And then there were three … part three
Later that day we were released from hospital and we went home to start life as a family of five.
I was very sore after the operation, in more pain than the previous times, which was due to the amount of manipulation that had been done to get Sid out. Otherwise, things seemed to go well, and three days later, we packed the children and Christmas into the car and drove to my parents’ house, where we planned to spend Christmas (and where there were more hands to help look after three children whilst I recovered).
We had a lovely Christmas, but on Christmas afternoon, I suddenly found myself in immense pain internally, a couple of inches above the wound site. It stopped me in my tracks. Over the next day or so it got worse, so that I cried when I walked, climbed stairs, sat down or got into bed.
Two days after Christmas, I got an emergency appointment at my parents’ GP surgery. The GP examined me, took swabs and tried to refer me to the on-call gynaecologist at the hospital, but they couldn’t be tracked down, so she referred me to A&E and sent me with a note explaining that I needed to see the gynaecologist. Once there, despite the warning that there was a 3 hour wait, I was seen very quickly, examined again and sent to the maternity ward. Both the GP and A&E doctor had seen me trying to manoeuvre onto a hospital bed, seen how much pain I was in and said that I would probably need IV antibiotics and painkillers. A cannula was put in my arm in A&E so that I could be given morphine quickly and easily once on the ward.
Once on the ward, I was asked to get on the bed, but no-one from the ward saw me do this. So when the midwife came back with the doctor, it was decided I was suffering from constipation due to the codeine I had been prescribed. I was told to stop taking codeine and take paracetamol for the pain. We pointed out that I was already taking more than paracetamol and was still in intense pain, and also told them that the pain I was feeling was not constipation. Not even close. The doctor decided to keep me in overnight and prescribed lactulose, paracetamol and a fibre drink which I couldn’t take because it wasn’t gluten free.
During the night I had to call for pain relief and was given tramadol. The next morning, a healthcare assistant popped her head round the door to remind me that breakfast was being served (it’s a self service ward). The coffee machine was about 20 feet from my room, and as I tried to make my way there, the ward staff finally saw how much pain I was in. This is what helped the change of prescription when I was discharged to include tramadol and codeine. It was at this point that the diagnosis changed from constipation to internal swelling causing the stitches to pull. I came out of hospital and went back to my parents’ house, where we stayed another week, because I continued to be in so much pain.
A few days after I came out of hospital, I started having trouble feeding Sid. It had become painful, very painful. My nipples weren’t just cracked, they were torn and blistered. Sid cried a lot and slept a lot, but wasn’t feeding well.
An hour after we arrived back at our own home, I got a call from the GP surgery I had been to the week before. The swab results were back and they showed that I had an internal infection and needed antibiotics. The GP I spoke to made me promise to see my GP the following day and asked that I get the GP to call them so they could relay the results. Despite their initial feeling a week earlier, and that of the doctor in A&E, I’d never been given antibiotics in the maternity ward.
I got my antibiotics, and also started to hand express some milk to try and feed Sid with. It was becoming so painful to feed him that I had tears in my eyes. We struggled over the weekend trying to get through a very difficult situation.