I don’t know quite where to start, except to say that this last week has been scary.
I’ve been scared all week, scared to sleep, scared to wake up.
Basically, mum hasn’t been well. Mum is on blood thinners (warfarin) and has been stable all year. But then in the last month her bloods have been coming back abnormal.
Nothing has changed in terms of her medications or diet, and we have no idea why suddenly her readings have been fluctuating so much.
Is it related to the headaches she’d been experiencing?
The doctors had moved her testing from weekly to every two months because she was so stable. So it was a shock to see her levels change without knowing the cause. They are trying to stabilise her bloods by varying her warfarin dosage.
So whilst we were dealing with that, I discovered blood in her nappy/diaper. We had no idea where this blood was coming from – was it in her urine, or in her stools. Panicking I called the doctor out immediately.
The doctor was wonderful and sent out the district nurse and paramedic to check mum’s vitals, and take blood and other samples for analysis. Then a female doctor arrived to examine her.
She wore full PPE, apron, mask, face shield and gloves, and freaked out mum a bit until I explained to her again about COVID. Mum’s own mask only lasted for a few minutes of the visit before she ripped it off as she wanted to talk!
We were told not to worry as the volume of blood which looked a lot more to me apparently only looked worse as it had accumulated in her nappy/diaper.
She suggested that could be caused by a UTI, or haemorrhoids or tear or was something to do with her warfarin and blood changes.
So the doctor advised we go to the hospital for more tests. They wanted to rule out things like bowel cancer, and check everything internally was ok. She took samples for testing for a UTI and blood in her stools as well.
Go to hospital now? Was it safe? She wanted mum to go to the hospital for an ultrasound and other tests to start investigating the possible cause.
You can imagine my response to that, I was like no way are we going to hospital not with COVID!
But she was right, it could be something more serious, and without investigation, it could get worse, so we had a choice – to weigh up the risk of going vs the risk of staying at home.
Our doctor was great in reassuring me but still I was scared.
We’d be interacting with people in close proximity for the first time since March, in a hospital where people had COVID!
Then I couldn’t sleep, didn’t function at all well last week, waking up throughout the night with worry and each morning and praying that mum was ok, that I wouldn’t find more blood.
My anxiety affected mum and her mood as her sundowning got worse in the last week.
So yesterday was the day for the hospital visit.
We’d arranged a hospital transport, and we were told that we’d be riding with another patient.
They told me that I couldn’t accompany mum due to COVID until I explained that mum would scream the house down if I didn’t come with her, so they relented!
So we were up bright and early as transport had a two hour window in which they could arrive. That really meant 3 hours for me to also prepare mum’s mindset for visiting the hospital in full PPE, we had gloves, face shields and masks.
I know I didn’t have a hope in hell in mum keeping that lot on. Even with the visit with the doctor last week, she’d ripped off the face mask within minutes of the doctor examining her.
We were lucky in that the transport arrived empty so that reduced contact with others to just the ambulance men.
Once we got into the hospital we shared a lift with someone who had a mask on (great) but it was just covering their mouth. The mask was hooked under their nose (why can’t people put them on properly?!?)
Then we walked past a seating area with staff on a break at least 20 of them sitting without masks on, so that was also great! Then we passed a doctor (couldn’t believe my eyes) wearing the mask under his nose!
Luckily that was all the bad mask wearing we saw, once we got to the department waiting room everyone there was wearing a mask, and they were all so kind in trying to help me explain to mum to keep hers on!
What was weird was the behaviour change in people. When someone coughed all eyes went to that person, then everyone looked away.
Mum kept pulling her mask down until we were called, the face shield went within a few minutes of arrival!
The exam was painful for mum, so the mask came off again understandably, and the technicians were great in helping us. We went for more tests and were done in a few hours.
The worst part was waiting again for over 2 hours for a hospital transport. I’d kept calling and kept being told they’d be here within 30mins, and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there!
Needless to say, mum wasn’t having it. She kept asking to take the mask off or why we hadn’t seen a doctor. She kept stopping nurses and doctors and complaining about how long we’d been there.
I’d stupidly not brought anything with me as an activity that we could have done together.
In all honesty, we were both too hot and bothered in masks in the waiting room to have done anything anyway.
Mum did fantastically well wearing her mask for as long as she did. Eventually the ambulance transport sent a wheelchair accessible taxi from another county as they had none available locally and we finally got home!
We now need to wait the 7-10 days to see if we have escaped the virus. The timing of our visit wasn’t the best as the news the night before reported our hospital was trying to contain an outbreak of COVID on 3 wards!
My anxiety is high, but I’m grateful to all those still working in the hospital, their kindness in helping mum and the amazing work they are doing.
I’m hoping the test results come back ok, but then we won’t still have an explanation – so which is worse, some kind of diagnosis or nothing?
So that’s where I am this week, where my mind has been and why I can’t focus on things at that moment.
Bye for now, keep praying that everything will be ok.