I have been told today that I can go home with more antibiotics and if there are any worsening symptoms to go back to the hospital. But 24 hours before I was a bit of a mess.

I called an ambulance at 6am as couldn’t breathe properly and the infection in my throat meant there was a constant stream of saliva etc. I couldn’t speak and had to type on my phone to tell the paramedics what had happened. The then took me to the hospital at Durham and waited to see a doctor. A&E waiting times and situations have been taking a bit of a bashing over the past year with people using it as a quick fix for minor ailments.

I was give something to be sick into by the paramedic as he had tried to give me liquid paracetamol and I couldn’t manage that. I had a fever due to the infection and they wanted to get this down. Unfortunately when (I hope you are not reading this whilst eating) but I coughed too hard and burst part of the abscess in the back of my throat finding it hard to breathe I was taken around to resuscitation.

The care I received was second none. They carefully monitored me and said then that they would have to move me down to the ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) Specialist Hospital in Darlington. But then they made the decision to blue light me down to the hospital. Not overly happen as this is when I realised the seriousness of the illness.

When I went into the walk-in centre on Monday they did mention hospital but in my stupidity, stubbornness, mulish,  pertinacious, perverse, pigheaded, rebelliousness and okay you get it … I said no. I take that responsibility.

I got to Darlington Memorial hospital and placed in resus there. My goodness, you don’t realise the different types of illnesses that hospitals have to deal with immediately. A lady was brought in with a severe allergic reaction and everything and everyone just seemed to swing into action. The nurses and staff were the amazing poor lady was in quite a bit of stress.

I was told that the ENT specialist would come to see me and that I would be transferred up to the ward. They had tried a few times to look right back in the throat but my mouth wasn’t opening enough for them. The nice doctor then told me on the ward that he wanted to reduce the infection by lancing the back and side of my throat and mouth.

You really don’t want to read the next bit if you are eating or a bit squeamish! The doctor said he would spray the back of my throat to numb it a bit and place a syringe to remove the puss. That wasn’t the bad bit. He managed to get some out but told me he would have to give a local anaesthetic and make a slice in the side of my mouth and then open it with another instrument so to ease the swelling.

Back on the ward, I was given more intravenous drugs including steroids, painkillers and antibiotics. I managed, later on, to actually drink something which was the first time in about five days. Then later able to swallow food.

Throughout this time I have had swathes of people from doctors nurses surgeons and others all working efficiently in mine and others care. From appendicitis to retinal detachment doctors and staff have worked marvellously to treat people.

Too much negativity and scorn is placed on the NHS. The staff work hard and should be given a greater amount of respect for the work they do. When I hear or read about the NHS crisis again I will remember the time when they treated me and ever grateful that this care was given to me without a huge bill at the end of it.

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the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!

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