Readers of a sensitive disposition should not read this!
A friend of mine had a hernia recently. In the spirit of having holes in things, and so as not to be left out, an old anal fissure of mine decided to reopen. (An anal fissure is a hole in the side of the anus.) One fissure wasn’t good enough though. No, this time I had to have two, one front and one back. That wasn’t good enough either, so one of the fissures got infected and formed a perianal abscess. The abscess formed a large swelling which made it painful to sit or walk. It was under control using antibiotics at first, and in fact went down so much that I felt ok to go to Greenbelt festival.
Greenbelt was lots of fun but while I was there I started to feel more and more pain, until Sunday night where I had an immensely painful time walking back to my tent. The abscess had returned with a vengeance and was twice the size that it had been. By early Monday morning I was in so much pain that I was screaming out loud and scaring the rest of the campers.
Karen went to get help and I soon had two paramedics in my tent offering me Entonox. (Just as well we had a large tent!) Entonox, or gas and air, is amazing stuff. Breathe hard, you get out of your head and no longer care about pain. (And act drunk. Oh well.) Stop breathing it, and you immediately sober up. That helped, but the next challenge was getting me from tent to ambulance which was unable to get close. I ended up with every bored steward at the festival helping to carry me across. I must have provided quite some entertainment what with alternately acting drunk on the gas and then screaming and swearing in pain.
I was surprised to be taken to an actual hospital on the site of Greenbelt but then I realised it is there for the jockeys – Greenbelt is held on Cheltenham race course. Once I was there two doctors had a detailed look at my backside and then gave me some morphine based pain killer which put me to sleep. I woke up at lunch time and found the pain controllable enough with codeine that I could go home and see my doctor in the morning to arrange surgery. My brother in law obligingly came to collect me and also helped Karen to pack up the camping gear. It wasn’t a particularly comfortable journey sitting in a car though.
Tuesday morning followed a painful night. Unfortunately my local doctors surgery was not answering the phone. I was in enough pain at this point that Karen called an ambulance again. Unfortunately they could not do anything as my GP had to be the one to request surgery. They could not even take me to the doctor. They did manage to contact my doctor though, only to be told I must either go in to see them, or wait until after hours for a doctor to visit me! I opted to wait, even with painkillers running out. Within two hours the pain seemed to take a new level and blood and puss appeared. We gave up waiting and I lay on the back seat of my dads car to get to the GP. The GP took one look and asked me which hospital I wanted to go to. A few minutes later is was off to Cheltenham hospital, again on the back seat of a car. The doctor had booked me in for surgery but on arrival I was surprised to be told to take a seat in the waiting room! I can tell you that metal waiting room chairs are very uncomfortable to lay on.
A consultant told me that I now had not only an abscess but also a fistula. That is, a hole running from the anal fissure all the way through the sphincter muscles. Two stages of surgery would be required. First, draining the puss and waiting for the inflammation to go down, and then in a week if the fistula does not heal then it must be cut out of the muscle.
It took about 90 minutes of waiting but after that things moved very quickly. It seems that the word ‘diabetic’ scares the NHS in to being efficient. Within 3 hours I was through surgery and in recovery. I arrived in my assigned ward just slightly too late for dinner so I was given a sandwich.
I had a fairly sleepless night being woken for blood pressure checks, waiting for pain killers. This morning I was told to take extra codeine because they are going to change the dressing that is in the hole. Fun.
Later I am going home and spending a week in bed. Insanity should follow.