I was nervous about going to hospital this morning. It had been a long time coming, and many preparations had been put in place. Last night, I got ready my bag and the outfit I was going to wear, to help minimise the stress this morning. So many kind people sent supportive messages and best wishes. This morning I got up bright and early and went off to hospital – just not the one I had planned to go to, or for the reason I was nervous about.
This morning was supposed to have been my first day back at work at a hospital in my neighbouring town. Martin, my other half had been complaining of back pain yesterday, which steadily worsened as the day progressed. Last night the pain worsened to the point where he was in agony, and he could barely move.
The GP was considered but bearing in mind the level of pain and mobility, I thought A&E was best. As it turned out, it was a wise choice because he needed an x-ray (being an NHS Comms person who has worked on Choose Well campaigns, going to the right service for our needs is ingrained!).
Thankfully, while Martin’s condition is very painful and uncomfortable, it is a nerve problem that is not serious. He has strong pain meds, and the option to return to hospital if the pain worsens.
There is an irony to our hospital visit this morning. My return to work marks the end of a period of our lives that began with a visit to the same hospital back in February 2014.
I left my desk thinking I would be away from work for a week’s leave. Martin and I had gone for a ‘babymoon’ at a posh hotel. It is there I started to feel unwell one night with the ‘heartburn’ I now know to be symptoms of the preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
A few days later, I was sent to the local hospital by my community midwife. We hoped the hospital visit would be brief – perhaps having to return for multiple appointments until the end of my pregnancy.
Not so – I was admitted, and sent to a specialist hospital two days later where our baby son was born 16 weeks prematurely to save both our lives.
Since then, our lives have revolved around hospitals for one reason or another: the five weeks of Hugo’s life; debriefs with my obstetrician; tests to discover if there was a cause for HELLP syndrome; psychotherapy appointments.
This has meant a return to work in a hospital is daunting – not only because the period of time that has elapsed – but also because it is in a hospital (even though it is not one I or Hugo were cared for in). Any hospital has so many triggers: smells, sounds, ambience.
Thankfully on this occasion we were able to return home after a few hours, with none of the drama or action stations related to my own serious illness. I’ll be returning to work tomorrow instead.
As a result of my illness and Hugo’s death things are very much in perspective for us: we understand what our priorities are.
Our visit to A&E this morning underlined what Martin and I already know from the last 15 months: you never know what will happen tomorrow.