How To Catch A Superbug

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I wake up around an hour later in the recovery room and my head feels like it’s exploding. With pain relief administered, I’m wheeled back to my room where my wife, Michelle is waiting. I’m kept in hospital overnight and discharged the next day with co-codamol and tramadol for pain relief. After a day in bed, it’s Michelle’s birthday. I manage to get up and have some cake, but feel really ill. The room spins. I rush for the bathroom, lean over the sink and projectile vomit. Looking down, I see pebble-dashed blood, both fresh and congealed. I call for help and Michelle does her best to clean me up. I spend the rest of the day in bed.

After an uncomfortable night, I’m still feeling sick and dizzy so Michelle arranges an appointment with the surgeon, Mr Hogan. I get a lift to the Clementine Churchill Hospital on the slopes of Harrow-on-the-Hill. Mr Hogan calls me in after what seems like endless suffering. In the consultation room, I listen to what’s going on whilst leaning over a small sink in the corner. I feel so unwell. Mr Hogan says this is all very unusual and admits me to hospital.

I’m helped into a wheelchair, pushed by an orderly to a room and am relieved to be back in the hands of medical professionals. When I’m in bed, a doctor tries to get the needle of an intravenous cannula into my wrist. But the level of dehydration means it takes over half an hour to find a usable vein in the back of my hand. A bag of saline fluid is put on a wheeled drip stand and attached by the cannula for rehydration. I’m given antibiotics, together with anti-sickness pills and more pain relief. The nurse takes various swabs to test for infection, she explains, because I’ve been in another hospital within the last week.

When I stabilise a few days later, I look around the room. It’s like a hotel. I enjoy this hospital, despite how I’m feeling and having to take lots of medication. Bolstered by three square meals a day, I relax. Michelle and the kids visit once a day and some of the kids’ drawings of me in a hospital bed are put on the wall, which make me smile.

The nurses take my stats and provide various coloured pills on a regular basis. My blood oxygen level is so low and my breathing is shallow. But I enjoy the big window, which overlooks an ancient oak tree on the edge of a field. The next few days are idled away watching the birds and squirrels going about their everyday lives.

I remain unwell four days later when Mr Hogan comes into my room and breaks the news that I’ve contracted the superbug, MRSA. He wants me to stay in hospital until I feel better. After the initial shock and armed with some information Michelle researches on the internet that evening, it seems the people most at risk of dying from this superbug are the elderly and the unwell. I’m not in the best of health just now and at least at risk while in hospital. I decide it’s best to get the hell out of there. After a good night’s sleep, I still feel awful. But I get up, shower, dress and wait for Mr Hogan. Hours later, he comes into my room and I tell him I’m leaving today. I get myself discharged with medication to combat the MRSA.

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