the afternoon writing up this blog.
During the afternoon Physician’s Assistant M, came and took yet more blood from me, a special hello and thank you to you.
Around 18:00 I was informed that I was going to be Nil by Mouth now until after the colonoscopy which has been set for 13:45 on Thursday, but unlike before I was going to be able to drink just plain old fashioned water! An hour later I was told that I had to drink one litre of something named like Medepre which was like an enema from within and this had to be accomplished within the hour at 15 minute intervals!!
This medication was to completely flush out every last morsel of food in my digestive system, I would imagine this was the human version of paint stripper mixed with toilet cleaner and it was foul to taste.
Thursday February 10th 2022
Twelve hours later and there had been much to my and the nursing staffs surprise been no motions of any description. However I spoke too soon, as a few minutes after 06:00 the anal Vesuvius exploded once more and continued to do so for the next hour (lol). However at 07:00 I had to consume another litre of this foul tasting concoction, the consequences of which are described aptly and graphically above!
During the morning Physician’s Assistant N took yet another arm full of blood and fitted a cannula in my left arm.
At 13:00 a Porter arrived to take me and my bed down to the Endoscopy Department for the second time in just seven days.
It was on arrival that I saw Sister S for the second time and was able this time to greet her in Spanish, much to the amusement of some of the other staff on duty. My Obs were taken; I was pre-procedured and answered all the necessary questions. I was still able (fortunately) able to make visit to the toilet as the clear out medication was still doing its thing!
Medical Student Doctors J & U came to see me in the pre-Op area suitably gowned and masked up to watch the procedure. I had seen the Consultant who was going to perform the procedure; it was the same one who had conducted the Endoscopy. I had elected to be sedated for the procedure; I was wheeled into the ‘operating’ area and the sedation administered. The next thing I remember is coming to and seeing the colour picture of my insides – wow what an experience!
Back to the recovery area, and then up to the Ward, news came through that they couldn’t find any trace of the bleed!
Student Doctors J & U also came to see me and stated they has stayed on in the Encology Department to watch an Endoscopy, so they now had experience of seeing the “ology’s” from both ends.
The Consultant Dr. N then came and confirmed what I had been told that there was no trace of the bleed and that I was fit to return home, however I was to keep a wary eye on my stools lest there should be further evidence of blood. The Doctor did inform me that I had a hiatus hernia and that the medication Omeprazole I was already taking should be increased to two tablets a day to be taken with food.
Following on from Dr. N the Registrar Dr. J also confirmed what Dr. N had told me and wished to thank me for being so cooperative with the Student Doctors.
I had my “supper” on the Ward got changed into my civilian clothes and went and sat in the day room waiting for my wife who was scheduled to collect me at 20:00.
However before I could leave I had to have the cannula removed from my left arm, this was done with any discomfort by Student Nurse A.
Just before 20:00 I said my goodbyes to the staff who had been on duty, took the elevator / lift down to the concourse where my wife was waiting for me. From there route one for goal and home
That’s it; obviously my special thanks go to all involved from Tuesday 1st right through until my discharge n Thursday 10th names have been reduced to initials to protect the Doctors and Nurses anonymity.
The Medical Students J, U & A identified that I had an inguinal hernia in my right groin following on from their thorough examination. I have been in contact with my Health Centre Practice to formulate a plan of action to have this, the third in the same area rectified.
All previous prescribed medication(s) were to cease with immediate effect save for the Omeprazole as outlined earlier.
Twice in my time in Addenbrookes Hospital I saw the East Anglian Air Ambulance H145 registration G-HEMC landing on the hospital’s purpose made heli-pad a short distance away from the actual hospital.
Lets hope (in the nicest possible way) that I do not have to see the inside of Addenbrooke’s Hospital for a very long time.