Saturday 5 November 2022

It started a year ago

It started a year ago

November 5, 2021 I went to John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford for a simple procedure. I had a cancerous growth partly blocking the duct between my liver and my gall bladder, and they were going to put a stent in place to allow free passage in that duct. This was to be the first of several procedures.

They sedated me, and put a plastic thing in my mouth so I wouldn't bite their tube. And I was pretty much out of it then.

The tube went to the right place, but they couldn't install the stent. Bad news. So I had a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch (because I hadn't eaten for 12 hours), and a couple of minutes later, was violently sick, bringing it all back up.

And I had a major pain in my belly. The doctors had warned that there was a one in five risk of pancreatitis, and I was the unlucky one. They sent me to Churchill hospital on the same day, and I spent the next three weeks there.

The pain was so bad, they put me on morphine for it. I had a button I could press to get a mini dose, and there was a timer that enforced a gap of five minutes. I pressed that button a lot.

I felt really nauseous. Even the thought of food felt bad. For the next two weeks, I had pretty much nothing to eat, but the pancreatitis resolved itself over that time, and I was able to eat, but only simple stuff. By then I'd lost about ten pounds, but I could afford to lose some weight.

So now it's a year later.

It took me several months to get my appetite back; for several months, when I ate, it was without pleasure. I ate because I knew that I had to, and so I forced the food down me.

Today, I'm a lot better. There's still some foods that I'm not liking, but I'm not far from my previous state of being able to eat just about anything (and I surprised my Japanese friends in Tokyo about what I was willing to eat).

I no longer have a gall bladder, that was removed in a later, major operation. Apparently, we don't actually need one? The major operation also removed most of my liver, but the liver regenerates, and mine has done just that.

So I'm pretty much back to full health now, except my back is troubling me (it was before) and I'm wary of catching Covid or Flu (although I'm thoroughly vaccinated.

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